Summer Picnics: 12 Menu, Entertainment, and Decor Ideas

Here are resources for three types of corporate summer gatherings.

By Lisa Cericola June 1, 2010, 8:45 AM EDT

Evening Cocktail Party
Kitschy tiki drinks will get people in a party mood. Toronto-based Martini Club can make the Marikoriko, with rum, kiwi, mint, and lime; pricing varies. Alembic in Washington can concoct hurricanes. Pricing starts at $100 for a consultation; on-site services are additional.

Add a summery vibe with a steel drum band, such as Los Angeles-based Nesta; rates start at $325 for a three-hour steel drum soloist.

Barbecue-inspired passed hors d’oeuvres add a sophisticated touch but will keep guests sated. Design Cuisine in Washington makes mini BLT “cupcakes” out of corn bread. Calihan Catering in Chicago serves tenderloin sliders with corn slaw.

Create a patio setting using lounge furniture with an outdoor feel. Props for Today in New York offers a beachy love seat for $450.

Lunch in the Conference Room
A family-style spread makes for easy conviviality. New York’s Francis Louis Catering & Events offers a three-course meal including meatballs in marinara sauce and ricotta cheesecake for $37.50 a person.

To-Go Ware’s colorful, reusable bamboo utensil sets, $6.15 for orders of 99 or fewer, dress up place settings, and staffers can use them at their desks when the party is over.

Hold a beer tasting. Through Beerology, Toronto-based Mirella Amato educates people about Ontario’s craft beers. Guided tastings start at $25 per person. Washington Wine Academy now offers private beer tastings throughout the metro D.C. area, starting at $18 per person.

Hide a conference room table with a summery tablecloth like the Green Wave Organza, $20 for a 132-inch round, available in Toronto from Chair-Man Mills, or the Del Sol, $35 for a 90-inch square, available in the U.S. and Canada from BBJ Linen.

Day in the Park
Offer a bird’s-eye view with a tethered hot air balloon ride. Central Florida-based Bob’s Balloons charges $500 an hour. Pennsylvania-based Above & Beyond Ballooning will do balloon tethers throughout the Northeast for $1,250 per hour. Travel fees are additional.

Spice up a cookout with hot dogs and surprising toppings. New York’s AsiaDog piles on Asian condiments such as kimchi and seaweed flakes and Thai-style mango and cucumber relish. Franks, sides, and beverages run about $12 per person. Gastropod, a Miami-based mobile restaurant in a vintage Airstream trailer, serves the Old Dirt Dawg, a short rib hot dog, with “stupid slaw” for $5 each.

Branded folding chairs can be used as seating at the event and all summer long. Best Promotions offers the classic striped beach chair, $20 each for orders of 36, plus a $65 customization fee.

Keep kids (and adults) busy with a kite-making station. Teambuilding Unlimited turns the activity into a competitive project. Facilitators are available throughout the U.S.; prices vary. Or, do it on the cheap with kits from a toy store.

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