Working the Fun Factor: Company Picnic 101

aerial view of house and lake

We’ve talked a lot about team building and the importance of bonding activities in an off-site meeting. However, we see the company picnic as an essential element which is simply about fun. While the annual holiday party is a celebration of the company, the annual picnic is a celebration of the employee; a thank you for the continued hard work and effort put forth each and every day. As such, there are a variety of ways to plan and execute a successful event for your team.

Venue Variety

As a full-service conference venue, we understand the importance of choosing your off-site meeting location. The same is true for any event you plan, including the company picnic. What type of environment are you envisioning? What if it rains? These are important questions to ask yourself while researching the perfect place for your picnic.

According to the 2018 Am/Ex Global Meetings and Events Forecast, non-traditional meeting space bookings rose by 4% last year. At Airlie, we’ve seen an increasing number of such requests, so we’ve been reimagining spaces to keep up with not only growing inquiries, but trends we feel are here for the long haul. For a client hoping to host a company picnic at Airlie, this means a repurposed garage with waterfront deck or an outdoor tented venue with space for lawn games and the Harry’s Food Truck to pull up and provide that “chic county fair” vibe.

Either way, we highly recommend an off-site location, so that you, as the planner — and fellow employee — can also enjoy the event, and leave the work to the venue.


Move aside, hot dogs and hamburgers. Just because we’re talking company picnic, that doesn’t mean
the food — or the presentation — has to be the “same old same.”

Combining an inventive menu with a unique venue will have the staff talking about it for a long time to come. Think along these lines:

  • Pig roast with full tiki bar set up lakeside.
  • Finger foods and a local wine tasting in the organic garden.
  • A pizza bar for the kids with croquet and corn hole.
  • Fire pit with s’mores and ice cream bar
  • Brunch and bloody marys
  • Food truck with pulled pork and Philly cheesesteak sliders

The sky is the limit!


There truly is a science behind creating a successful event. Location, service, food, and entertainment are all equal factors.

A company picnic is a relaxing, low-key occasion, often including families—so a variety of games would be a nice addition to the festivities. Lawn games like horseshoes, corn hole, volleyball, croquet, oversized Jenga and checkers are some standard offerings.

corn hole

Choosing a host location with acreage also allows for rented elements to be brought in, like a bounce house, midway games, or even rides (referencing the county fair theme mentioned earlier).

At Airlie, we offer fishing, biking, archery and sporting clays on a daily basis. These elements require some instruction, so it is important to have a professional present.

Keep the Fun Rolling

While the company picnic presents one opportunity for company togetherness during the warmer months, it’s important to show appreciation all year round.

A monthly in-office happy hour is a popular choice, but you may also want to consider volunteering for a local charity, doing a cooking or yoga class, or testing your problem solving skills in an escape room setting. Finally, don’t forget about the annual holiday party!

Best of luck planning, and be sure to contact us if you have any questions about hosting at Airlie.