Here is our list of unique conference entertainment ideas.
Conference entertainment ideas are ways to engage and entertain conference attendees. For example, comedy shows, magic shows, and fortune-tellers. These activities aim to give conference attendees a fun, memorable conference experience.
You can use these options as entertainment for virtual conferences, fit them into your conference agenda or conference breakout sessions, and pair these acts with high-energy conference music and the best conferences jokes. These ideas are similar to corporate party entertainment.
This list includes:
- interactive entertainment ideas for conferences
- evening entertainment for corporate events
- corporate event entertainment ideas
Here we go!
List of conference entertainment ideas
From gigantic mural coloring to coffee artists, here is a list of engaging conference entertainment ideas.
1. Sports Simulators
One of the best interactive entertainment ideas for conferences is a sports simulator. Conference participants can practice everything from golf swings to soccer kicks.
You can either book a corporate package through a virtual sports company, buy sports simulator software compatible with projectors, or rent a simulator.
Here are some simulator game ideas:
- Car racing
Ideas to set up a simulator:
- Use a large computer screen alongside the software
- Use a big screen TV alongside the software
- Use a projector alongside the software.
To add a friendly competition component, hand out prizes for the top athletes in each sports category.
2. Themed Food Trucks
You can deviate from traditional conference food with themed food trucks. Food trucks are simple to book and bring unique cuisine to the event. You can pinpoint local food trucks in your area by Googling “local food trucks” or searching websites such as:
- Roaming hunger
Some conference food truck ideas:
- Sweet trucks like donuts, gelato, and liquid nitrogen ice cream
- BBQ trucks like Korean, beef, and pork
- Appetizer trucks like wings, eggrolls, meatballs, and corndogs
You can mix and match by booking one sweet, one main course, and one appetizer truck.
Here is a list with more conference food ideas.
3. Cooking Class
Nothing brings folks together like food. You can delight conference-goers with group cooking classes. There are many options for in-person and virtual culinary classes. To set up a class, calculate how many people are attending the conference. We recommend more complicated classes for smaller groups and simpler classes for larger groups.
Some ideas for food making classes:
- Charcuterie board class
- Online celebrity chef cooking class
- Pizza making
- Pasta making
For more online cooking options, check out online group cooking classes.
You can embrace the craft cocktail trend with a mix-ology- off. Like a cook-off, mix-ology-offs challenge participants to create a concoction within a specific timeframe. To set up this event, first, gather the necessary ingredients.
A few ingredient ideas:
- Alcohols like wine, beers, and liqueurs
- Mixers like sodas, club soda, cream, and milk
- Juices like pineapple, tomato, cranberry, and orange
- Simple syrups
Then, pick three judges who are non-conference participants. Next, pick prizes for the three top winners.
5. Mural Coloring
You can unleash attendees’ inner Van Gogh with gigantic colorable murals. You can order murals online from companies like The Monster Mural, or you can DIY.
If you opt to go with a mural company, then you can customize your mural to your event. For example, if you are a non-profit organization, you can tailor the design to reflect your mission. A conservation society, for instance, might order a mural of a jungle theme.
If you opt to DIY, then you can set the theme and instruct participants to draw around said theme. For example, if you give attendees the theme of “marketing,” then designers might sketch out logos.
Items you will need if to DIY:
- Vinyl tarps
- Permanent Sharpies in all colors
- Permanent marker pens in all colors
If your conference is multiple days, then you can continue building on your mural. For example, have participants draw out each day’s learnings.
Pickleball is a fun game with a few simple rules and is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country! If you haven’t heard of pickleball before, it’s a blend of badminton, ping-pong, and tennis. The game happens on a court very similar to a doubles badminton court. In teams of two or four, players use large paddles to hit a Wwiffle ball-like ball over the net. If one team misses hitting the ball across the net, the other team wins. The team that reaches 11 points first wins the game.
For a fresh conference activity, host a conference at a pickleball venue. You can either book the event through a pickleball team-building company or find courts close to your event. The official USA pickleball website has a search engine to help you find the perfect court.
7. Dance lessons
You can get your conference-goers moving with dance lessons. You can either find a company that works specifically with corporate events or a local dance company that can provide a teacher.
Some dance lesson ideas:
- Ballroom dancing
You can also hire a virtual dance instructor and stream the lesson on a large screen.
Here is a guide to doing team dances.
8. Balloon Popping Scavenger Hunt
You can put a twist on traditional scavenger hunts with a balloon popping scavenger hunt. To set up the game, pick colors for each clue level. For example, place the first clue inside red balloons and the second clue inside blue balloons. Then, write the clues on small pieces of paper to put inside the balloons. Next, place each color balloon in the same area. For example, participants can find all the second clue blue balloons in one location. Finally, the participant who finds the last “clue balloon” first wins.
Pro tip: Use a funnel to slip clue papers inside the balloons, then blow up the balloons.
Here is a list of DIY scavenger hunt clues.
9. Design Your Own Live Statue
You can find performers dressed as live statues in many European countries. These attractions are unique and fun to see. You can add a little of this European flair to your conference with a live statue contest.
First, pick a costume theme. For example, the renaissance era, famous painters, or iconic statues like The Statue of Liberty. Then, collect costume items based on your theme. Thrift stores may offer fun, inexpensive costume items for you. Or, you can rent costumes from a costume rental store. Finally, gather the accessories and makeup that work alongside your theme.
On the day of the contest, divide participants into teams. Each team assigns a person to be the “statue.” Then, give the performers a set time to get the costume completed, then have three judges determine the winner.
10. Fairy Light Lawn Bowling
Fairy lights bring a touch of magic to venues. You can dazzle your participants with a fairy light lawn bowling activity.
To prepare the game, purchase enough fairy lights to light up your conference venue. Then, buy lawn bowling sets based on the number of participants. Most bowling teams have four people. Next, set up the lanes. Finally, you can split the group into teams, keep score, and award prizes for the winning teams.
11. Cover Band
One fun evening entertainment for corporate events idea is hiring a cover band. I, personally, have a soft spot for 80’s cover bands. However, there is a range of cover bands to choose from depending on musical taste. For best results, select a group that most folks find familiar.
Some cover band ideas:
- The Beatles
- Queen cover band
- Elvis impersonator
- Bon Jovi
To give your conference-goers an authentic themed experience, encourage them to dress up like the theme. For example, if it is an 80’s cover band, encourage conference participants to dress up in spandex and glam rock hair wigs.
12. Classic Movie and Black Tie Evening
A classic movie and black-tie evening is a great way to add elegance to your conference. First, send out formal invitations ahead of the conference and instruct attendees to bring black-tie attire. Second, pick out the evening’s classic movie.
Some movie classics that are bound to be a hit include:
- Singin’ in the Rain
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s
- The Wizard of Oz
- Roman Holiday
Third, pick out a menu that aligns with your theme. For example, organize an Italian meal with Roman Holiday or Moroccan food with Casablanca.
Finally, create a themed swag bag. For example, you can purchase Singin’ in the Rain bags filled with company-logo-embroidered-umbrellas and candy.
13. 1940s Swing Band Evening
You can treat your conference guests to an evening they won’t forget with a 1940s swing band evening.
You can hire a swing band to play or load your playlist with 1940s big band music.
Some big band music ideas:
- Glenn Miller
- Benny Goodman
- Tommy Dorsey
- Duke Ellington
To add ambiance to your venue, decorate with 1940s war posters and mix up signature cocktails.
Some popular 1940s cocktails:
- Mai Tai
For added flair, hire dance instructors to show conference guests Big Band moves on the dance floor.
14. Wings and Things Evening
Wings are not just for game day, and you do not have to be a pilot to experience the thrill of breaking the sound barrier. You can wow your conference attendees with a Wings and Things evening, complete with various Buffalo wings and flight simulators.
Unique Buffalo wing ideas:
- Honey Sriracha
- Indian Spiced
- Sticky Asian
- Jerk chicken
For a fun flight simulator activity, set up laptop stations where attendees can operate simulated flights in helicopters, military jets, and commercial aircraft or rent an arcade-style flight attraction.
