5 Baller Beaverton Venues for your Next Oregon Event

5 of the Best Beaverton Venues

Ponzi Vineyards in Beaverton, OR

 

Beaverton is the 5th largest city in Oregon, and home to over 80,000 residents. It’s sometimes referred to as the ‘Silicon Forrest’ a nod to it’s Silicon Valley similarities, even if it isn’t quite the same size as the California giant. With successful companies and cheerful residents comes bountiful celebration! Beaverton has some awesome venues, and we wanted to take the time just to highlight a few of them for your consideration if you are in the planning stages of your next Beaverton event.  If none of these options strike you as perfect, reach out to us or another event planner to get help with Event Venue Selection.

McMenamins Murray and Allen Pub – website – Capacity: 30

McMenamins is known for maintaining a variety of event venues that can be used to host parties, meetings, weddings, and more. We want to take a second to focus on one of their pubs, Murray and Allen. With rustic food and a local selection of craft and self-made beers and cocktails, you and your guests will have an absolute blast here. The venue features some very original decor, with an animated sun smiling down on you, surrounded by hanging plants.  This is one of the more tight knit venues in Beaverton, so keep your guest list to 30 or less. A perfect spot for a small corporate meeting, wedding rehearsal dinner, or just a fun night out with some good friends.

Ponzi Vineyards- website – Capacity: 50

If the Murray and Allen Pub was a venue appetizer for quainter events, Ponzi Veineyards is the main course. This incredibly elegant venue is perfect for setting a tone of elegance and class.  Everything from their decor, to their menu, to their outstanding staff highlights this feat of professionalism.  The four course menus and local wine tasting is sure to wow your attendees. Perfect for corporate meet and greets, fundraisers, and of course weddings, this Beaverton venue is one that deserves consideration.

The Reserve – website – Capacity: 350

The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Course is a much larger venue.  Complete with large indoor meeting spaces capable of accommodating up to 120 individuals, this venue is perfect for larger professional gatherings or weddings with massive guest lists.  Bonus activities include wine tasting and group tee times on their golf course.  With your venue reservation, you get free access to their tables, linens, chairs, and basic AV equipment. They offer catering for an additional fee if you plan on also feeding your event guests.

Hotshot Billiards – website – Capacity: 120

This venue and the next one come with built in entertainment! Hotshot Billiards is a massive pool hall that can support groups up to 120 persons in size. They maintain 22 active billiard tables, which means if you are playing partners, up to 88 of your event attendees can be playing simultaneously! The pool hall features other entertainment options as well such as an arcade room, dart boards, and a classic jukebox.  The kitchen offers classic bar food such as burgers, chicken strips, and french fries, but the venue is open to groups bringing in their own catering if you want to “class it up” a bit.

Sunset Lanes – website – Capacity: 400

Our final venue on our Beaverton Event Venue highlight reel is Sunset Lanes, a local bowling facility.  With such large capacity, Sunset Lanes is perfect for hosting large corporate events where the focus in fun. Prices are based around two hours of unlimited bowling, but the venue offers multiple packages and additional services. Bowling, might seem a little hokey for an event, but anywhere where there is food, beverage, and fun is an excellent candidate for an event location. If you plan on inviting whole families, the bowling can help keep the little ones entertained as well.

What other Beaverton Venues stand out to you? Leave your favorite Beaverton venue in the comments below so that others can benefit from your experience and knowledge!

 

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Managing Portland and Seattle Weather when Planning Outdoor Events

rain doesn't have to ruin your next portland event!

Though most people recognize Seattle as a rainy city, Portland is pretty much tied for wetness.  The trade off for beautiful coastline and such vibrant green scenery is that we get to experience moderate rainfall for roughly 70% of the year.  Fortunately, if you were born and raised in this climate, you are quite used to occasional sprinkle, and it should not be a reason to forgo celebration!

Let’s take a look at some super easy ways to prevent a rain cloud from ruining your next Portland/Seattle Event.

Umbrella Bin

Does your event take place partially, or entirely outside? Prepare ahead of time by setting up a few umbrella bins. You can buy sleek umbrella bins off of Amazon or other online retailers for reasonable prices.  If you go this route, try and find a bin that matches your decor. Stock these puppies full of cheap large umbrellas. If it rains, your guests can simply grab one and share it among a few other attendees.  If you are worried about the bins being an eyesore, just tuck them in a back room or out of sight until you are sure rain is imminent.

