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Chris Nordman Associates, Inc.
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4632 Elizabeth Lake Rd., Waterford, MI  48328
2015 Directors Row, Orlando, FL  32809
888-736-8242 (toll Free)
248-738-0700    Fax: 248-738-9848
We provide company picnic planning, picnic games, picnic services, site selection advice, and
other picnic services for picnic events in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and surrounding states.   Below on this
page is a free guide to picnic planning and creating the perfect company picnic.   We hope it will help with
creating a great picnic event for your staff and employees.   We look forward to working with you on interactive
and inflatable games for your picnic event this year.
Creating the Perfect Company Picnic

Summer (or fall) is finally here and it's time to reward your employees and their families with a relaxing company
picnic. But a wicker basket full of sandwiches, and potato salad served on a checkered tablecloth just won't cut it.

This guide has been developed for your convenience in the hopes that it will help you save time, energy, and
money when planning for your big day.

There are a lot of reasons to have a company picnic.

•        They build company morale.
•        They show appreciation for employees and their efforts.
•        They show commitment to employees and their families.
•        They strengthen teamwork.

But the number one reason to have a company picnic is to HAVE FUN!

Of course, having all that fun requires hard work, but if you follow these suggestions, you can save a lot of the
headache and time involved.


Start with a notebook divided into sections for Budget, Location, Raffle Items, Party Favors, Food and Beverage,
Invitations, Activities, and Games and Entertainment. Even for the smallest picnic, having this notebook will make
your job easier and keep all of your important info in one place.

Get your picnic committee together and decide who will cover what duties. It is important to have good
communication with all of the committee members, and to have all final decisions go through one key person.


If your employees' families are going to be invited, the event will more than likely need to be held on a weekend.
Make sure the date you pick isn't a religious holiday, and unless you want to encourage a mutiny, don't plan to
hold the picnic on a long weekend or when half your staff is away on vacation.

For an employee only event, it makes good sense to hold the event during the day, during the week – as a
during the workday event – or close the office a bit early, and make it a nice afternoon break.


Determine who will attend your company picnic and attempt to put together an approximate head count of those
that will be involved. While there is no "exact science" to do this we have found that on average about 80% of the
people invited will show. Multiply that number by 2.5 to account for spouses and kids, and you should have a
number to work with that makes sense.

Limit guests to the immediate family of the employee, or one guest if they are unmarried. This way you don't
have uninvited guests showing up.


The company will give you limited dollars to spend on your event, and that budget will dictate most of your
decisions. Make sure to think of Food, Games, Entertainment, Prizes and Giveaways, Location Fees, etc.


If you have had your picnic at the same spot for more than two or three years in a row, consider moving it. If you
do decide to have it in the same location as before, consider moving it to a different spot on the event site. This
will give your employees a refreshingly new feel to the annual event.

Try to find a location that can offer privacy. Many companies are now having the picnic on their own grounds,
either in a grassy area or on the parking lot. However, if you do decide to have it off site, you should attempt to
find a location that can be reserved. Who wants to police other groups and compete over ball fields and other
facilities? Make sure that you have enough room for your group. It's a picnic, so people will want to move around
and kids will want to explore and run all over.

If you are having the picnic during a particularly hot month then finding a location with shade trees or large
pavilions is ideal. You should also think about room for tents if you don't have sufficient room in the pavilions in
case it happens to rain. Canceling a picnic several hours before it starts is bad for morale, especially if your
guests have cancelled piano lessons and other family plans to attend.

Make sure to plan ahead. Most public parks require a permit.  The permit will ensure the spot you have in mind is
reserved for you along with picnic tables, fire pits or grills, and the like. MAKE SURE TO CONSIDER PARKING.
You will want to have enough space for all of your guests' cars and that space should be within a short walking
distance. If this is not possible, you may want to consider a shuttle to help transport people to and from the event

Some companies choose to have their picnic at an amusement park. These events can be fun, but lose the
group feel. It is hard to get everyone together with the large space and all of the activities. Having a smaller site
with all of your guests in ear range of the DJ or bull horn creates the unity that these events are planned for in
the first place.

We suggest that your entire picnic committee goes to see the event site. This will help establish in everyone's
mind a feel for the site and what activities would work with the space. This will also give everyone a chance to
help come up with ideas to make the event an exciting one.


