The sun has arrived just in time for outdoor event season! While outdoor events can be held year round due to tenting, heaters, and other adjustments, summertime has unlimited opportunities to host a successful event. Here are our tips for hosting successful outdoor events.
Plan for Inclement Weather
Let’s be honest, up until the day of an outdoor event, we are checking the weather to see what to expect for the day. To alleviate some stress on whether rain, wind, or snow will impede your plans, an inclement weather plan is a must. Have a tent on standby or a plan for a location that has a building that guests can be moved to if necessary.
Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition’s Recreate Luncheon had a rain contingency plan that featured tents and moving some tables inside the building.
Think About the Logistics for the Event
Event requirements can significantly differ depending on the nature of the occasion. For instance, a run/walk fundraiser may require a stage for award ceremonies. At a festival, food vendors need power to prepare food on-site. When thinking about what you need for an outdoor event, start with what is happening during the event and what is needed to support it: bathrooms, lighting, heaters and waste management. Taking these key aspects into account will contribute to a well-planned and successful outdoor event.
South Puget Sound Community College Foundation’s The Party had power for food trucks as well as a stage for a concert and plenty of outdoor port-a-potties.
Plan for Entertainment Activities and Food
Guests love to be entertained and participate in activities during an event. From hiring food trucks, to hosting performances at a main stage, there are many ways to incorporate entertainment at an outdoor event. Try to relate the entertainment back to the reason why you are hosting the gathering. For example, if you are hosting a school fundraiser, do you have musicians in your community who would perform? Can you host a contest during the festival to get attendees engaged? The options are endless! In the photo below, Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation’s Furry 5K hosted dog agility performances throughout the afternoon.
Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation’s Furry 5K hosted dog agility performances throughout the afternoon.
Complete the Correct Permits
When planning your epic outdoor event, be sure to add obtaining city and event permits to your list! Permits were in the front of our minds during the planning process for the Seattle Donut Fest. The festival was hosted inside a pavilion, however, since it was technically inside a park, we needed to complete a Special Events Permit with the city of Seattle. Another example is if you are closing streets off for a race or festival, be sure to contact the city on what permits are required to be able to not cause disruptions in traffic. When in doubt, ask the city what is needed!
For the Duvall Days Festival, we were required to work with the City of Duvall and King County to get the correct permits and paperwork filled out before the event.
Check out some of our favorite outdoor venues: