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Lobster tails and train rides: How does your company picnic compare to Epic’s?

An overhead view of Epicnic, which took place on Saturday at Epic Systems' Verona campus.

An overhead view of Epicnic, which took place on Saturday at Epic Systems' Verona campus.

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Hosting a company picnic that employees actually enjoy presents plenty of challenges, but when your company has 7,400 employees and 2013 revenues of $1.66 billion, the expectations are even higher. Nonetheless, Epic Systems, the electronic health records powerhouse, rose to the challenge Saturday when it hosted its annual company picnic  — dubbed Epicnic — on its sprawling Verona campus.

Partly cloudy skies and dry weather combined with lobster tails and train rides to create a family-friendly event for thousands of attendees, who donned sunglasses and sunscreen as they explored the rural campus and took part in a long list of activities that offered something for everyone.

Rivaling a small-town festival, the event featured a main stage where local acts performed, including The Civil Engineers and Danny Glover and the Lethal Weapons.

Food tents with multiple serving lines ensured that guests didn’t have to wait long to cash in their entrée tickets for a vegetable panini, steak, lobster tail, or (for the kiddos) hot dog. Sides included watermelon and a side salad — a simple bed of lettuce tossed with cranberries, walnuts, and a bit of feta cheese. For dessert, picnickers could eat their fill of chocolate cake, cream puffs, and root beer floats. Throughout the alcohol-free event, iced coffee and water were available, as well as frozen treats distributed by friendly folks tooling around on large tricycles equipped with ice chests.

Every successful company picnic has an opportunity for team building, and Epic didn’t disappoint, with potato sack races, volleyball, and a tug-of-war competition that pitted teams of 10 against each other.

A midway of games and bounce houses kept guests entertained, as did miniature train rides and an elaborate petting zoo with horses, llamas, sheep, chicks, and a host of other barnyard favorites. Even the construction company that maintains a semi-permanent presence on the ever-growing campus appeared to get in on the act, lining up heavy equipment and building platforms that allowed kids to explore the gear up close.

Guests also enjoyed more than a dozen other all-day activities, including human spheres, a zip line, a bungee jump, a water-infused basketball game, an obstacle course, and traditional lawn games. Kids took part in smashing piñatas, making balloon animals, learning how to juggle, trying origami, and blowing bubbles.

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Jul 24, 2014 02:35 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

While I appreciate the little worker bees that planned this Epic bash, who cares? Unless you're helping recruit new Epic employees, why make a story about it? I'm just fine with my 10 coworkers and I having a happy hour here and there. I don't need lobster and llamas to appreciate my job.

Jul 25, 2014 07:46 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Fun article! After the brutal winter we had here in Wisconsin, a summer picnic is just what the doctor ordered!

Jul 25, 2014 01:59 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

This is awesome! What a wonderful way for the company to say thank you for all its hard-working employees. Sounds like a great time.

Jul 25, 2014 02:03 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Cool! I hope my company plans something just as awesome for our hard-working employees this summer!

Jul 25, 2014 04:08 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I enjoy being inspired by what this company does for its employees. Our own "little" backyard Google...

Jul 29, 2014 02:24 pm
 Posted by  John

Looks amazing! I can just imagine all those highly-paid employees standing around at their lavish picnic bemoaning the high cost of healthcare...

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