With Summer just around the corner, companies and organizations statewide are ready to capitalize on our limited window of beautiful weather. Summer is the perfect time for a company bbq, employee picnic, or community arts festival. And because everyone wants to be outside for these, we decided to put together a quick list of outdoor event essentials, to help ensure you and your guests are ready for an excellent day or weekend of festivities. Included in the Top 5 event must-haves, is also our Top 5 favorites for each category, and a great way to get you pointed in the right direction.
First things first, securing a venue is a great place to start. Make sure to consider all the pro’s & con’s of each location, such as distance from downtown or your company office. Built in infrastructure, availability of parking, accessibility, etc. Here is a quick list of some of our faves from our point of view:
- Alaska Native Heritage Center – The grounds are amazing, the staff is incredibly helpful and friendly, and it’s just outside of town enough to feel special.
- Alaska Botanical Garden – Perfect for a more intimate and upscale brunch type event or crowd.
- Hilltop Ski Area – For the more active crowd, Hilltop includes hiking trails, a chairlift up and down, plus built in food, drink and bathroom amenities, making events here all a little easier.
- Cuddy Park – Easily accessible in Midtown, a built in amphitheater, and plenty of grass space to spread out.
- Delaney Park Strip – For when your group needs LOTS of space, easy parking plus lots of additional things around the park.
Ok venue secure, now it’s time to get some great food options. The trick here is great food to draw (and keep) people at your event, and then the right amount of food so that people aren’t waiting in line forever. Also depending on the style of event you are hosting, for-purchase food trucks may be best, whereas providing food in a more catered style may be better. Here’s a couple of our faves for both options.
- El GreenGo’s – Mexican food is good for any occasion, and Green-Go’s is a go-to with lots of options, super fast, and always tasty.
- The Hungry Deckhand – I swear these guys are everywhere, and for good reason. The sandwiches are so dang good, and they’re huge! Crowd favorite at any event.
- Da Poke Man Express – On a nice warm summer day, the poke just hits different. A fun Hawaiian option to spice up an event.
- Wild Fork Catering – Wild Fork is great for a more formal event, with lots of options for menus and styles of service. Easy to work with and super consistent.
- Peppercinis – Simple, fresh, and available for events, catering and groups of all sizes.
- Ginger – First off, we just love Ginger, but for an event where you need or want a bit more upscale options, Ginger offers a fantastic menu selection, and is open to customizing as well.
- Art – Adding a visual component to your event really helps keep people engaged, can be done in a variety of ways, and at a very nominal cost.
- Games – Great for the more family friendly events and keeping people entertained for a duration of time, this can also be setup for a more mature audience as well.
- Craft vendor or Farmer’s Markets – Highlight the local community and get people interacting, shopping spending, etc. Everyone loves a craft or farmer’s market.
- Petting Zoo – More great options for the kids and a fun and simple inclusion for any family friendly event.
- Competition – Everyone loves a little competition at an event, whether they are participating or just watching. Some of the common faves are pig racing, fishing tournaments, or the classic 5K run.
LIVE MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT
- Nothin But Trouble – Probably one of the consistent bands in town, they cover all the hits and your favorite rock, pop, or country songs from the last 30 years.
- Chill Factor – Despite the name, this group is fun, lively and upbeat, and a perfect addition to any event.
- Pamyua – Pamyua is an Inuit soul-music group that also incorporates dance, drumming and culture into their performances. Book them now, as their calendar fills up quickly.
- Spin Entertainment Group (DJ) – If you are looking for a simpler setup but still need music and energy, the crew over at Spin are great at engaging a crowd.
SETUP & INFRASTRUCTURE
- Tents, Table, & Chairs – Obviously you want people to be comfortable so don’t skimp on the basics. The trick here however is setting these up to keep people moving and flowing, and eliminating choke points
- Bathrooms – Do not rely on the venue or neighboring venues to be able to handle your event. If you want people to stick around, plan ahead for this one.
- Trash Cans – This might just be a personal pet peeve, but make sure to focus on a ‘trash plan’, which consists of plenty of trash receptacles and roving staff that is constantly removing and replacing bags. Spilled over trash cans is gross and the death knell of any event.
- Parking – Sometimes the amount of parking can’t be helped in certain areas and venues, but at the very least communicate options for your guests ahead of time so they can plan.
- Info booth, First Aid, Lost & Found – We find that this is a piece that is often overlooked, or the first to be cut in times of staff or budget challenges, but just proves to be so valuable for larger events. This can be as simple as a 10’x10’ tent, but acts so well as a central point for the event. We highly recommend this.