Get the committee together and decide the times of the event. Most picnics last between 3 and 4 hours. If you
have people working who have to come in shifts, then make sure you allow the event to be long enough to
accommodate these people.

Next, decide on any themes you may wish to have. Many people do not take the time to do this, but it can be a
lot of fun. Some popular themes are Western, Mardi Gras, Carnival, Country Fair, Safari, Luau, etc.

You will want to decide on food. Your picnic can be catered, potluck, or have your boss cook hotdogs and
burgers on the grill. Remember, your budget will dictate what you can and can't do. If you choose an
entertainment company that provides turn-key event planning then they should have you covered on catering, if
you so chose.


It's a picnic, so every one of all ages should have tons to do! This is, of course, our specialty. We look for ways
to provide many different "zones of entertainment" for all ages.

Inflatable Games are a huge hit with the toddlers all the way through the college age group. Of course, many
adults love to play and have a great time on them as well! We have a huge selection to choose from, so that all
age brackets will have a fun and challenging time.

Carnival games and booths work great, and offer a wide variety of exciting and challenging games. Just like at
the fair! Prizes add a nice touch, giving all of your guests something to take home with them.    We can supply
carnival games, booths, inflatable carnival games, and more!

Frisbee golf, volleyball, badminton, bocce ball, croquet, and other outdoor style games can be a very popular
segment of your picnic, and you can provide your own equipment.

For that extra spark of "pizzazz," live entertainers can do the trick. This could range from face painters, clowns,
magicians, stilt-walkers, and caricature artists to a professional DJ or band. They can also come in handy if there
is a delay in food preparation or a lull between door prizes.

We also provide rides like Mechanical Bull, Mechanical Surfboard, Spaceball (Human Gyroscope), Twin Spin,
Trackless Train – all are portable, affordable, and make great additions to picnic events.


You need to start getting the word out about your picnic beginning approximately one month out. Don't start
signing people up too early though. If it is more than a month away, most people will probably just sign up for the
heck of it.

There are many great ways that you can let people know about the picnic. Talk it up in meetings, put an article in
the company newsletter, attach notes to payroll, or put up posters or flyers in strategic locations all around the

Let people know about the prizes you will be giving away. "We are giving away ___ dollars and you must be
present to win."

At most corporate events, prizes or gifts are given away to reward employees, boost morale, and show employee
appreciation. It is not enough to just have several nice prizes or large cash rewards without announcing in
advance what will be given away. This is a great way to promote your  event.

Likewise, you can also do less on prizes if you really promote the event itself. The games and activities are a
great draw for the whole family, etc.

Raffles are another great way to spark interest in the picnic. Many of our clients ask for donations from other
companies and their vendors. It takes time to solicit raffle prizes, so it should be the job of the entire committee,
not just a single person!

When you are a week out from the date of the event, do your best to get the word out and stir up interest. It is up
to the coordinator, and the picnic committee, to get people to come to the event, and the week before the picnic
is the critical time to make the big push announcing the event.

If the event is to be held off grounds, make sure that everyone gets a map to the event site. Send e-mails that
will serve as last minute reminders to every employee.


Get lots of sleep the night before the event. Show up to the picnic early, and take care of any payment
arrangements with your vendors or Entertainment Company right then. Now, take a deep breath and relax! You
have worked hard to make this day special for everyone who attends, and you should enjoy it too.



Since the party starts when the invitation arrives, try some of these ideas to start excitement about the event
weeks before the picnic date, and answer any typical questions guests may have.

•        For added fun, invite your employees' children and ask them to bring their parents.

•        Write the invitation using language that compliments the theme, such as words like "chow" or "vittles" for a
western theme.

•        Include not only the date, but the day of the week to avoid any confusion.

•        Include an RSVP date and reply information.

•        Designate it as a "rain or shine event"

•        Include the start and stop times of the event.

•        When possible, help arrange a car pool service for people with transportation problems.


Many people assume that their business liability insurance will cover them during an off-site party. Depending on
your policy, that might not be the case.
You should insist that any vendors you have hired for your event are covered with a minimum of a $1 million

Above all, make sure that your company picnic is an event that will be looked forward to, not only by your
employees' and their families, but also by yourself. After all, don't you deserve a wonderful day in the great
outdoors too?

If you have any questions, or ways that we could enhance your event even more, please let us know. If we have
the opportunity to work with you this year, we guarantee to make your event Successful, Memorable, and FUN!
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