Wednesday, July 1, 2009

5 Tips for Outdoor Events

Summer is always filled with outdoor fun, whether it be music festivals, chili cookoffs, Shakespeare in the park, or the kids' soccer tournament, if you're outside all day, you need to prepare.

This month we'll be at the Mile High Music Fest, Red Rocks Amphitheater, and Saratoga Performing Arts Center in addition to some of our local outdoor fun. Here are some of our priorities for outdoor events.

1. Ice water. For events that allow you to bring in water, icing it down overnight in the freezer is key. It melts all day and provides a great cooling drink for a hot day outside. Most of you who live in the south do this anyway for yourself, but make sure to hop online and check the rules at your chosen festival, all of them are different. Most allow you to bring in unopened bottles, and you can insist they crack the seal to prove it if the labels are falling off from moisture.

2. Bug spray. I'm not a big fan of DEET. It's poisonous, in an aerosol can, and it smells awful. Three strikes for me, especially if you have kids or sensitivities. Downright TERRIBLE for kids with autism or epilepsy! But I get MAULED by bugs. It took me forever to find something natural that works on me, and I've tried and tested these products from Colorado's mosquitoes to Costa Rica's sand flees. It works!

Aroma Pharmica formulates several body wash and lotion blends, but the one titled "Breathe" with eucalyptus, lemongrass and cedarwood does the trick. I wash and lotion with this, and then use her "Shoo Bug" spray as a last defense.

3. Umbrella. Sometimes the simplest defenses are the best. This one plays double duty for me at an outdoor venue to block the sun and precipitation if there is any. I like a medium sized umbrella that's pretty light but with a long arm so it can strap into backpacks or onto lawn chairs.

4. Yep, lawn chairs. Essential. Although sometimes blanket will be enough, and easier to carry for sure, so depending on coolers and what else you're toting in, definitely consider a chair for yourself. One with a beer holder is even better!

5. Spray bottle with lemon or peppermint. As if the ice water wasn't enough, last year we got so scortched the first day of the Mile High Music Fest that we brought a spray bottle (empty, but if you can fill it with ice, do - we couldn't) with a couple drops of peppermint essential oil in it and sprayed everyone down every chance we got. Essential oils have great lasting power, so even though we filled it up 4-5 times throughout the day, the refreshing aroma lasted.

Last, make sure you have everything you need if you can't re-enter the park; pack full of snacks, phone, camera, 45 sunblock, visor or hat, comfortable waterproof shoes, chair or blanket, umbrella, water, inhaler, and even an energy boost like Emergen-C, energy bar, or just a banana. And if you're planning on drinking alcohol, drink twice that in water to stay hydrated.

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