Rental Tents

A more robust solution is to erect large tents for your event. Rental tents come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most full size tents start at 10′ x 20′ and can grow to pretty much as large as you could possibly need.  With increase in size comes increase in cost and setup time. Tents over 30′ x 60′ in size will require more than three hours to setup and will typically need to be setup at least a day in advance. While tents can be expensive, they are incredibly effective at creating enclosed, rain-safe places, and can add an awesome decor element to your event. Just check out some of the awesome structures being built by Amazing Tent Company.

Rental Canopies

A more cost effective route than full tenting is to use 10′ x 10′ canopies. Many rental companies offer industry grade rental canopies for $100-$200. These canopies won’t provide a ton of cover for all your guests, but can be used strategically to cover other service partners you might have at your corporate event. Do you have a henna tattoo station? Cover it with a canopy. Do you have a catered buffet line? Cover it with two canopies. Do you have a beverage station? Canopy. It’s a quick, cost mindful way to keep your vendors happy and your services clear of water.

Outdoor Heater Rentals

Here is one that people don’t consider very often. Sometimes rain is not always the villain. When Portland and Seattle aren’t wet, sometimes they can be just downright cold. Consider renting a couple outdoor heaters for use by guest tables, in tents, or on the way into indoor sections of your venue. Rental heaters run off of butane or propane which can be supplied by your event rental company.  Propane from a single tank will run for 2-3 hours if the heater is on full blast the entire time. The rental of your heater generally will come with one tank, with additional tanks costing anywhere from $50-$200 depending on the size of the tank and the particular company you are renting from. Check with your rental company that they will handle the setup, fuel switching, and operation of these heaters. If you aren’t employing the company to stay onsite during the event, make sure you work with your event coordinator to insure that the heaters are monitored and refueled when necessary by their event team.

Indoor/Outdoor Venues

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to proactively protect your event against the elements is in your venue choice. Look for venues that have equal or complimentary space both indoors and outdoors. This way, should it start raining, it will be natural for your event guests to shift their way indoors to enjoy other aspects of the celebration.  Talk to your venue partner ahead of time to determine what areas are usable and if they have additional areas you can use in the case of rain.

Contingency Event Plans

While some of these ideas are great, it’s not always practical to rent a giant tent when you don’t know whether it’s going to rain or not. Work with your Seattle or Portland Event Partners ahead of time to come up with alternatives for space, activities, and more.  Your event rental person might be kind enough to load an extra tent on the truck for a small fee, but not charge you the full price unless it needs to be used. Work with your Seattle or Portland Bounce House Rental provider to come up with some backup indoor activities that can be switched to at the last minute. Event Planning, much like project management, is all about identifying risks and coming up with mitigation plans to avoid them or minimize the impact should they occur.

As a native Portlandian, a little rain never scared me, but not everyone attending events in Portland and Seattle share that same sentiment. What are your tactics for avoiding the rain and maintaining event attendee satisfaction?

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The Corporate “Company” Picnic Evolution

Company Picnics are evolving

“Company Picnics” are fully recognized events in the United States. If you tell someone you are having a company picnic this weekend, they would rightly assume that you and your coworker’s families would be gathering at a location together to socialize, consume food and beverage, and typically enjoy some type of entertainment. The evolution of the company picnic, what it started as, what it became, and what it might be in the future is where Portland and Seattle corporations should be looking as they pursue new employee engagements and events.

The word picnic itself first originated in 1692 in print. It wouldn’t be for nearly 100 more years, in 1789, when picnics would manifest in their modern meaning. 1789 is when royal parks became public. Citizens started taking advantage of their new found rights in droves.  Family picnics became a regular activity, and the parks were regularly filled.  As history progressed, businesses more and more represented groups of people, and not individual entities. It was a natural progression for celebrations to include the workers of the companies once the businesses valued them beyond just their ability to produce labor.

Company picnics started as merely barbecue events in public parks. Food, and socializing. Later, field games would be introduced. A variety of competitive activities such has potato sack races, hula hoop competitions, and water balloon tosses. Do you think the first company established in Portland hosted picnics? The concept of the classic company picnic was immortalized in the season five finale of NBC’s hit show “The Office“.  They included all of the classic games, and even had a company wide volleyball tournament.

In the 90’s and early 2000’s, Microsoft hosted giant company picnics for their Redmond based offices. The picnics would span three days, with over 10,000 guests arriving each day. While this was certainly an impressive feat for the company to accomplish, they soon realized that this massive scale picnic didn’t make sense. With so many people there, it was unlikely for you to meet up with coworkers and bond in a different setting. Introducing your family to your manager was a long shot. Microsoft changed the format and decided to give individual groups budgets for annual events. Now, a group of anywhere from 30 to 200 people will throw an annual company picnic, either at their headquarters in Redmond, or nearby at Lake Sammamish’s own Vasa Park.

