I love my new job; it is always giving me new exciting challenges, like planning our upcoming corporate picnic. For many of us who are assigned the job as “event planner”, we are so caught up in every detail that we hardly get to experience what it’s like to see an event from a guest’s perspective. To reconnect with the whole purpose of any event, to give guests a great time, my husband and I recently attended Unical’s 25th anniversary at Bonelli Park in San Dimas setup and managed by Event Solutions, the event planning company we are planning on working with.
The Venue: Bonelli Park
Finding the company picnic was easy with plenty of professionally printed signs complete with company logo to lead the way. I appreciated that they were not using plain printer paper taped over recycled signs, they respectfully crafted and laminated these signs. As we drove closer to the event, the wonderful scent of a wood fire drew us and the rest of the guests in. We drove past some of the only greenery and sparkling waters left in Southern California on our way to the picnic area at Bonelli Park.
No Wait Registration
As guests, we were early, but already the parking lot was nearly full. Families pushed strollers and held hands as they headed towards the orange and gray balloon arch where the guest registration await. Wristbands were distributed under the shade of the clearly marked tents.
The lovely ladies who helped us were well dressed in all black, like the backstage members of a stage production team. There was no wait, by the time we made it behind the person stepping up to be helped, another registration attendant stepped up to the table to help us. Just in time too, as we looked back to find a large group of guests who had made their way behind us. They were all smiles and filled with warm greetings, as the guests were guided towards their respective wishes.
Plenty of Festivities
Kids skipped, eager to enjoy the festivities. Who could blame them with a zip line, a giant fun slide, a rock climbing wall, and inflatables for both kids and adults? To tantalize the adults, a mound of high tech prizes sat next to a raffle ticket tent.
The Food, Family and Fun
For us early arrivals, Event Solutions thankfully provided relief to our hunger pains (after all the scent of some good eats were coming from them) by providing a hot dog and condiments station that was already underway and serving guests.
A Cookout that Stands Out
A good thing too, because the grilled chicken, ribs and sweet corn was making my mouth water. We love to people watch, so we wandered around the event to see what games, activities, and entertainment was going on while I had a chili cheese dog that really hit the spot.
The Carnival Fun Zone
We strolled by the zip line that quite possibly had more adults than children in line, along with plenty of carnival games. Colorful stuffed animals and inflatable toys hung from tents under banners declaring the area a “Fun Zone”. The teenagers tried their hands at all sorts of carnival games, but the football and competition zone seemed to have the boys amped up on competitive spirit.
Plenty to Photograph
The face painters were popular with everyone. Possibly because they were actual artists too, they weren’t providing some quick stencil art of generic hearts or stars. Mothers snapped pictures and videos from their cell phones of their children racing down the giant fun slide, while the dads seemed to enjoy the raffle prizes (who wouldn’t with these prizes?).
Vast Activities for Everyone
I realized my coworkers and their families all shared different interests and having a vast number of games and team building activities helped bring everyone together. It was obvious from all the smiles, laughter and selfies that people were enjoying each other more doing something together than those few who gathered under the shade to discuss one of their only common denominators: the company.
All About Unical
I have to hand it to Event Solutions; they specialize in working with businesses. I counted at least three professional photographers and a couple of managers working to make sure the event was professionally maintained. One event planner straightened and tightened a wind-blown banner, photographers captured professional quality pictures of guests, and the chef personally inspected each ear of corn before it was served. Event Solutions even made a point to give a special shout-out to Lorynn and the HR team for putting the event together and never mentioned their company once. It was clear, this event was about Unical and their anniversary, celebrating with their work and home families, not Event Solutions.
Fun for Everyone
It was hot in the sun, making the beverage stations popular. After a refreshing glass of iced tea (thank you to the wonderful wait staff at the beverage station for recommending the lemonade/iced tea mixture! It was delicious!) we headed over to the stage and live band to cool off in the coolest way – with the band! We enjoyed watching the action photo booths where photographers encouraged fun memories with props and shared enthusiasm with guests of all ages!
Plenty of Stations Meant No Lines
Wood-grilled sweet corn and topping station was a big hit. Despite the hundreds of other hungry guests, we didn’t have to wait long. There were more than enough stations for all of us to choose from, making the line short and as sweet as the snow cones (try the bubble gum-flavor!). When the event planner suggested the number of food stations I thought it was a bit excessive, but not having to wait made a huge difference in our experience. After all, doesn’t everyone hate long lines?
Feels Like a Festival
The uniform-clad staff was courteous, clean and happy to help. There was just enough staff at the event to change out the tablecloths and keep their stations clean and neat throughout the picnic. It may have been an outdoors picnic at Bonelli Park, but the catering, security, and event management staff made us feel like we were at an established festival. It was seamless, orderly and neat (even the water, tea and lemonade containers were covered and labeled) all the while giving us, the guests, a true family fun day. The MC didn’t just make announcements about the raffle or group photo; he mingled with the other guests, kids included, to make sure everyone had a great time.
The Best of Both Worlds: Work/Family
I’d like to conclude with a thank you to both Event Solutions and the Unical HR team for allowing me to be a part of something so special. Congratulations on an amazing journey through 25 years of business, Unical. A company anniversary is truly something to be celebrated, especially when you provide such a professional service to both the environment and to the aviation industry. Lorynn, planning something this big is not as easy as I am learning. I hope your arm isn’t too sore from all those high-fives on Monday morning!