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!


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.


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!