With an average rainfall of almost 40 inches annually, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is a great place for tented events.
In a region known for its fine wine, persistent rain and lush green trees, Corvallis, Ore.-based Special Occasions Parties and Events creates celebrations from table top to tent top. Nestled in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the company’s customers regularly turn to tents for their outdoor events. “Our climate in the Willamette Valley is fairly moderate but it can also be quite rainy at times,” says Kyle Tegner, owner of Special Occasions. “There are not too many days that a tent is not used for shade if it’s too hot or protection if it’s rainy and cold.”
Tegner’s mother Cindie founded the company in 1986 after buying some tables and chairs from her father, who owned an equipment rental business. Cindie and her husband Harold continued to run and grow the business for nearly 30 years. Tegner returned to the business in 2006 and managed it with his parents until 2014 when he purchased it in its entirety. “We’ve grown from that small one-employee store with one Ford three-quarter-ton van and a 2,000-square-foot storefront to a fleet of 10 vehicles,” Tegner says. “We’re now in the process of moving into our new 33,000-square-foot building.”
The rain that is a hallmark of the Pacific Northwest creates succulent green landscapes, but it also requires Tegner’s crew to anticipate rainwater when planning installations. For an area foundation event in May 2015 Special Occasions installed a series of tents for a dinner and reception, using raised flooring on a concrete slab to allow for rainwater to run under the flooring. The tents were joined in various ways, including a motorized roll-up sidewall that separated the reception and cocktail tent from the main dinner tent. “The tents were installed between several trees, benches, park lights and other obstacles requiring all of our planning and installations to be extremely precise,” Tegner says.
The good life
Corvallis’s quality-of-life-based vision statement includes the phrase “a good place for all kinds of people to live and to lead healthy, happy, productive lives.” In line with that sentiment, each year Special Occasions partners with friends who own a local brewery to host what is the brewery’s version of Oktoberfest. “The event has grown over the past several years right in line with our business and it has been great to see the shared success of this event and many others between our two companies,” Tegner says. “And then there’s the added benefit of closing a city block to drink good beer, watch football and eat German food—all under a collection of our tents.”
The future of safety
As the company enjoys growth and success, Tegner has concerns regarding some tent companies not keeping up with standards and safe installations. “The regulations continue to increase at a national level but we are not seeing those standards applied consistently across the local and regional levels,” he says. “This makes it hard for some of the more price-conscious customers to make a comparison between tent companies based solely on price. Hopefully as the next cycles of building and fire code regulations come out regulations will be applied more uniformly and weed out some of the lower quality companies.”