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A series of articles about all facets of event planning with helpful hints, planning ideas, sample schedules and budgeting tips from the B&E Team.

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Picnic & Recreation Sites: Options

Planning a company picnic can be easy or difficult depending on several factors: how long you have to plan, how many you are planning for, the type of activities planned, etc. Here are a few things to remember when you begin planning a company picnic:

picnic sites

Remember to book your picnic site early! Spaces are limited, and some companies book their picnic sites up to a year in advance.

Confirm dates and times in writing. Don't assume that since you had your picnic somewhere last year that the space is reserved for you this year. Examine the site to make sure it is presentable and what you need for your event.

Permits: Make sure you have any necessary food, beverage, or park permits required by law.

Develop a committee or committees of volunteers to help coordinate food and beverages, games and prizes, publicity and sign-ups, entertainment, etc. Get feedback from participants on how the event can be improved from previous years.

Be sure your contact at the site has a clear picture of what you want. Be open to suggestions and solutions from the contacts at the site. They have experienced all sizes and types of events at their particular site and can be very helpful with what works and what doesn't.

Work with the experienced planners on-site. The only way you'll find the answer to your questions is by asking someone who has been through it before. You may have never coordinated an event like this, so ask questions to figure out the best solutions. There will always be last-minute problems, such as expecting 700 people and having 1,000 show up. Experienced coordinators and planners can handle even the worst problems. DON'T PANIC! When you work with the professionals, they will not disappoint you.

Most importantly, don't make the picnic so complicated that you drain your volunteers of their energy! This is supposed to be a morale-building event, not a burnout.

Prizes and promotions: Don't forget to have a keepsake to take home from the picnic, like baseball hats with your company's logo, water bottles, Frisbees, etc.

Games and activities: Sports-related games and activities can add excitement to your event. Employees would especially love to see the managers in the dunk tank. There are professional companies that can come and set up games and arrange prizes listed under "Games & Team Building" category of this site.

Tents and pavilions: Picnics are planned for summer fun, but you can never count on the sun to shine. A tent or pavilion at your site in case of bad weather can ensure a great event--come rain or shine.

Important Note: Never use canvas tents treated with mineral oil for waterproofing, they are extremely flammable.

Food for the picnic: Food choices for a traditional picnic include barbecued hamburgers, ribs, chicken, hot dogs and baked beans, and salads. Remember that proper refrigeration can eliminate food spoilage in heat.

On-site barbecue trucks. Special barbecue caterers are using on-site barbecue trucks to store and cook the food right on site. The food is excellent and employees enjoy the event without cooking or helping with cleanup.

Portable lavatories: Don't forget to provide an adequate number of portable lavatories for off-site events; one portable lavatory for every 100 attendees is typical. Be certain that they are easily located and accessible.

Dress code: Be certain to communicate to your guests what kinds of attire will be appropriate for the activities you are planning. They need to know how to dress for both the terrain and the weather. Consider, for example, whether high heels would become hazardous or inconvenient at your picnic site.

Security: Plan ahead for safety and security, especially in public park settings.