Portland’s own monster company, Nike inc.,  follows a similar format. Hosting one giant picnic on their massive on campus fields. At least with only one day of attendance, their is a higher probability of the group camaraderie and celebration. It’s likely only a matter of time until Portland company’s follow suit and devolve the traditional company picnic into smaller events.

In addition to size reductions and group consolidations, Portland companies are looking for new ways to explore celebrating traditional events. They look to rent new and exciting event equipment, bring in exciting entertainment, and new food and beverage options. Employers want to engage employees in new ways, and events are looked at as a competitive job perk. The company picnic, or some variation thereof, is no longer optional. In order to recruit great talent in competitive markets, companies need every edge they can get.

As the traditional “Company Picnic” continues to evolve, I think we will see wide ranges of new activities, and more frequent events than just the annual celebration. Our generation is blessed with greater automation, making long hours less necessary, and leaving more time for creative events. If you are looking for ideas to take your annual company picnic to the next level, make sure you check out our guide for creative company picnics.

Leave your comment below to let us know what you think the next evolution of company picnics might be!

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8 Company Picnic Ideas for Oregon

Check out all the awesome alternatives that you can bring to your Portland Company Picnic.

It’s April, and we are less than three months away from the hottest summer months for Portland and Seattle. If you aren’t knee deep in planning your summer corporate and non-profit special events yet, we’ve got a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Check out these 8 ideas below, and add your own in the comments section!

    • Forget a Picnic, let’s go on a Cruise! – Why do throw a company picnic at all? Mix it up and do something completely different. If your group isn’t too large, booking a cruise can be a ton of fun! Cruise ships can have nearly all the normal attractions of a regular company picnic, such as food, drinks, and dancing, with the added benefit of some spectacular views and a new experience. They can also be quite cost effective, while having the feel of being more luxurious. Reach out to a local Portland Curise company to see what kind of potential your event could have. Bonus: much of the entertainment equipment you would rent for a company picnic you can put on a boat. Work with your local Portland Event Rental company to see what options you may have.
    • Put Together a Crazy Wipe-Out-Esque Obstacle Course – Have you ever seen the television show Wipe Out on ABC? The basic idea is that contestants make their way through a very difficult obstacle course and try to reach the finish. Along the way, they have some truly spectacular “wipe outs” and some never finish. By putting together a string of inflatables and other obstacle course rentals, you can make your very own Wipe Out obstacle course. Start with the Boulder Dash, Lagoon of Doom, and some Tires, and build from there. Work with your coworkers to come up with unique ideas. Bonus: Offer prizes for whoever can finish the fastest, complete the course with the most flair, or can perform the most spectacular wipe-out!
    • Invite some Truly Stunning Entertainers – If you’ve done the same thing for your company picnic year after year, consider hiring some outside entertainment to spice up the event. Booking Bands, Magicians, Comedians, and Hypnotists are all crowd favorites. Picking a unique type of entertainment year to year can keep your event interesting and new for at least a decade.  If you are working with an Event Coordinator, make sure you ask them if they have access to any special kind of entertainers, or recommendations for your Portland event.
    • Have a Chili Cook Off or Similar Culinary Focused Event – If you’ve done the same Barbecue catering company every year, maybe it’s time to mix it up. Organize a catering company to bring side dishes, appetizers, drinks, and desserts.  For the main dish, host an old fashioned chili cook off. Have all of your guests bring a large pot of their famous family recipe. Have all of the attendees do a sampling and vote on their favorite chili. Give out prize to the best chili in attendance!
    • Make it a Giant Water War – There are so many great water rental options in Portland.  From dunk tanks, water balloon launchers, water slides, slip n’ slides, and more.  If you are confident that your event is going to land on a hot Oregon summer day, perhaps getting your guests wet is the way to go.   Incorporate traditional picnic games like water balloon toss and prizes to keep things competitive. Sometimes the best way to heat things up is to cool off!
    • Create a Unique Theme – Ok, we admit it, Pirates, Western, and Circus are old. They’ve all been done thousands of times. Mix your Portland Corporate picnic up with some new and unique themes (preferably ones that Portlandians are totally into).  To really get your theme going, throw a costume contest with some sweet rewards to go along with it. Here are a couple unique theme ideas if you need a push start,
        • Brewery Themed Event – Empty Kegs everywhere, Take-home pint glasses with the company’s name and picnic year on them, a sweet bar setup with a ton of local beer choices, An on-site beer brewing demonstration, Hops plants brought in for decor. There is so much you could do with this theme.
        • Renewables Themed Event – The environment is important, why not throw an event that celebrates that! Make outdoor furniture such as tables and chairs out of recycled pallets. Highlight ways that your guests can save energy and recycle. Make an arts and crafts station that uses only recycled materials. Give out Swag that saves energy, such as LED bulbs, Outlet Insulators, and Water regulators. Getting your attendees excited about a cause can be a lot of fun. As a bonus, you can hopefully start some ongoing conversations around the office, and get your employees participating in worthy activities.
        • Steampunk Themed Event – As Wikipedia puts it, Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Basically you get some awesome decor that looks like the future melded with the early 1900’s. Portland is even hosting a Steampunk conference this year, called GearCon, so it is likely that at least some of your employees have heard about this cool theme. Get together with a reputable Portland decor company, and let your imagination run wild.
    • Throw a Raffle – Free stuff is always a fantastic way to boost attendance. We have one Event Partner that has their entire event based around a raffle! They buy about $20,000 worth of prizes, and raffle them off to their employees. Employees must be present to win! They typically have a couple of large gifts, such as flat screen TVs that they give away at the very end. Everybody likes free stuff, and even if they don’t win, they definitely get the impression that the company cares about their employees.
    • Host a Traditional Outdoor Company Picnic – Sometimes, classic is best. Great food, music, the outdoors, entertainment, and some great company is all you really need for a successful event.  Spend some time selecting the right vendors for your Oregon picnic, and you are all but guaranteed to have a hit on your hand.  If your picnic is going to be at a Portland Park, make sure you check out our guide for booking events in Portland Parks.

