6 Kinds of Corporate Events and Why They’re Important for Your Team

Though it may seem counterintuitive, disrupting your everyday schedule can significantly improve productivity for you and your team. What’s more, getting into a natural environment can help boost creativity and innovation. Essentially, fresh air can help create fresh ideas.

Whether you’re looking to jumpstart a new business venture or are hoping to show your team just how much you appreciate them, you’ll want to consider hosting your next corporate event at a fun, unique location. Port Farms, a premier barn venue in northwestern Pennsylvania, is an ideal spot for your next business gathering. In this post, we lay out six common corporate events, why they’re essential for your team, and how we can help make them great.

Developing Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is the combination of shared values, attitudes, and practices that define a business. It is typically an implied facet of the organization rather than something that is explicitly stated. Over time, a company’s culture develops based on the personality traits, interactions, and relationships that form among staff.

A healthy corporate culture encourages participation, reinforces the company’s values and mission, and prioritizes the well-being of its employees. Businesses that boast a healthy culture realize a variety of organizational benefits, such as:

  • Better employee retention
  • A positive reputation
  • Stronger relationships among coworkers
  • Optimal decision-making

If maintaining a healthy organizational culture is part of your business plan, consider giving your team the chance to step away from their desks and into the fresh air for a corporate event at Port Farms.

man speaking in front of a group at a corporate dinner; outdoor setting with participants seated at tables

1. Conferences

Conferences are informational gatherings that prioritize knowledge sharing, networking, and guest lectures. Whether they last only one day or extend over the course of a week, conferences bring executive leadership, employees, and other key stakeholders into the same space to work toward a shared vision. Though a local auditorium can serve as an acceptable venue, getting out for a change of scenery can turn your corporate conference into a fun, engaging day for all involved.

2. Executive Retreats and Meetings

An efficient team of top-level executives is crucial to running a successful company. As such, it’s critical to keep those stakeholders happy, engaged, and motivated. Executive meetings and retreats can help get your company on the right path toward successful business development, organizational planning, and goal setting. To keep new and creative ideas flowing during these meetings, consider breaking out of the board room and hosting at a space that helps foster innovation and efficiency.

3. Product Launches

If you’re looking to release a new product, you might consider holding a launch event to showcase your latest invention. It’ll give you the chance to thank key stakeholders, boost your marketing and advertising campaigns, and get consumers excited. Launch events typically alert the media to the buzz surrounding your product and range in style from flashy and formal to relaxed and casual. With that in mind, you’ll want to host at an equally versatile venue.

large group of people having fun outside

4. Appreciation Events

Showing your team just how much you appreciate them is a great way to boost morale and keep your workforce motivated. Typically, these gatherings step outside of formal roles and rigid structures that can sometimes be present at other kinds of corporate events. Instead, they focus on building genuine connections, showcasing stand-out employees, and strengthening your corporate culture. A day full of farm-fresh foods, exciting activities, and thoughtfully planned team-building exercises is a great way to demonstrate just how much you care for your employees.

5. Company Milestones

Be it an anniversary event or the celebration of a well-struck deal, getting your employees and stakeholders to celebrate company milestones is a great way to showcase your success. Similar in nature to appreciation events, a milestone party is a great way to keep everyone engaged and motivated toward future achievements.

6. Team-Building

Team-building events are designed to strengthen corporate culture, create stronger bonds between employees, and improve communication and collaboration. Additionally, engaged employees help their organizations bring in nearly double the annual net income of those that are less engaged. Among other benefits, team-building activities help employees and managers:

  • Be creative
  • Feel more comfortable together
  • Recognize leaders
  • Discover talents
  • Boost energy
  • Meet others within the organization

Port Farms offers a wide range of team-building activities on location, including giant slide races, relay races, tug-o-war, and more.

several people seated at a table in front of notebooks

Choose Port Farms for Your Next Corporate Event

To show how much you value your employees, customers, and other stakeholders, consider taking a trip outside the confines of boardrooms and office buildings and into a thoughtful, well-planned day of engagement. At Port Farms, our temperature-controlled barn has audiovisual capabilities, space to host full-group or breakout sessions, and a robust package of team-building activities that can help your team feel bonded and connected.

Stay for a few hours or join us for the entire day. We offer several packages to best meet your needs, including farm-fresh meals and specially planned add-on activities. No matter your goals, we have what you need to strengthen your corporate culture, improve employee engagement, and keep you and your team geared up for success.

If you’re ready to start planning your next big success, contact Port Farms today!

14 Barn Wedding Venue Ideas Every Bride Should Know

Feature image by Kelsey Frey Photography

From breathtaking photography backdrops to fresh-picked florals, a barn wedding venue can be the perfect place for a rustic and romantic wedding. Whether couples want a laid-back, boho-chic atmosphere or a high-end, Southern-charm aesthetic, anything is possible!

If you’re interested in learning more about all the possibilities that come with a barn wedding, Port Farms, northern Pennsylvania’s premier barn wedding venue, has compiled this list of ideas to help enhance your special day.

1. Styled Invitations

Styled invitations give your guests a little glimpse of what to expect at your wedding. Neutral colors, floral details, and tasteful illustrations of the barn itself can give your friends and family a peek at your day-of aesthetics. Plus, your guests will welcome the heads-up when dressing themselves for your big day.

2. Embrace the Season

If you live in the northeastern region of the U.S., you’ll probably agree that winter isn’t a great time to have an outdoor-themed wedding. But spring, summer, and fall come to life with beautiful florals, enchanting skyscapes, and bursts of natural color. With so much beauty in the landscape, you can minimize your decor for a clean, natural look or upscale it with personalized additions and features to lean into all the seasons have to offer.

3. On-Site Rehearsal Dinner

We all know the pre-wedding schedule can be stressful, but having your rehearsal dinner at your wedding venue can save you a lot of headache. You’ll eliminate the need to make one more dinner reservation for a large party and better understand how your wedding day will flow. Don’t be shy about checking with your hosts to see if there’s space for the wedding party to stay the night at the farm. If there’s space, it’s likely there for you to use.

4. Get Ready in the Farm House

Having the entire wedding party together on the big day is essential, but keeping it all on-site offers a more relaxed, easy experience for all involved. Invite your hairstylists and makeup artists, pop open a bottle of bubbly, and let the celebration begin the moment you arrive on site.

Wedding party standing on bridge over small stream surrounded by green meadows

5. Dazzling Photography Backdrops

Whether your location has rolling hills, gorgeous meadows, or pristine farm views, barn weddings come equipped with a natural photo backdrop that makes every moment picture perfect. Your guest will enjoy exploring what the scenery has to offer, and you’ll be thankful to have so many memories that perfectly capture the joy of your wedding.

6. Create Your Own Aisle

Lean into your decor choices by creating your own aisle for you and your love to walk down. Floral edges, manicured hay bails, or barrel planters can help you maintain the rustic ambiance while highlighting your personal style.

