Seven Topics to Consider when Planning an Outdoor Event
So you’re planning an outdoor event? After you've decided on the event and where it will be held, you need to acquire the appropriate permits. That’s the easy part, once that is completed there is so much more! So here is a list of seven things to consider when planning an outdoor event.
Nothing is better than knowing every inch of your venue. One great trick is to get a map and pencil in where everything will be, as well as taking pictures! Once everything is mapped out, you’re going to want to start making a schedule of when supplies and vendors will be coming in and out, as to not create a traffic jam.
You’re also going to want to consider timing of the event. When does the sun rise and set? If your event is going to run long enough for the sun to set, you’re going to want place lights on the walk ways and in the parking lots.
Does your outdoor event need power? Are you going to have food stations or vendors there, a stage with a sound system or even a DJ? If so, then the power sources need mapped out. It doesn’t hurt to see if the vendors have their own power supply to offer, or at the least can bring their own extension cords. You’re also going to want to make sure you don’t exceed the maximum power to each supply source. Having at least one backup generator is also a good decision.
You want to make sure there are plenty of water fountains or drink vendors, as well as public restrooms; not only for the guests, but the workers and volunteers as well. You might also want to check and see if your city or county has a requirement on public bathrooms compared to estimated number of guests. (A safe number is 1 port-a-potty to every 150 people)
Another thing to check on is what are your cities requirements on public safety? Does there need to be law enforcement and medical staff there, or are volunteers and a first aid kit sufficient?
Depending on the time of year, the climate, and the space, you might have some unwanted pests. There’s several different ways to handle pest control, one being to have an exterminator spray the area. However, make sure to be aware of how long after the chemicals are sprayed till the food can be safely prepared. Another is to add citronella candles and other repellents into the decorative mix.
If you've forgotten it, you know the hassle
Make sure to have extra supplies at the ready, whether they are complimentary or through a vendor. Supplies such as sunblock, bug spray, hand wipes, and anything else you think someone might need. If you’ve ever gone out and forgot something you know the pain and hassle of it.
The biggest problem with outdoor events is the weather. Will you’re event be held rain or shine, or will it be postponed? From the day you think of the event to the day of, you want to monitor the weather. You also need a backup plan in case it does rain. Can you’re event be moved indoors and if so where, can it be put under tents and pavilions, or does it need to be rescheduled? Each of those choices needs to be further looked into. If its moved indoors is it close by, or does your guests need to relocate as well? If it can be put under a pavilion will it hold up against the weather, and will it be large enough for the event? Then there’s rescheduling, you can plan ahead and already have the day marked down for all guests attending, or you can play it by ear. You can reschedule to a new location, or a future date in time. Rescheduling is something you need to have preplanned and something that you need to be prepared for.
Finally: Clean Up
Just as important as setting up, is cleaning up. Will you need dumpsters, or will the local waste management pick it up? It’s always good to have a plan for trash pickup. If it’s a multiple day event, can you get the local trash collectors to pick up daily, or will they only pick up on routine? You can also contact the local waste management company and see if they will donate any trash receptacles as well as any products to help clean.
I’m a current intern at Kilgore Events and Meetings, as well as full time student at the Pittsburgh Technical Institute. When I graduate in July of 2013 I will have an Associate’s Degree in Business Management, to then continue on with Robert Morris’s Bachelor’s Degree program for Business Administration.