If you have some other fantastic ideas for turning your company picnics upside down, make sure you leave them in the comments below! You never know what new idea might turn into the next event craze!

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Should I Buy or Rent a Bouncy House for my Event?

Is better to rent or buy an inflatable ride or bouncy house for my Portland or Seattle Event?

Now that it’s Spring, and Summer is just around the corner, I’m sure you’ve found yourself thinking about your upcoming Portland summer event, and what type of entertainment you are going to bring.  If you and your event team have thought about renting inflatables and bounce houses for your event, then by now you’ve likely explored the costs of renting these rides for your event.   You might be asking yourself the question, why don’t I just buy inflatables instead of renting?  Let’s take a closer look at the economics of owning a bounce house vs. renting one.

Bounce House Cost

If you are renting a bounce house in the Portland or Seattle area, you can expect most basic bounce houses to cost at least $200 to rent. With staff, delivery, and tax, this amount can quickly reach $500 to $1000 dollars for a corporate event.  Buying a commercial grade bounce house will cost you at least $2000 brand new. If you can use it for multiple events a year, you might find that you can make up the difference in cost fairly quickly. However, you will not have the option of variety, and will not be able to match your inflatables to your event theme. Additionally, your in-house event team will need to handle the setup, cleanup, and staffing of the bounce house unit.  Larger, more impressive units, such as inflatable slides or obstacle courses typically start around $4,000 to purchase, and can be as high as $40,000 for giant complex inflatables.

Bounce House Storage

Should you choose to buy a bounce house for your Portland event, you will need to find adequete storage. The smallest bounce houses weigh in at around 200lbs, and take up a 3′ x 3′ area when stood up on end. Transporting and storing these inflatables requires a fair amount of manual effort, but a couple able-bodied adults should have no issue moving them.  Your storage space should also be dry, and not have any direct sunlight, as prolonged sun exposure can damage the bounce house vinyl, or possibly fade the coloring. If you don’t have the space to store inflatables, renting a storage unit is an option, but then your cost will also go up accordingly. If you go the rental route, your Portland bounce house provider will likely already have a safe, clean, storage space where they keep the rides between events.

Bounce House Maintenance

A necessary aspect of owning anything is needing to maintain it. The laws of entropy do not allow us to avoid this necessary part of ownership. Inflatables need to be regularly cleaned and dried after use.  After as little as 25 hours of regular use, seams can tear and baffles can rip. While some of these problems can be fixed easily with a patch, if there is a larger hole, you will need someone with experience sewing large quantities of vinyl.  Alternatively, you can ship the bounce house unit back to the manufacturer to have the issues resolved.  Rental companies have regular systems in place to clean, fix, and generally maintain their inventory of inflatable rides.  Some companies even employ vinyl engineers for in-house inflatable repair.