7. Rustic Tablescapes

Go DIY with Mason jars and watering can bouquets, or let your florist get creative with a pure green tablescape. Add a few candle tapers at varying heights for the perfect balance of rustic decor and elegant touches. No matter the vibe, a beautiful table set in a wooden barn is sure to take your guests’ breath away.

8. Decorate with Greenery

Natural decor is the perfect accompaniment to a barn wedding. If you’re going for a minimalist style, we recommend soft greens to compliment the barn’s natural wood tones. If you want more color and excitement, consider working with a florist who uses locally sourced, fresh flowers to give your guests a different kind of farm-to-table experience.

Don’t forget: wreaths aren’t just for the holidays. A few floral wreaths on barn doors or walls can dress up the space in an instant.

9. Ambient Lighting

Twinkle lights, Edison bulbs, candles, and more. The soft lighting of a barn wedding keeps your celebration intimate and peaceful. Enjoy the natural glow of your day with lighting that matches your atmosphere and mood.

10. Creative Rentals

Consider renting vintage couches and chairs to create a lounge area for your guests. If the weather complies, you might consider setting up on the property for more outdoor options. Alternatively, reserve a small corner of the dance floor or standing area to drop a few welcoming couches and give your guests some time off their feet.

11. Family-Style Meals

Serve up a family-style meal, and your guests are sure to feel right at home. If you can, find a caterer who offers farm-to-table cuisine to really take the experience to the next level. Your friends and family will love the chance to get to know their tablemates, and you’ll maintain the authenticity of a barn wedding throughout the entire celebration.

12. DIY Photo Booth

A DIY photo booth is a fun, welcoming way to keep your guests entertained. You can hire a photographer to stay close by or let guests get creative with their own snapshots. Either way, you’ll end up with a scrapbook’s worth of photos to look back on.

13. Upscale Your Bar Area

It’s no secret that wedding guests love a good bar, so don’t be shy about dressing yours up for the evening. Whether it’s a rusted-out wheelbarrow full of beer (a beer barrow, if you will) or an old wooden canoe full of bottled water and soft drinks, there are many ways to get creative with your drink station. If you’re hiring a bar service for the evening, consider crafting a bar table out of old pallets, wooden ladders, or vintage tables.

14. Grow the Perfect Party Favors

If you have a favorite local flower, consider growing seed starters to give to your guests as party favors. Put them in simple clay pots, and they can double as placeholders for seating arrangements. And if you’re not a green thumb, don’t worry–instead, consider offering your guests seed packets so they can grow their own gardens as you grow your life as a happy couple.

Say “I Do” to a Barn Wedding

Barn weddings bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor weddings. You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing there can always be a roof over your head while also having the flexibility to enjoy an evening outdoors. The food, decor, and atmosphere can all be tailored to your tastes and preferences, ensuring your special day is just what you dreamed it would be.

If you’d like to learn more about hosting a barn wedding at Port Farms, check out our weddings page today. Alternatively, you can visit our website to see what Port Farms has to offer for you and your wedding guests to make your special day the best it can be.

Energize Your Instagram This New Year: Best Photo Locations in Erie, PA

As the new year approaches, you may be thinking of ways to showcase the newer, better you. Instagram can be a fun, engaging way to let the world know what’s up. Whether you’re aiming to connect more with friends and family or have professional aspirations of being an influencer or a marketing professional, Erie, PA, has dozens of picturesque locations to crank up the quality of your social content.

In this blog post, Port Farms, your go-to source for family fun and photography sessions, has created a list of the best photo locations in Erie, PA. If you want to make the most of your Instagram this upcoming year, here are the places to visit:

1. Port Farms

Well, would you look at that—we made the list! But seriously, we’re constantly getting requests from professional photographers about using the farm for their photoshoots. From engagements to baby announcements, so many people have captured their magical moments here.

But you don’t have to be a professional photographer to spruce up your Instagram. The layout of our farm and all of our activities are ideal for capturing precious moments year-round. So, hitch a ride to Port Farms and pull out that smartphone during our many seasonal activities (psst, don’t forget to put your phone away and just enjoy the day as well):



Currently, we are open for the holiday season from November 26th to December 23rd, Wednesday through Sunday, 9 AM to 5 PM.

*Note: Port Farms requires permits and copies of insurance policies for all professional photography sessions held on the farm.

2. Sara’s Restaurant

Three people at Sara's Restaurant at a hot dog photo stand-in.
Photo courtesy of Sara’s Restaurant.

A blast from the past, Sara’s Restaurant is a ’50s-style diner located near Presque Isle State Park. Whether you’re stopping by for a full American meal or just a milkshake, be sure to make use of all of the photo opportunities available. They have a variety of hilarious photo stand-ins, old cars, road signs, neon lights, and statues to pose with.

3. Presque Isle State Park

State parks make great locations for photos as they typically have an abundance of trees and flora at your disposal. In Presque Isle’s case, there is also a harbor, several lighthouses, sandy beaches, and even playgrounds. The park attracts people regularly due to its year-round recreational opportunities.

Consider showing off your in-line skating, bicycling, swimming, or hiking skills in your next Instagram post. You can also talk advantage of the parks many landmarks, such as:

  • Perry Monument
  • North Pier Lighthouse
  • Erie Land Lighthouse
  • Gull Point Trail
  • Misery Bay
  • Horseshoe Pond

4. Frontier Park

The Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park is like a museum, full of over 1,000 species of tree. In addition to the trees, Frontier Park also has a labyrinth, Willow Art, and newly-installed Griff Slides. The best part is, it’s free to the public. So go ahead and soak up nature’s light and greenery, and take photos to your heart’s content.

5. Erie Art Museum

From colorful ceramics and paintings to flashy comic book art, the Erie Art Museum has over 8,000 pieces to observe. Whether you’re celebrating your college graduation, taking senior pictures, or honoring another special occasion, the artwork at the Erie Art Museum will serve as a perfect backdrop for any photo.

But don’t just settle for indoor photographs. Outside, the Erie Art Museum’s iconic steps leading to the main entry will bring any picture to life. You can even strike a pose with the building’s pillars or colorful banners. To visit the museum, read more about upcoming gallery nights or schedule a tour today.

6. Bicentennial Tower

Sunset at the Bicentennial Tower in Erie, PA.
Photo courtesy of the Erie Western PA Port Authority.

The Bicentennial Tower is a waterfront landmark for Erie, PA. The tower, which overlooks the bay, is surrounded by several bustling restaurants and bars. Not only is this the perfect place to capture a photo of Erie’s famous sunset, but the Bicentennial Tower also showcases a vibrant abstract mural on the floor of the first observation deck. Whether you’d like to take a few selfies, host a photography session, or snap a few landscape shots, there’s plenty of photo opportunities.

