With a dry and warm January and February, and near 70-degree weather in Chicagoland in recent weeks, it’s not much of a leap to begin to dream of warm summer days around the corner. A highlight of summer in the Midwest is certainly the numerous festivals celebrating everything from Memorial Day, to July 4th, to Labor Day, and a number of local traditions and festivals throughout. As an event planner, you’re probably already in the thick of preparing for this summer’s extravaganza; so this one’s for you.
Location Is Key
You may already have a venue selected—or chosen for you, but if the latter is true, we’ll walk through some ways to maximize the space to ensure guests have an enjoyable, safe experience. If you have the chance to pick your venue, CONGRATULATIONS! You have won the lottery of event planning.
During summer months in the Midwest, the weather can be unpredictable, so be sure to choose an area that either provides natural/permanent cover or has enough open space (and budget) for large tents. Even if the sun is shining you’ll want to make shade available to keep your guests happy.
Understand Traffic Flow
If you’re planning for 1,500 guests and 5,000 show up—or 10,000—is your event space organized in such a way that makes sense and allows guests to flow naturally from one section to another? Know that during key meal times your guests will be flooding the food vendor area, is your event area mapped out in such a way to provide multiple entrances and exits?
Top tip: If you’re aware of the direction of a consistent breeze, place your food vendors up-wind and let the smells from their products waft through the area; this is sure to boost food sales and your vendors will love you for it.
Be aware in planning: don’t miss the possible “squeeze” points that can choke traffic flow; try to allow guests enough elbow room moving from area to area, or multiple entrances to high-trafficked areas.
Set A Realistic Budget
You may be handed a project with an unrealistic budget, so before those numbers are set in stone, get quotes from your vendors to get a better sense for what you’re looking at. If you still cannot make the numbers work, look for sponsorships from local organizations, or work with on-site service vendors such as food service to negotiate a percentage of sales as part of the exhibitor fee, then leveraging a strategy such as the one above, or incorporating their brands in pre-event communications, can help increase their bottom line and your operating budget at the same time.
Gaining attendance at summer events in the Midwest can be easier than other parts of the country, making the real challenge managing a crowd. If you need a quote and creative ideas for crowd control barricades and temporary fences, give us a call or fill out a quote request form. Our team of fence rental experts can help with tips, tricks, and a competitive quote for securing your upcoming event.