Insurance for Inflatable Attractions

Perhaps one of the most important, but most overlooked aspects of having inflatables at your event is the need for insurance.  Are you hosting a birthday party at your house in Portland? If a kid falls on another kid and breaks his arm, do you know that you could be held responsible for the broken arm? If you are holding an event for your Portland company, are you prepared to accept the liability of having inflatables at your event?  The best way to protect yourself is to have an insurance policy that protects you or your company against these types of accidents.  Most insurance companies will also require that your inflatables are setup and inspected annually, to make sure they meet industry requirements.  As long as you pick a reputable company, they should have insurance and should be able to add you or your company as an additional insured, meaning their policy will also cover your company in the case of an accident. Equally important to the insurance, is the active prevention of accidents. Established Portland event companies will have a training program for all of their ride operators, they will follow strict guidelines for how the inflatables are setup and secured, and will do everything to actively make sure the participants stay safe.

If your company or organization hosts multiple events every year, and you are capable of performing all of these critical functions, you might decide it is better for you to purchase inflatables for your own use. Over a couple years you could easily recoup the cost that would otherwise be incurred through rentals. If you only have one or two events a year, and want to maintain the ability to choose from a variety of different attractions, and never deal with any of the hassle, you are probably better off sticking to renting!  Have more questions about renting vs. buying? Leave a comment or give us a call, we’d be happy to answer them.

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Portland Children’s Activities Weekend Round Up: April 1- 3, 2016

Kid's playing in a Portland Park

Easter is over and next weekend is quickly approaching! We thought we would take the time to highlight some of the upcoming kid’s events for this weekend in the greater Portland Area.

Friday, April 1

  • Messy Art Drop In at Sparks Art Center in Portland: 9am – 12pm: Come by with your preschool children, ages 2 to 5 (older siblings are welcomed too) to participate in a free-for-all art session! Kids can come and make any art they choose using the variety of supplies and materials available to them. Cost is per child, and it is free for adults to participate along with their children. The cost for the activity is on a per hour basis, $7 for one hour, $10 for 2 hours, and $12 for a 3 hour art session. The Sparks Art Center generously offers a “10 minute grace period”, where if your child becomes uninterested within the first 10 minutes, they will refund your money and let you try again on another day. This is perfect for those creative kiddos in your life!
  • Free First Friday at Portland Children’s Museum: 4pm – 8pm:  All ages are welcome to come explore the Portland Children’s Museum for Free on the “Free First Friday”, a monthly event. For the first Friday of every month, the museum secures a sponsor so that families can enjoy all the museum has to offer at no cost. This month is sponsored by Target Corporation. The Portland Children’s museum includes permanent exhibits such as “Building Bridgetown” and “Pet Hospital“, where kids have the opportunity to play real life professions. The museum is also exhibiting a temporary attraction, “Run! Jum! Fly! Adventures in Action” until May 15, 2016.  The exhibit focuses on “Action Training” and promotes healthy living and activity for kids.

Saturday, April 2

  • Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn: 9am – 6pm: There is so much to do at this Festival! No need to Rent a Bounce house when there are so many better options at a nearby festival. In addition to the 40 acres of beautiful countryside vineyards, flowers, and mountains, there are countless family activities.  The event includes train rides, bounce houses, portable climbing wall, zip line, and archery tag. For adults there is wine tasting, paint balling, and more.  Following in their namesake, there will also be wooden shoe making demonstrations. Costs for activities in the area run from $1 up to $10 depending on the activity. If you plan on eating, plan on bringing at least $20 per person to enjoy some of the activities along with the food. The Tulip Fest is open daily until May 1, 2016, but best to check their website for details on which activities are available on the day you plan on attending.
  • Pacific Northwest Reptile and Exotic Animal Show in Hillsboro at the Washington County Fairgrounds: 10am – 5pmThis great all ages event is the largest all ages exotic animal show in all of the Northwest.  Perfect for kids of all ages and their families, this show could even send you home with a new member of the family! They offer daily raffles that include thousands of dollars worth of equipment and new reptile pets. Admission is free for children under 5 years of age, $5 for kids ages 6-10, and $9 for children 10+ and adults.  It’s not every weekend that your kids will have the opportunity to hold a giant snake!

Sunday, April 3

  • Family Open Play at Upper Westside Play Gym in Portland: 12pm-1:30pm:  This gym promotes healthy living and family fun with cheap weekend drop- in hours for kids of all ages. In addition to a fully loaded gym, there are kitchen and play room areas stocked to the brim with different sensory activities and arts and crafts. Cost is $5 for the first child, and $2.50 for subsequent siblings. The Upper Westside Play Gym also offers a punch card if you are a frequent visitor that grants you a 20% discount per visit.