Also located near the Bicentennial Tower is a number of photo-friendly restaurants and bars, such as:

Pro-tip: If you’re taking a picture to showcase your food or drink, make sure to tag the restaurant!

7. Wintergreen Gorge

One of Erie’s most notable trails, Wintergreen Gorge, sports a natural terrain that surrounds Fourmile Creek. Bask in nature by taking photos of the stunning landscape or snap a few action shots as you hike the meandering trails. Proficient hikers may be able to discover some Insta-worthy waterfalls along the route as well.

8. Schaefer’s Auto Art

If you’re in the mood for something a little more whimsical and quirky, drive to Schaefer’s Auto Art. It’s always decked out for the holidays, making it a unique experience every time you visit. Here, you can see how a Volkswagen Beetle becomes a giant spider, and miscellaneous car parts can form a two-headed dinosaur.

No matter your interests, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a car enthusiast or admirer of art, these local works will be a fun addition to your Instagram feed.

9. Waterford Covered Bridge

If you want to remove yourself from the sounds of the city, take a trip out to the peaceful town of Waterford to visit the Waterford Covered Bridge. While the bridge itself is closed to vehicles due to its deteriorating condition, it still makes for a rustic photoshoot, given its age and lattice truss. What’s more, flowers and trees surround the bridge, creating a natural frame for a photoshoot. It is well-known for its historic beauty as it is one of two covered bridges in Erie County.

10. Vineyards and Orchards in North East

If you’re looking for a charming and home-grown yet sophisticated and elegant aesthetic, a trip out to North East, PA, could be the answer. It’s home to bunches of vineyards and orchards that’ll give your Instagram that trendy pop of color that only wine country can provide.

The contouring green of the vines mixed with the splashes of violet and purple from the grapes makes for a picturesque backdrop to spring and summer-themed pictures. In the late fall and early winter, vineyards out of bloom could be good for spooky Halloween photos—the same can be said for orchards!

Planning Your Next Photo Session

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to showcase your personality on your Instagram profile. Simply find yourself a camera-ready location, and you’re basically there! And, for all you professionals out there, Port Farms can help you too: just visit our photography session page to find out more.

When it comes to searching for the best photography location, look no further than Port Farms. No matter the season, we have many family-friendly activities that will be Instagram-worthy for the New Year. Visit our site for more information on upcoming events and activities.

Are Real or Fake Trees Better for the Environment?

Whether you opt for a real Christmas tree or a fake one, it’s clear they’re the main ingredient in evoking the holiday spirit. From Rockefeller Center to the corner of your family room, Christmas trees are just about everywhere come December.

But as topics around climate change continue to appear in the news, many people are beginning to wonder: Are real or fake trees better for the environment? Port Farms, your go-to source for holiday fun, explores the impact of artificial and farm-grown trees to determine which is the more sustainable choice.

Are Artificial Trees Bad?

PickYourOwnChristmasTree.org, a comprehensive source for Christmas tree facts and figures, found that 21.1 million artificial trees were purchased in 2017. Buyers often opt for these plastic firs for several reasons:

  • Lack of care (no need for water or maintenance)
  • Affordability
  • Ease of assembly
  • Comes pre-decorated
  • Reusable
Woman putting Christmas ornaments on an artificial tree.

However, artificial trees are not as great as some consumers make them out to be. These synthetic spruces produce 40 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) via the emissions of various greenhouse gases. With 21.1 artificial trees sold, this quantity of CO2e would weigh more than five 1.25-mile-long freight trains.

This carbon footprint is two times higher than a real tree that ends up in a landfill and 10 times higher than a tree that’s burned for firewood or ground up and used for fertilizer/mulch. Meaning, you need to keep your synthetic evergreen around for at least ten years to offset its environmental impact.

That said, artificial trees typically only last six to nine years in a home. However, the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and metal that they’re made of will last centuries in a landfill. Moreover, up to 85% of artificial trees are created outside of the United States and imported—typically from China—which creates even more environmental damage. Greenhouse gas emissions from various transportation methods trap the sun’s radiation and warm the planet, contributing to global warming and climate change.

The Scoop on Real Trees

Every year, there are 25-30 million real Christmas trees sold in the United States. While families still favor real trees, the number of real trees purchased is slowly decreasing in favor of artificial trees.

On average, trees take about six to eight years to grow, and farmers constantly monitor them for their marketability as there is a short sale window. During this time, farmers remove weeds, pests, and other nuisances that may interfere with the tree growing process.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association’s (NCTA) most frequently asked questions, it is “much better environmentally to use a natural agricultural crop and recycle it after the holidays. Real Christmas Trees are a renewable, recyclable, natural product grown on farms throughout North America.”

After farmers harvest the trees, their seedlings are collected in preparation to grow new trees. The NCTA goes on to say that “these [Christmas trees] would NOT have been planted if trees hadn’t been harvested the previous year.” What’s more, as opposed to fake trees, there are a myriad of environmentally-friendly ways to dispose of your real Christmas tree. We recommend:

  • Using it as firewood
  • Creating mulch or a compost pile
  • Allowing wildlife to take over (e.g., shelter, bird sanctuaries, nutrients for fish)
  • Making air fresheners
  • Crafting wood coasters (or other furniture/decorations)
  • Removing any decorations and taking the tree to the proper waste collection
  • Starting a tree farm
Two men picking their own tree at a Christmas tree farm.

By purchasing a real tree, you are supporting the environment and helping local farmers. When a tree is cut down, another tree is planted in its place, and so the cycle continues. In contrast to artificial trees, real trees are locally-grown, provide oxygen, store carbon, and even create habitats for wildlife.

While it may be tempting to purchase an artificial tree due to its simplicity and ease, you miss out on the nostalgia factor that comes with finding the perfect Christmas tree. Many families like to reflect on how they got into their car, took a scenic drive in the winter weather, and searched for the best tree to take home. Christmas tree farms make this memorable experience possible.

On the other hand, artificial trees contribute to centuries worth of waste that has had a pivotal role in climate change and global warming.

So, Are Real or Fake Trees Better for the Environment?

If you’re looking for a way to sustainably celebrate the holidays, buying a real tree is an excellent place to start as it minimizes the potential for lead poisoning and environmental damage. The NCTA also notes that real trees:

  • Absorb carbon dioxide and other gases
  • Emit oxygen
  • Create scenic green belts
  • Provide a refuge for wildlife
  • Protect water supplies
  • Stabilize soil
  • Preserve green spaces that do not support other crops

Additionally, for every Christmas tree that farmers harvest, they plant one to three new seedlings to ensure a constant supply and reduce the loss of trees. Due to the detrimental environmental impact caused by artificial trees, it can be said that real trees are the more environmentally-friendly option.

Time to Spruce Things Up

If you’re trying to lower your carbon footprint this Christmas, start by purchasing a real Christmas from a local farm. It will undoubtedly create an unforgettable experience for your whole family! If you’re in the Ohio, Pennsylvania, or New York area, we invite you to find the perfect tree for your family at Port Farms.

