With the recent warm weather spring is most definitely well on its way and soon you’ll be bathed in blossom, we love nothing more than gathering our community orchard teams, their local community a few performers and most definitely a face painter for an cracking springtime picnic.
Inspired by the Japanese tradition of ‘Hanami’ meaning ‘Flower Viewing’, a centuries-old tradition, now is the time to start planning your event. Timing a blossom celebration on home turf is a fickle business: the good old Blighty weather could see you wrapped up in a blanket rather than sitting on one troffing on cucumber sandwiches and a glass of Pimms! We’ve learnt that the hard way!
While our wonderful display of cherry blossom has come early this year, you’ll likely find that there’s still some blossom on apples and pears in late May into early June. For hosting a picnic we’d say the later the better, even if you don’t get to host your picnic at peak blossom time it’s still a great excuse to get everyone together.
So here’s our top 10 tips for hosting the perfect blossomtime picnic.
- PLANNING – We like to go public around four-six weeks before any event. Have a think about whether you want to charge for entry to raise funds for your orchard or keep it free. Our experience tells us that a small ticket price encourages people to not pull out last minute and that can be spent on all the luxuries that go into a great outdoor event. Plan your event at a weekend or half term holiday. Go for a lunchtime start time and invite guests to bring their own picnics and picnic mats. Remember, If in a public park or open space you may need to get permission from the council and certainly the land owner.
- PERFORMERS – Book a great storyteller, performer, band or all three! They can entertain the crowds and you can play host. Telling people about what you’ve been up to in the orchard and hopefully signing up new volunteers.
- MARKETING – Get your marketing right! A great poster will really “sell” your event to the masses. Think about featuring your performers – who may be able to supply you with professional promo shots – or commission an artist, illustrator or graphic designer to help promote your event. Once that’s done share, share, share. Print posters for local notice boards. Use all the social media channels you can. We’ve even done door-to-door event flyers on the houses near to the orchard and don’t forget to let the press know too.
- THE MUST HAVES – Facepainters are a must, if charging for entry you could likely afford to hire in a pro. They are worth their weight in gold (facepaint!). You could take donations from parents and the money raised could be ploughed back into the orchard.
- SET THE MOOD – Hiring or borrowing a battery powered PA helps with background music and you can use it to make announcements too. We’ve got one of these Behringer Bluetooth Speakers. Find the best spot for your performer(s) to do their thang and lay out your picnic mats ready for your guests. TOP TIP: We pegged ours down so they didn’t blow away!
- FOOD – You might want to speak to local food vendors. Parents love a proper brew or artisan coffee. You may even be able to charge them a pitch fee… you never know, hundreds might attend! If the weather is looking AMAZING speak to your local ice cream van driver or buy in some ice lollies in advance.
- PHOTOGRAPHY – Let’s face it we’ve all got smart phones that can take cracking pics these days but it could be worth hiring in a pro for the day. You’ll get cracking shots of the trees looking their best. Just remember to have consent form ready for permission from parents. You’ll want to plaster these all over social media. Just check our our ‘Helping Britain Blossom’ project event from 2018… it was an incredible day!
- WASTE – No one like a mess and you’ll likely need extra bins so that you can process the leftovers, recycle and perhaps add to your own compost pile. We used some brightly coloured giant planters from B&Q. We separated the food waste from the paper and plastic recycling and took this off site.
- BUNTING – You gotta have bunting! Either make it yourself or it can be hired in or perhaps purchased locally with your own branding.
ENJOY IT! – If you’ve set things up well the event should almost run itself and you can be the perfect host.
For those in or near Greater Manchester SAVE THE DATE Saturday 15th June – we’ll be at Siding’s Orchard in Stockport with the fantastic storyteller Susie Oldfield (Pictured below).
WATCH THIS SPACE as we firm up the details.
ALL IMAGES © Hannah Beatrice 2018