Do you have an upcoming Oregon or Washington event that you would like to have featured in our blog? Let us know in the comments below or email us at [email protected] Happy Playing!

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Downtown Portland’s Dunk Tank Dynasty – Everything you need to know about Dunk Tank Rentals

Dunk tank rentals are super easy in Portland Oregon

Renting a Dunk Tank in Portland is an easy task.  There are multiple Portland Dunk Tank rental companies available that are competitively priced, insured, and competent at providing their service. Before you eagerly go placing a giant bucket of water at your Portland office, there are few things you should know about the actual water rental itself, so that you can plan your dunking event accordingly.

Most Risk Management groups won’t allow Dunk Tanks

This is more of a problem for school carnivals than it is for corporate events, but you should definitely check with your risk management group before booking. Many schools will not allow a standing body of water that is above a certain depth. They consider it too high of a risk for drowning, and don’t want to deal with the potential consequences should the unthinkable happen. If your corporate event or school carnival won’t allow a traditional dunk tank, make sure you investigate dunk tank alternatives.

Drive up Access is Required

Where are you planning on putting your dunk tank? Dunk Tanks are typically trailers that travel horizontally while being delivered. They can be moved by hand,  but if a small car can’t access the location, it is doubtful that you will be able to get it to where you want it to go. Some companies offer collapsible dunk tank rentals that can be put in tighter areas not typically accessible by vehicles, but it will be easier to find a vendor if you plan for an easy access spot in a parking lot, or in front of a building entrance adjacent to the road.

It Takes Time to Fill

500 gallons is a lot of water, and is the total volume of your average Portland dunk tank rental. Make sure you coordinate with your event rental company to arrive at your event well before the start time. You will need at least 15 minutes to setup the actual dunk tank, and an additional hour to fill the tank to the top. Check your water pressure ahead of time to make sure your hose flows at a good rate, so there aren’t any issues on the day of your event. Sometimes it is possible to work with the Portland Fire Department to schedule a time for them to come out and fill your tank super fast. Be careful though, sometime the water from fire hydrants is not suitable for humans to swim in.

The Water can get Gross

Speaking of not being suitable for humans… How long is your event? As your dunk tank is used, over time the water quality can degrade. With multiple individuals repeatedly dunking into the same water, you can introduce dirt, grass, and other not so pleasant elements. If your event is over 4 hours in length, it is wise to schedule some time to replace the water in the dunk tank.  You don’t want your guests to be put off and not eat your delicious catering just because of some dirty water! If you are looking for a quicker way to keep the water clean, consider purchasing bromine tablets and adding them to tank prior to the event.

500 Gallons of Water have to go somewhere

Your event is over and your dunk tank rental was a huge success! Cleanup time has come, and you go to drain the dunk tank. Oops. I guess we shouldn’t have put a giant tub of water next to Mrs. Gretchen’s brand new flower bed. What goes in must come out. Make sure you plan ahead in the placement of your dunk tank and put it in an area where such a large volume of water won’t cause damage.  If possible, placing the tank next to a large sewer drain or equivalent works best.  If you absolutely can’t find a good place with drainage, you can always hire a Portland septic company to come pump the water out at the end of your event. Just check with your rental company before doing so.

Don’t let these minor logistical challenges discourage you from booking a dunk tank for your next Portland corporate event or school carnival, just consider it one of the many rewarding event challenges that can be overcome!

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5 Key Considerations before Selecting an Event Coordinator for your Party

Selecting and event rental company for your Portland event is not an easy task!

Portland and Seattle are about to have an absolutely killer summers this year.  Now that it’s March, many companies and individuals are starting to plan their summer events, picnics, and celebrations.  Depending on the size of your event, you may have hired an event coordinator in the past, or are considering hiring one this year. There are hundreds of variables that you can consider when selecting an event planning company or individual. We think there are five topics in particular that are worth focusing on more than others.

Event Coordinator Experience

How much experience does your perspective planner have? Is this a side hobby for them, or have they been doing it full time for decades? Being fresh out of school and eager to coordinate events certainly has an appeal to it, and that eagerness can overcome some lack of experience. But, the thing about an event planner with experience is exactly that, they have been through hundreds or even thousands events over their career, and have encountered and learned from thousands of unique situations. They will have worked in and around Seattle and Portland Venues, and will know how to logistically navigate a variety of situations.  Experience is just one of the five top criteria for selecting an event planner. Before you toss away Novice Natasha, make sure you check out the remaining four criteria.