6 Family-Friendly 2021 Fall Activities in Erie, Pennsylvania

Maybe it’s how the leaves change from solid green to a spectrum of reds, oranges, and yellows. Or the curiously comforting chill that rides on the air. Perhaps it’s the array of soul-warming spices that get sprinkled into freshly-made baked goods, coffees, and ciders. Whatever it is, autumn holds a special place in our hearts.

To make the most of this magical season, Port Farms, your go-to location for kids attractions, pumpkin picking, and seasonal events, jotted down a list of six family-friendly fall activities to do in Erie, Pennsylvania this season.

1. Downtown Fall Fest

Trying to get a taste of fall without leaving the city? Whether you’re visiting Erie or a resident, you’re sure to enjoy the 3rd Annual Downtown Fall Fest. This family-friendly event is taking place on October 24th from 11 AM to 6 PM.

Downtown Fall Fest is packed with activities such as:

  • Classic car Trunk or Treat Line
  • Kids’ costume contest
  • Drum circle

What’s more, the Downtown Fall Fest is free, located in Griswold Park, and hosted by The Oasis Market and Erie Downtown Partnership. On top of activities fun for friends and family, the Downtown Fall Fest also has:

  • Harvest produce
  • Vendors
  • Live entertainment
  • Local food and beverages

More details and vendors will be announced as the date approaches.

2. Kooky Spooky

Photo courtesy of the Erie Children’s Museum.

Kooky Spooky is a trick-or-treat activity operated and organized by the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum with younger children in mind. During the activity, children can collect stamps, candy, and other treats. In addition to trick-or-treating, the museum has guessing games, pumpkin picking and decorating, and a corn maze. Admission also allows you and your family to explore all of what the museum has to offer.

On Sunday, October 31st, the activity takes place from 12 PM to 2 PM and 3 PM to 5 PM, with a break in between to follow cleaning protocols. There are a limited number of tickets available, so reserve your spot soon.

3. ZooBOO

Discovering a place that’s the right amount of “spooky” for younger children is difficult, but the employees and volunteers for ZooBOO at the Erie Zoo will make your search quick and simple. On top of permitting trick or treating activities for those of all ages, ZooBOO has a Spooky Scavenger Hunt, live music from DJ Bill Page’s Spooky Jukebox, and even the famous Eerie Express train. The event also features:

  • Chick-fil-A Talking Pumpkin in the Children’s Zoo Adventure Center
  • Sonic Drive-In Make-A Monster Contest in Center Zoo
  • Chick-fil-A Photo Spot in Wild Things Theater – What are the cows trying to spell?
  • Mason Farms Corn Maze in Adventure Woods
  • Various nights of entertainment by Once Upon a Party, The Magic of Cliff Hopkins & Kelly, and more
  • Food from Lombardo’s Concessions and Fowler’s Taffy nightly at the GrubsHub

While ZooBOO takes place Wednesday through Sunday every week until October 30th, the staff recommends purchasing tickets ahead of time so that they may plan accordingly for food, candy, and more. You’ll even receive a discount for purchasing ahead of time. What’s more, if you and your children are animal lovers, know that you’ll be funding the Erie Zoo’s animal care and daily operations by purchasing a ticket.

4. Pumpkin Patch Hunt

Two children in Halloween costumes in Asbury Woods.
Photo courtesy of Asbury Woods.

Interested in outdoor, fall fun? Head to Asbury Woods for a short hike through nature to find and choose the perfect pumpkin! Once your young ones have picked their pumpkin, it’s time to decorate. After they have been decorated to their heart’s content, your children can take these pumpkins home just in time for Halloween. This activity is perfect for families who want to refrain from making a mess of their pumpkins indoors and explore their full creativity with no bounds.

Ideally, this event is for children ages 2 to 6, accompanied by an adult. Asbury Woods’ Pumpkin Patch Hunt takes place on Sunday, October 17th, and Saturday, October 23, from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM at the Nature Center.

5. Peek’n Peak Fall Fest

The Peek’n Peak Fall Fest makes fall fun for those of all ages! Between the beautiful scenery surrounding the resort and the myriad of activities available, there is much to do. Observe the craft show with more than 100 vendors, farmers’ market, live entertainment, shop around, and so much more.

The fall fest also has a zone designed specifically for kids, which has:

  • A Rock Wall
  • An Extreme Jump
  • Inflatables
  • Face Painting & Balloon Animals
  • Pony Rides
  • A Train
  • Kids Crafts

Visit the site for photographs from past festivals and more information regarding the current events schedule. The fall fest takes place on October 16th and 17th from 10 AM to 5 PM.

6. Fall Harvest Festival

Relish in the crisp autumn air and experience the Fall Harvest Festival at Port Farms. Our sprawling farm in Erie County has oodles of activities that are a blast for kids young and old—heck, even for adults! Come pick up your pumpkins, enjoy some sweet and savory snacks, and walk our new corn maze. Among our seasonal festivities, we have over 37 attractions available for adults, teens, and children, such as:

Adventure Course
Ball Zone
Barnyard Fort
Bee Bungalow
Bessie the Cow
Cattle Chute Maze
Corn Box
Corn Maze
Diggit Pit
Game Garden
Gem Mining (Closed for 2021 Season)
Giant Rocking Chair – Great Photo Opportunity
Goat Mountain
Hay Ride
Hoppy Toad Corral
Jumpkin Patch
Little Farmer Playland
No Left Turn Maze
Pasture Paintball (Extra Charge)
Pedal Carts
Slide Mountain
Tire Fort
Trike Track
Apple Cannons (Extra Charge)
Live Music on Weekends – New Attraction for 2021
Tiny Town – New Attraction for 2021
Beer Garden (Saturday-Sunday) – New Attraction for 2021
Ropes Course – New Attraction for 2021
Mural Trail – New Attraction for 2021

Visit our site today for general admission tickets and view our bargain bundles and super specials for discounts. The Fall Harvest Festival takes place from September 18th to October 31st every Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 7 PM.

Fall Fun

At Port Farms, we understand the importance of spending time with family and friends. As a family-owned and operated farm for over four generations, we’ve put emphasis on the family experience. Buy your tickets to the Fall Harvest Festival today and get ready to make exciting new memories. For more information, call us at 814-796-4500 or fill out our contact form. We can’t wait to see you and your loved ones out on the farm this fall!

7 Field Trip Ideas In Erie, PA

Planning and preparing for your school’s next field trip can be challenging, but Port Farms, your go-to location for educational field trips, is making it easier! From exploring state parks and museums to visiting farms and zoos, we’ve listed seven locations you can check out for your next field trip in Erie, PA!

1. ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum

Located in the historic cultural district of downtown Erie, Erie’s expERIEnce Children’s Museum is an excellent place for kindergarten to five grade students to explore and develop their creative sides. The museum is packed with a myriad of activities that will keep the children engaged in learning and thoroughly entertained.

The museum has four floors to explore: the Explore Floor, Imagination Floor, the outdoor Discovery Corner, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities Creativity Floor. They also have a whopping 50 activities for your students. Investigate artifacts, study cave drawings, play doctor, and even learn about air pressure and wind resistance.

Tom Ridge Environmental Center
Photo courtesy of the TREC Foundation.

2. Presque Isle State Park/Tom Ridge Environmental Center

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) holds several education programs and opportunities for those of all ages, such as (the):

  • DiscoverE Program
  • Pennsylvania Envirothon
  • Think Outside Program
  • Pennsylvania Project Learning Tree
  • Wildlife Education
  • Water Education
  • Geology Education
  • Recreational Skills
  • Land Conservation and Stewardship

Presque Isle State Park, part of the DCNR, is a 3,200-acre peninsula and National Natural Landmark. The size of the park allows for many of the state’s endangered, threatened, and rare species to thrive, which, in turn, presents a myriad of observation and learning opportunities! Specifically, Presque Isle State Park hosts hands-on activities, guided walks, and evening programs. Additionally, the park is open every day of the year from 5:00 AM to sundown.

If you’re searching for an indoor field trip near Presque Isle, visit the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, a 65,000 square-foot facility that showcases the park’s diverse ecosystems!

3. Port Farms

If you’re looking for a source of outdoor education, take a ride out to Port Farms! Established in 1897, the farm has become so much more than your go-to source of local produce. Whether you’re an educator planning your class’s next field trip or a parent or guardian homeschooling your children, Port Farms has many activities that will teach and inspire! At our outdoor learning farm, children can:

  • Learn Spookley the Square Pumpkin’s story as they take a self-guided walk through the Spookley kids corn walk maze
  • Pick their special pumpkin from the school tour kids pumpkin area
  • Take pictures with our air-inflated Spookley
  • Enjoy a great day with the class in a beautiful fall setting

We even provide a lesson plan ahead of time. If you’d like to schedule a visit to the farm, fill out the form on our website, call us at 814-796-4500 x247, or email kelly@portfarms.com!

Yahn Planetarium at Penn State Behrend college.
Photo courtesy of Penn State Behrend.

4. Yahn Planetarium

Good news: you don’t need expensive telescopes to explore space! From current events in astronomy and space science to a view of the night sky, the Yahn Planetarium at the Penn State Behrend campus provides a plethora of opportunities for those of all ages to learn more about the universe. Although closed temporarily due to COVID-19, the planetarium now offers educational virtual visits.

What’s more, schools can receive free admission during the regular school year (fall to spring)! Whether you’re a parent, guardian, educator, or youth group coordinator, you can choose from 18 different programs that address myths and misconceptions, facts, stories, and more about the universe beyond earth!

5. Erie Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Whether you opt for a guided or virtual tour, the Erie Zoo presents many educational opportunities for you and your students. From discussing the role of zoos in conservation and the intricacy of their breeding programs to observing the behaviors of the animals in the zoo, there is so much to learn! If these programs don’t work in your curriculum, there’s no need to worry: the zoo’s staff will tailor a tour to suit your educational needs upon request!

To schedule a field trip or school tour, visit their website, call Kim at (814) 864-4091 x247, or email kbowes@eriezoo.org!

ReLeaf planting session
Photo courtesy of ReLeaf.

6. Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier (LEAF)

The Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park (LEAF) is a nonprofit partner for Frontier Park that plants trees and seeks to generate environmental awareness. Although the park’s events and attractions are currently paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the park is still open to visitors! There are also rental opportunities for the outdoor amphitheater and education center. Students can learn about the various types of trees, problem-solve to explore a labyrinth, and witness the 3rd green roof in Erie County in action!

ReLeaf, LEAF’s volunteer-based tree-planting initiative, is also still active and worth checking out! Find out more about how you and your students can participate in adopting a tree and making the planet greener with LEAF!

7. Erie County Public Library

You can’t go wrong with choosing a library for a field trip! On top of being free to access, libraries provide an endless amount of knowledge to digest. From rows and columns of books to computers and DVDs, there is something for everyone. The third floor of the library, known as the Mead Children’s Library, offers storytimes, hands-on STEM workshops, art classes, and plenty of special events for learning!

Contact Outreach Services to plan a general or research tour, consult the events calendar, or call 920-459-3400, ext. 3!

Educational Fun for All

Field trips should be exciting for students of all ages, which is why Port Farms, your go-to source for making learning fun, has over 37 attractions and programs that touch upon several PA academic standards! Advanced registration is required, and the tours end in late October, so hurry and book your school tour today!

14 Things To Do In Erie, PA

From breweries and beaches to water parks and family farms, this lakeside city has more to offer than most people know. Whether you’re here to find some family fun, party with your friends, or a mix of both, Port Farms is highlighting 14 things to do in Erie, PA.

1. Presque Isle State Park

Soak up some sun, hike some trails, catch some fish, or get some good eats—Presque Isle State Park has just about everything. Established in 1921, Presque Isle is a 3,200-acre peninsula with beautiful beaches, scenic lagoons, and lush forests.

With all of these features, more than 4 million people visit Presque Isle every year (Fun fact: that’s more visitors than Yellowstone National Park!). If you’re heading to the “PI,” here are a few must-dos:

If you’re visiting in the winter, be sure to visit the Tom Ridge Environmental Center Foundation website for more ideas. They have information on hunting, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and more!

2. Tom Ridge Environmental Center

The Tom Ridge Environmental Center during the day.
Photo courtesy of the TRECF.

Speaking of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC)—If you wanted to go to the Presque Isle, but the weather didn’t hold up, pop into the TREC to still get a taste of the peninsula!

The center combines hands-on interactive exhibits, educational programming, conservation efforts, and indoor and outdoor trails to create an engaging experience for those interested in science and earth education. It also provides educational resources for teachers who wish to incorporate environmental education into their teaching curriculums.

3. Waldameer Park & Water World

If you and your family enjoy a little adrenaline rush, then you should consider visiting Waldameer Park & Water World. The amusement park has over 100 rides, slides, and attractions for kids of all ages. Waldameer is also home to the Ravine Flyer II, the 8th Best Wooden Coaster in the World!

Not feeling the rides but still want to take the kids? Waldameer offers free admission into the amusement park

After your day of wicked fast rides, wet and wild water slides, and action-packed arcade games, be sure to grab some grub from their 17 food stands. The funnel cake is a rollercoaster for your taste buds!

4. Erie Zoo & Botanical Gardens

A zookeeper at the Erie Zoo interacting with the animals.
Photo courtesy of the Erie Zoo on Facebook.

