Planning any kind of summer outdoor event in the Lake Superior Region has its share of challenges somewhat different than other areas of the country. One switch of the wind can play ridiculous games with the weather for everyone within a reasonable distance of Lake Superior. Even seasoned local meteorologists and be left scratching their heads when it comes to the unpredictability of the big lake.

For the reasons above planning requires creativity, flexibility and the ability to “roll with the punches” when Mother Nature decides to have a fit. Therefore, planning an outdoor event requires much more work in most cases but if you put everything together right you can withstand almost anything that might pop up and bad situations can be minimized.

Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. In the case of any small or medium size outdoor event (weddings, grad parties, reunions, etc) a tent is a great starting point. Shade from the sun and protection from rain. Your tent rental company can walk you through capacity information etc. I always suggest at least enough side walls for two sides of the tent to protect from some wind.  In the case of a wedding, chairs can still be set up in your favorite outside location for the ceremony if it’s a beautiful day and the eating, dancing can all be under the tent. If it rains you simply have a plan to keep everything under the tent.

For bigger events where it’s not possible to tent everything and everyone, weather insurance is an option. Talk to a reputable insurer about your options there. You can insure based on time periods (by the hour) and precipitation amounts. Of course you determine the amount of insurance you want based on your costs/liability financially for the event. Premiums are based on all the factors above. REMEMBER to do your research as Lake Superior can create a pretty miserable day of off lake winds, fog,  and mist where the weather will raise havoc with your event but the precipitation totals will never amount to that much. Weather insurance typically pays you if the thresholds of the insurance terms are met whether you postpone the event or the event goes on.

Last but not least, HAVE A CONTINGENCY plan for SEVERE weather. Should the National Weather Service issue a Severe Storm Watch /Warning you need to know where/how to protect your guests. Is there a specific shelter area if you are hosting your event in a public space? Is your basement adequate to house guests? These are details you should spend some time thinking about.

Other outdoor event/party tips: 

  • Greeters with umbrellas to walk guests up to the party location in the event of rain
  • Supply of woodchips for covering mud on dirt walkways/yards
  • Rolls of plastic/tarp for anything that might need covering
  • Portable industrial grade heaters or fans for tents

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