Event Coordinator Cost

We’d like to think that price shouldn’t be a factor when planning awesome events. Unfortunately, budget are usually a harsh reality when it comes to planning events. Remember Novice Natasha from earlier? This is one area where she may shine. If an inexperienced event coordinator is just getting into the industry, they might have rock bottom pricing just to get their foot in the door and gain the necessary experience. More established, reputable companies are likely to have higher prices, which could affect the amount of entertainment and food you can have at your event. Coordinators charge in a number of different ways,

  • Flat Fee: The Event Planner will charge you a flat rate for their services. Depending on the complexity of your event and the planner’s level experience, you could expect this amount to be anywhere from $500 to several thousand.
  • % of Event Cost: A popular method of charging is to charge a flat 10% to 20% on top of the cost of the event. As an example, if your event budget is $20,000 and the planner charges 15%, you can expect to pay them $3000.  The downside of this cost structure is that you will sometimes have to pay more just because you have more guests. Catering arrangements for example, are often the same for 50 guests as they are for 200 guests, yet you will pay 400% more for the event planner just because you have four times the guest count.
  • Hourly Rate: This method of billing is pretty straight forward.  You are charged an hourly amount for the work that the event coordinator does for your event. Hourly rates can range from $25 – $500/hr. depending on event complexity and the planner’s experience.  If you choose a planner with an hourly rate, make sure you get estimates from the Event Planer in advance, with a maximum hour allowance.  Complicated event situations could quickly escalate your cost and have unintended consequences.

Event Coordinator Network

An Event Coordinator is only as good as their network. What types of equipment rental vendors are they using? What local Portland or Seattle catering companies do they have a relationship with? Do they know where to get rental Soft Serve machines from if your event is in Beaverton?  Have they compiled a list of local Portland and Seattle venues that they have worked at in the past? A planner with a solid network will be able to work more efficiently, with less unknowns and risks.  Finding an Event Planner with a solid Service Partner Network is an insurance policy for event success.

Event Coordinator Portfolio

What type of crazy events has your prospective event coordinator put together in the past? Different from experience, this is about someone’s ability to execute on crazy ideas, unique themes, and logistical nightmares.  Ask to see some of your planner’s previous work. They should already have a portfolio prepared with the work they are most proud of. Similar to a photographer or artist, this is their art, and they will want to show it to you.  The Event Planner’s portfolio can also give you inspiration for your own event, and who better to use, than someone who has done that exact thing before.

Event Coordinator Culture

Perhaps the most overlooked, but equally important factor when considering Event Planners is the company culture or individual’s personality.  You are in the midst of planning your most special occasion for your company, non-profit, or friends. You deserve to be able to work with someone that you can relate to, and that shares your values and goals. Ask your Event Coordinator candidate tough questions about their company culture, and what they expectations of their employees are. How do they complete their own work internally?  The way they execute their events internally will reflect directly on your celebration.  Make sure your future Event Planner’s integrity and culture reflects your own.

That’s a wrap! Our personal recommendation for Seattle and Portland Event Planners is National Event Pros. They are based out of Seattle, WA but do fantastic work all of the nation. Their network is well established, they are priced competitively, and they maintain their own inventory of attractions, giving them a huge depth of unique experience. Regardless of what Event Coordinator you select, make sure they stack up against our 5 key considerations!

 

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Moonwalk Rentals and why Portland now calls them Bounce Houses

These aren't the kind of moonwalk rentals we have in stock...

The history of the Bounce House is a fascinating one. The inflatable fun structures have only been in existence for a total of 57 years! They have received all sorts of names over the years like moonwalk, bounce house, bouncy castle, and so much more.  Why is it that the name moonwalk was the original terminology, and why isn’t it used prominently anymore?

In 1959, mechanical engineer John Scurlock was designing inflatable tennis court covers to manufacture and sell. While he was working on developing the covers, he noticed that his employees were taking turns jumping on the pads.  He recognized the fun they were having as a potential business opportunity, and quickly became the inventor of inflatable domes, tents, moonwalks, and more. His greatest credited invention is the inflatable pillow the firefighters use when jumping out of high buildings. This inflatable pillow has saved thousands of lives over the course of it’s existence.

From the time Scurlock first noticed his employees playing on the inflatable pillow, it took nearly 10 years for him to establish the first moonwalk rental company. The moonwalk rentals were initially called “Space Walks” or “Space Pillows”. The name was appropriate, given that America and Russia’s space race first took off in 1955, just years before Scurlock invented bouncy houses and culminated with the first walk on the moon in 1969. Given America’s obsession with space, and the associated movements in lower or zero gravity environments, it was only natural for “Moonwalk Rentals” to be the best marketing ploy.  The name Moonwalk wasn’t officially coined until 1975, when Neiman Marcus developed an enclosed version of the inflatable with walls around the exterior that prevented kids from falling out (a safety feature we are very grateful for here in Portland and Seattle!).