The Erie Zoo is a classic pitstop for any family. It only takes a couple of hours to walk through, and you’ll see nearly 400 animals and 11 breathtaking botanical gardens. The zoo includes some crowd favorites such as African Lions, Amur Leopards, Southern White Rhinos, and Eastern Gray Kangaroos.

Complete your trip to the Erie Zoo with relaxing rides on the Safariland Train and Wildlife Carousel. If you have time, be sure to drop into the Gift Shop for someone plush, toys, and souvenirs!

5. Erie Art Museum

Museums are an excellent place for learning more about a location’s rich history. The Erie Art Museum, one of Erie’s landmarks, is located right in the heart of downtown Erie and has been inspiring visitors since 1949. With over 7,000 square feet of gallery space, the Erie art museum showcases some of the city’s finest collections. These collections include local, regional, and traveling artists’ work.

The Erie Art Museum also exhibits stoneware pottery, paintings, and metal sculptures. If you want to be more of a creator than an observer, the museum also offers workshops to teach people how to make their own art.

6. ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum

Two children playing doctor at the Erie Children's Museum.
Photo courtesy of the Erie Children’s Museum.

Bringing your kids to Erie on vacation but don’t know where to begin? Try the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum! While the museum is geared towards children, it doesn’t mean adults won’t have fun too! The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday from 1 PM to 5 PM, and admission is just $8 per person (children two years old and under are free).

ExpERIEnce features over 25 hands-on exhibitions and various programs for children of all ages. With three floors of fun and an outdoor classroom, there are plenty of opportunities to learn more about math, science, art, culture, literacy, and wellness.

7. Presque Isle Downs & Casino

If you’re looking for a night of live entertainment and want to win big, Presque Isle Downs & Casino should be on your list! Since opening over 20 years ago, Presque Isle Downs has become a staple in Erie’s entertainment scene. Attracting people from all around Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, many have traveled to enjoy live horse races and gaming options featuring hundreds of slot machines.

Today, Presque Isle Downs & Casino is recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s best gambling destinations. The casino has more than 30 table games, including Blackjack, Roulette, and Craps; 7 poker tables; 50 sports betting kiosks; 1,500 video reel slots; live horse racing; and entertainment every night of the week.

8. Port Farms

Sunflower field at Port Farms's Flower Festival.

Port Farms is one of your go-to sources for family fun in Erie, PA. Established in 1897, we’ve become so much more than a pumpkin patch and source of local produce. From concerts and corporate events to weddings and seasonal festivities, there’s always something happening on the farm!

In addition to our seasonal event passes, we offer general admission to the public that includes access to over 37 attractions! In addition to our attractions, we regularly hold seasonal events for people of all ages, such as:

9. Erie Playhouse

What better way to end a romantic dinner date than with a show? Founded in 1916, the Erie Playhouse is one of the oldest community theatres in the United States. The Erie Playhouse has been home to various types of productions in its early years, including drama, comedy, and vaudeville shows.

However, throughout its history as a live performance venue, there have been many changes to how it operates, including community outreach initiatives and arts education. In fact, Strand Theater, a former movie house, was once at its current location.

Today, the Playhouse hosts all sorts of events, from ballet to musicals to plays! With over 12,000 square feet available, the theater can accommodate up to nearly 500 people. Make sure to check out their schedule for upcoming shows and events!

10. Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park

Children playing in the water at Splash Lagoon.
Photo courtesy of Splash Lagoon.

From pools and slides to arcade games and surf machines, there are many different attractions that Splash Lagoon has to offer. But people come to Splash Lagoon for more than just the fun and games! Splash Lagoon is an 80,000 square foot Polynesian-themed indoor water park composed of slides and games for families with young children.

If you’re interested in water park fun but want to stay indoors, plan a visit to Splash Lagoon! You can even ditch the admission lines and long wait times with Splash Lagoon’s super simple check-in process.

11. Lake Erie Speedway

Ready to put the pedal to the metal? Look no further than the Lake Erie Speedway! Built in 2002, the speedway is a racetrack located in Erie County, Pennsylvania. The track hosts both stock car and motorcycle racing events throughout the year, as well as monster truck rallies, with most of them occurring during the summer months.

In addition to hosting these types of competitions at speeds up to 150 mph, other activities take place at the speedway like camping, wine tours, and miniature golf! With so many different ways to have fun after an event—or if you get bored while waiting for one to start—there’s no reason not to take advantage of the events held at Lake Erie Speedway!

12. Erie County Historical Society

Erie's Hagen History Center / Erie County Historical Society.
Photo courtesy of Erie History.

Yet another significant museum showcasing Erie’s history, the Erie County Historical Society at the Hagen History Center, includes over 40,000 artifacts and objects that citizens of the county donated. The exhibit takes up six floors, displaying different aspects of life from decades past: farmlands to railroads; industry to education; military affairs to public works projects like roads and bridges.

The Historical Society is an independent nonprofit organization that maintains archival materials related to Erie County’s past: photographs, paintings, maps, scrapbooks, and more than 150 years’ worth of local newspapers from across Pennsylvania. If you want to learn everything you can about Erie’s history, this is the place to visit.

13. Erie Maritime Museum

Located near a plethora of bars and restaurants, the Erie Maritime Museum is a nautical museum with displays that feature the history of Great Lakes sailing freighters and steam-powered tugboats. The museum is perfect if you’re looking for something free and educational to do or need an activity to wait out the rain one afternoon.

First established in 1998, the museum also serves as a port for the recreated model of the U.S. Brig Niagara, a ship used in the War of 1812. The museum features exhibits regarding other types of watercraft, including canoes, kayaks, rowboats, motorboats, and model ships and shipbuilding techniques.

14. Breweries

Photo courtesy of the Erie Brewing Co.

Erie, PA is becoming a go-to location for craft beer lovers. With over a dozen breweries, you can make a whole day out trying this lakeside city’s finest brews. If you want an ever-growing list of breweries, check out the Lake Erie Ale Trail site.

Many breweries have implemented new ideas into their beers, making them popular among people who want to experiment with different brews, like:

  • Using non-traditional ingredients
  • Decreasing water content
  • Increasing nutritional value and alcohol by volume (ABV) content

Visiting Erie, PA

If you live near Erie, PA, or are visiting soon, be sure not to miss out on these gems in the Gem City! With plenty of beautiful parks, lakeside trails, museums, theaters, and other attractions, this city has something for everyone. If you’re ready to dive into your next Erie activity, head on out to Port Farms to kickoff vacation or your weekend!

4 Things To Do With Pumpkins

Sure, you know the round, orange gourds are great for making jack-o’-lanterns, but you may be thinking, what are some other things to do with pumpkins? As it turns out, there’s a lot!

But before we get to that, let’s talk when. Because pumpkins take 85 to 120 days to mature, May and June are considered the best time to start planting in order to have them ready by fall. You can even plant them as late as July, as the success of your pumpkin patch is largely dependent on your location and the weather.

