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

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.



Company picnics have long been recognized as a great way to thank employees for their hard work, boost morale, and build camaraderie. But they also allow companies to show that they value families and appreciate the personal sacrifices employees sometimes make for their employers.

Those who attended the event seem to have nothing but positive feedback. According to one first-time guest, whose boyfriend is a recent Epic hire, “The Epicnic was awesome! Definitely one of the highlights of my summer. I had a total blast, and I can’t wait to come back next year.”

Although few company picnics rival the size and scope of Epic’s, that doesn’t make them any less valuable to the organizations and their employees. Along those lines, In Business would like to hear about your company’s summer picnic plans and the benefits you derive from hosting or attending such events. Please share your thoughts in the comment area below. 

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