A very interesting tidbit about moonwalks and bouncy houses is that they have been almost exclusively a rental business.  While there are some low quality bounce houses that you can purchase from Wall Mart and other department store outlets, a majority of the high quality inflatables and bounce house are only available as rentals. Even with the cost of new bouncy houses dropping over the years, the price point still makes it to difficult for people to afford anything other than a moonwalk rental.

As the space race came to an end, America’s focus and fascination with space also slowly died off. The word Moonwalk slowly went away with America’s declining interest. Moonwalk soon came second to many other terms such as bouncy house, bounce castle, jolly jump, inflatable trampoline, and many more.  West Coast cities historically are exposed to trends much later than the East Coast. With Bounce House Rentals originating in Louisiana, the South East, by the time the inflatable had made it’s way over to Portland, it’s no wonder the term Moonwalk had become secondary.

Perhaps with a new and exciting space race brewing, this time out of competition between corporations, and not countries, we will see a resurgence of the term “moonwalk”.  We are definitely fans of space, and the classic terminology has always had a nice ring to it.

If you are looking to bring back a blast from the past with a traditional Moonwalk rental, we can definitely bring one to your local Portland, Hillsboro, Seattle, or Beaverton event this coming summer. Happy Jumping!

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Your Source for Fun when you can’t find the Sun – Whirligig at the Seattle Center House

Kids on Jurassic Play Center, a Portland Bounce House Rental

Here in the Northwest, it’s the time of year when the Sun doesn’t like to come out very often. Fortunately, organizations like the Seattle Center team up with Bouncer Rental Northwest to bring all sorts of indoor, bouncy, inflatable fun.  A couple years ago we did a Whirligig write-up that went into details of several of the onsite activities for kids at the Seattle Center. This year, we will go into more depth on the individual bounce houses that are being brought in for Whirligig and what the cost to your family will be.  If you are planning an event in Portland or Seattle this summer, it is also a great activity to test out any slides, obstacle courses, or bounce house rentals you might be considering.

If you are one of our customers in the Portland, Hillsboro, or Beaverton area, we highly recommend making a day trip up to Seattle for the Whirligig event. In addition to all of the fun Seattle has to offer, your kids can enjoy an entire day of low-priced, unlimited inflatable fun.

Let’s bounce our way into the details!

Dates and Times

Whirligig starts on Friday, April 1st 2016 and is operational every single day until Sunday, April 17th 2016. The event times are 11am to 6pm daily.  If you are looking to attend when it is less busy with shorter lines, the best times to attend are weekday evenings from 3pm-6pm.  Alternatively, show up first thing in the morning prior to opening so that you can get in line and quickly get a wristband. Any weekday (Except Thursdays, see below) will be much slower than Saturday and Sundays.

Cost

Whirligig is an absolute steal when it comes to playing on inflatable rides. Unlimited wristbands are $8 per child. Getting a wristband means that the kids can go on any of the rides in center house as many times as they want during that particular day. If your child is under the age of 4 and doesn’t want to ride on the large rides, there is a restricted toddler area on the second floor that is reserved for kids under the age of 4. The unlimited toddler pass is only $4.50. However, if your young child is ambitious, and still wants to ride all of the rides, be aware that you will need to purchase the more expensive all day pass. If you are just passing through for the day, tickets are available for $1.50 a piece (with rides costing 1 or 2 tickets), but this option is not recommended unless you only plan on doing one or two rides.

If you compare the cost of the unlimited passes to the average bounce house rental in Portland or Seattle, I think you’ll find it’s a steal. $8 for unlimited use of 10 bounce houses instead of the normal cost of $200-$300 to have a single bounce house delivered to your house.

For a real deal, come on Thursdays when everything is FREE! All of the rides, free, all day long. Be warned though, it will be very, very busy.

Rides

Onto the best part of the experience! The inflatable slides, obstacle courses, and bounce houses! There are a grand total of 10 bounce rides that are brought into the Seattle Center House. Two of the bounce houses are reserved for children under the age of 4. Remember: Each and every one of these inflatables can be rented for your corporate event, summer picnic, or other special occasion. Click on any of the links below to get a detailed description of the interactive ride and stunning picture!

Toddler Area

Main Floor Play Area

We hope you come out to visit us this year and enjoy your experience at the Whirligig!

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