When your pumpkins are finally ready for harvesting, it’s time to determine whether you’d like to sell them, make indoor or outdoor decorations, or even use them for cooking. If you’re not a harvester, consider visiting your local farm to purchase fresh pumpkins to achieve the same creative results.

In this blog post, Port Farms lists a variety of tips for ways you can use your pumpkins outside of creating the traditional—and still awesome—jack-o’-lanterns!

1. Roast the Seeds

When a pumpkin is ready to be harvested, the first step is to cut it open to remove the edible seeds. You can do so by using your hands, a spoon, or even an ice cream scoop. Once the seeds have been removed, separate them from the pulp, then wash and dry them (the drier, the better).

Pumpkin seeds laying out on a table and in a bowl.

The seeds should then be seasoned using herbs and spices of your choosing. We recommend a touch of olive oil to help crisp the seeds, as well as salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper to taste.

After the seeds have been seasoned to your liking, put them in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. The seeds should be tossed every five minutes to avoid burning either side. Once finished, set aside the seeds to cool, then enjoy!

The American Heart Association (AHA) has stated that eating pumpkin seeds or the seeds’ shells can:

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity (fiber)
  • Lower blood pressure and prevent migraines (magnesium)
  • Improve heart and bone health (magnesium)
  • Reduce inflammation (zinc)
  • Promote better sleep (tryptophan)

However, be mindful of the amount of seeds you consume! Pumpkin seeds are high in calories and fiber, which can lead to feelings of discomfort. The recommended serving size is about one-quarter cup.

2. Decorate Your Home

There’s no denying that pumpkins make incredible decorations, but they’re not only just for a singular holiday such as Halloween. Along with jack-o’-lanterns, there are quite a few eye-catching objects you can craft out of pumpkins, such as:

  • Bird Feeders
  • Candle Holders
  • Planters
  • Colorful Centerpieces
  • Vases
  • Pumpkin keg
Two pumpkins on a table for decoration.

Keep in mind that if your pumpkins are whole, they will last longer. If they are cut into or gutted, they will be harder to preserve and have a shorter shelf life. Steve Reiners, a horticulturist at Cornell University, has said that “if the pumpkin was healthy when picked and diseases were controlled in the field, the pumpkin can last 8 to 12 weeks.”

3. Create Food and Drink

According to Hubbub, a UK-based organization advocating for greener living, over 18,000 metric tons of pumpkins are thrown away every year, equivalent to 39,683,207 pounds or 360 million portions of pumpkin pie. While you can certainly buy canned pumpkins in a grocery store, nothing beats fresh produce, so do not throw your pumpkin away after the holiday festivities have come to a close! Instead, use a whole pumpkin, or what’s left of your pumpkin after carving, to make fresh seasonal food and drink, such as:

Stuffed Shells
Seed and Nut Brittle
Hot Chocolate

4. Compost

Composting is the process of recycling organic material and allowing it to decompose naturally. Once the pumpkin has decomposed, you can use the material to enrich your planting soil with nutrients. To compost pumpkins:

  • Remove the seeds, as well as any other objects you may have inside
  • Find a designated place for your compost pile (in the shade is best)
  • Break the pumpkin into smaller pieces and spread it around the pile
  • Lightly cover the pumpkin with other compostable materials
  • Let nature do the rest
Various pumpkins being composted.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that the benefits of composting are:

  • Reduction of methane emissions
  • Reduction of the need for chemical fertilizers
  • Higher yields of agricultural crops.
  • Reforestation, wetlands restoration, and habitat revitalization efforts
  • Remediation of soils contaminated by hazardous waste
  • Cost savings over conventional soil, water, and air pollution remediation technologies
  • Enhanced water retention in soil
  • Carbon sequestration

If you find that the quality of your pumpkin isn’t to your liking but don’t want to contribute to the growing number of food waste, consider composting your pumpkin!

Growing with Port Farms

At Port Farms, we understand the importance of making the most of the produce you grow. Whether that means composting, making crafts, or creating the next seasonal food item, there are a myriad of actions you can take to make sure that your goods don’t go to waste. For more information on growing or purchasing fresh produce, check out 5 Ways to Support Small Farms or visit our website and subscribe to our newsletter!

8 Events You Can Host at a Farm

Many small farms have created a multi-functional event component to their business. This feature of some local farms, such as Port Farms, opens up a myriad of opportunities for people looking to make their next event stand out. From weddings and baby showers to corporate events and luncheon meetings, Port Farms lists eight events you can host at a farm.

1. Anniversary Parties

If you have an anniversary coming up, make it a celebration by finding a unique farm venue. Getting creative is a great way to keep the passion burning between you and your partner.

If you’re going by anniversary traditions, the fifth anniversary typically involves something wooden. Trees are a symbol of prosperity, strength, and wisdom. There is no better way to celebrate your fifth anniversary and recognize the significance of the day than with an event inside a wooden barn.

2. Baby Showers

If you’re looking to make a baby shower extra special, consider hosting it at a barn and having an engaging farm theme. Farms have a versatile setting that often allows you to have your event indoors, outdoors or both.

A couple having a pink-themed baby shower on a farm.

Depending on the season, you’ll want to book your barn/farm venue at least two months in advance. If your plan is in the heart of the summer, consider booking it three to four months ahead of time since you’ll be competing with the height of the wedding season. That said, you should also consider whether or not the farm offers cooler spaces or air conditioning.

3. Charity Events and Fundraisers

With the popularity of barn events, many farm owners have updated their amenities to ensure that they’re able to accommodate your vision, especially if you want a rustic barn vibe and an elegant evening. Such amenities include lighting, air conditioning, and plumbing. For companies and organizations looking for a space for their next charity event, a farm should be at the top of your consideration list.

Not only will it make your event stand out, but you’ll also be helping out a local farm! While it may seem like a small gesture to work with a small business, it makes a big difference. Currently, many locally-owned American Farms are in crisis mode due to extensive commercial farming and automation.

4. Classes and Workshops

Are you looking for a unique venue to host your growing classes and workshops? A barn can hold a significant number of people while still maintaining an element of closeness that is often necessary for instruction. From gardening and homesteading to creating a healthy corporate culture and improving leadership skills, we’ve seen classes and workshops about almost everything! Our spacious land and events barn allow for a wide range of activities to take place.

Woman in white t-shirt and red and white plaid pants holding brown and white bird.

The length of workshops vary considerably. According to the University of Kansas, a short workshop is between 45-90 minutes, medium-length is 90 minutes-3 hours, and long is 3+ hours. Port Farms can accommodate a range of class times — from short to half-day sessions, all the way to to all-day sessions.

5. Corporate Events, Luncheons, and Meetings

Need to get out of the office and stretch your legs? Your local farm will provide you with the perfect opportunity to get back to nature and out of the confines of a cubicle. Here at Port Farms, we offer a number of team-building activities that will inspire creativity and get your team pumped for the upcoming work season.

Should you choose Port Farms for your next corporate event or luncheon, know that you’ll have the option to enjoy a catered, farm-fresh meal. Just give us a shout, and we’ll do the rest.

6. Weddings and Wedding Showers

Most farms have a barn on the property, but not all are created equal or fit the same purpose. We at Port Farms have designed our barn in such a way to make it a perfect place to have your wedding. From the rustic look of the wood to the venue’s picturesque views, all of a farm’s features add charm to your special day.

Bride, groom, groomsmen and bridesmaids exiting a barn

But don’t feel like just because farms are out in the country that the wedding itself has to be country-themed. You can dress up or dress down as much as your heart desires.

7. Family Reunions

There’s nothing quite like coming together for a family reunion. On top of coordinating the time and date, determining the right location can be challenging, especially if you have a large number of people to accommodate — or even a smaller number of pickier people.

Farms can often accommodate small to large groups and offer affordable packages. Farm venues are exceptional for providing a relaxing, laid-back atmosphere where everyone can simply enjoy the company of their loved ones.

8. Field Trips

What better way to get kids engaged in their education than to take them to an outdoor learning farm? According to a study conducted by Emilyn Ruble Whitesell, Ph.D. at NYU Steinhardt, students who went on and participated in a science-based field trip improved their state test scores.

Young children investigating animals while on a field trip at a farm.

Field trips often provide students with a few hours—or even a full day—of relaxation while still ensuring that they’re learning along the way. Not only can field trips increase a student’s knowledge of a particular subject or experience, but they may also create new memories and friendships to last a lifetime.

Plan Your Next Event at Port Farms!

If you’ve been searching endlessly for a destination that will accommodate all of your needs, look no further than Port Farms. From a timbered barn venue with air conditioning and electricity to spacious land available for a number of different events and activities, we have it all. For more information on what we have to offer, subscribe to our newsletter or get in touch by filling out our contact form!

Get Back to Nature With Your Next Corporate Event Venue

Identifying your company’s culture and sticking to it is vital to both the development and success of your business. In the 2018 Job Seeker Nation Study, Jobvite reports that “46% of job seekers cite company culture as very important when choosing to apply to a company,” whereas 88% believe that company culture is of relative importance. After the hiring process concludes, company culture continues to impact your business as it affects employee retention and productivity.

One of the best ways to foster positive company culture is to have corporate events that provide positive distractions, healthy competition, and opportunities for creative collaboration.

While corporate events often occur in convention centers and banquet rooms, those options often leave a lot to be desired. Instead, try boosting your team’s morale, creativity, and collaboration skills by booking a venue that gets them back in touch with nature. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has determined that “increasing nature contact at work may offer a simple population-based approach to enhance workplace health promotion efforts.”

To help make your corporate event planning a little easier, Port Farms takes a look at the concept of corporate culture, highlights the importance of team-building activities, and identifies why it’s valuable to host corporate events in an outdoor setting.

What Is Corporate Culture, and Why Is It Important?

A group of coworkers talking over lunch.

Corporate culture, synonymous with both company culture and organizational culture, is the combination of shared values, attitudes, and practices that define a business. Furthermore, corporate culture determines the way that the employer and employees interact with one another. According to Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron, faculty at the University of Michigan, there are four main divisions of corporate culture, such as:

  • Clan Culture: friendly, collaborative working environment that promotes participation, consensus, and teamwork; similar to a family
  • Adhocracy Culture: dynamic and creative working environment composed of innovators and risk-takers; individual freedom and initiative
  • Market Culture: competitive with a heavy focus on reaching goals; the organization is results-based; emphasis on “winning”
  • Hierarchy Culture: adherence to tried and known ways of doing business while keeping costs and mistakes low; conservative and cautious

Understanding corporate culture is an integral part of corporate event planning. Before you begin planning your next event, make sure you—as the employer or events planner—have an idea of what beliefs and behaviors characterize the company as a whole. From there, you can then decide what services to include.

In either case, organizing a corporate event outside of the office is a great way to demonstrate to your employees that you have their well-being in mind. Going outside is good for your health, and for anyone who regularly works inside of an office, a change of scenery and daily routines can make all the difference.

The Benefits of Team-Building

Coworkers participating in a team-building activity outdoors.

There are a number of reasons why team-building activities are crucial to a healthy and productive working environment. A study conducted by the Kenexa® Research Institute claims that “organizations with highly engaged employees achieve twice the annual net income of organizations whose employees lag behind on engagement.”

Team-building activities also encourage stronger bonds between employees. Not only do such activities engage employees that may be accustomed to working independently, but they also bring fun to the workplace!

What’s more, Harvard Business Review (HBR) has stated that “35% of the variation in a team’s performance can be accounted for simply by the number of face-to-face exchanges among team members.” HBR’s findings indicate that face-to-face interactions facilitate better communication between employees; the same can be said for eliminating the division between employer and employer. Employees may get the opportunity to get to know their bosses better in addition to getting to know their coworkers outside of an office environment.

Team-building can also lift an employee’s spirits. Hppy, an employee engagement insights platform, has listed several keys ways in which outdoor events build employee morale given that they:

  • Provide a change of scenery
  • Instill drive and determination
  • Allow time for relaxation
  • Facilitate better communication
  • Rely on activity-based events
  • Allow time for conversations between peers and bosses
  • Foster the development of original ideas
  • Provide an opportunity for casual picnics
  • Reduce pressure and eliminate the fear of rejection

Corporate Event Activities at Port Farms

A group of people participating in outdoor team activities.

Corporate events are typically held at Port Farms from the months of May to October. Our spacious heated/air-conditioned events barn allows for speakers and presentations or a relaxed environment to enjoy a successful work season. And, after providing a farm-fresh meal, we offer a great number of team-building activities for you and your coworkers to try, such as:

  • Apple Cannon Target Hits (additional purchase of tokens required for this event $)
  • Cannon Station (Available in September)
  • Cattle Chute Maze Dress Up Relay Race (Customer would provide the clothes for dress-up)
  • Complete all 9 stations of the 8 Acre Corn Maze – a timed event
  • Corn Hole Tournament
  • Corn Maze (Available in September)
  • Giant Jenga
  • Giant Slide Races
  • Hippity Hop Ball Relay Race
  • Jumping Pillow Ping Pong Ball Spoon Race (requires socks to be worn)
  • No Left Turn Maze (Customer makes this a timed event to complete)
  • Pedal Cart Relay Race
  • Tug-O-War

When choosing Port Farms as your next corporate event location, outline the goals and purpose of your event and we’ll do the rest!

Team-Building with Port Farms

Whether you’re planning a corporate work function or corporate company picnic, Port Farms has you covered! To find out more about having Port Farms host your next company event, call us today at 814-796-4500, subscribe to our newsletter, or visit our contact page.