PRO-TIP: Offer Keto-friendly wings for folks on the Keto Diet and meatless wings for vegetarians.
15. Venetian Carnival
A Venetian Carnival theme adds an air of mystery to any event. You can create your own Venetian Carnival intrigue with masks, Italian food, and entertainment. First, buy masks for conference-goers. You can purchase masks in bulk, in different colors and designs. Or, you can get plain masks and set up a decoration station. For example, attendees can design masks according to the company’s colors.
Then, pick out a menu. You can do a modified version of lasagne di Carnevale with regular lasagna. Of course, no Italian meal would be complete without bread and cannolis!
Next, hire Venetian-themed performers like fire eaters, acrobats, and jugglers. Finally, use websites like GigSalad to help locate performers near you.
16. Electric Violinist
You can spice up your conference with an electric violinist. These instrumentalists are classy yet exciting. To find a performer, search local directories or gig websites for performers, or reach out to nearby music groups. You could even elevate the experience by asking attendees to RSVP with song requests so that the performer picks a set list sure to please the crowd.
You can add electricity to the event by passing out glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces right before the violinists play. For intrigue, shut off the lights and let the magic unfold!
17. Coffee art
One of the more unique corporate event entertainment ideas is to bring in a coffee artist. Coffee artists are baristas who make intricate designs on top of lattes or cappuccinos.
To set up this touch, you can either book a coffee artist through a formal entertainment company or recruit a talented barista from a local coffee shop. To take the idea to the next level, you can turn the event into a workshop and teach attendees how to make their own espresso art or hire a company that can print pictures onto the foam.
18. Lip Sync-Off
No need to have an amazing voice for this idea! A lip sync-off will bring giggles as attendees compete for the best lip-syncer award. Participants mouth the words to songs during these performances while acting out energetic dance routines.
First, divide attendees into teams. Then, give each group a list of song selections. Performers have a half hour to learn the lyrics and get the routine down. Next, each team performs their song. Finally, a judge will determine the winner.
Here is a list of high-energy songs that work well for this activity.
19. Hot Air Balloon Experience
Hot air ballooning is a fantastic escape from the mundane. You can give your conference-goers an unforgettable experience with a tethered balloon afternoon. In tethered ballooning, the pilot ties the balloon to the ground. Passengers inside the balloon experience floating at a low altitude with the balloon still secured to the ground.
To set up a hot air balloon experience, locate a hot air balloon company that does corporate events. Most hot air balloon companies are locally specific.” For example, Liberty Balloon Company Tethered Rides – Liberty Balloon Company and Rainbow Ryders.
Then, choose conference food that pairs well with hot air ballooning. I recommend a simple picnic menu.
Here are a few menu ideas:
- Picnic items like fresh fruit, bread, meats, and cheese
- Gourmet sandwiches
- Alcoholic beverages like wine and champagne
- Hors d’oeuvres like miniature quiches, crostini with tapenade, and peach and prosciutto canapes
- Desserts like tartlets, croissants, and chocolate truffles
Next, design hot air balloon swag bags.
Finally, add ambiance with picnic blankets, baskets, and lanterns.
Conference entertainment ideas often determine the success of your gathering. If your entertainment is bland, then attendees are less likely to retain information or to engage with fellow participants. However, if your attendees have fun, then the event’s energy will fuel knowledge and interaction.
Another important factor when choosing entertainment is matching the appropriate form of amusement to your audience. This attention to detail will prevent your convention-goers from feeling awkward, excluded, or out of place. For example, if most of your conference goers abstain from alcohol, then a Mix-ology-off is a poor entertainment idea.
Along the same lines, it is important to align entertainment with your company’s brand and vision. For example, if the purpose of your conference is to promote a specific product then create a mural highlighting the product.
FAQ: Conference entertainment
Here are answers to questions about conference entertainment.
What are some good entertainment ideas for conferences?
Some good entertainment ideas for conferences include sports simulators, fairy light lawn bowling, and lip-sync offs.
How do you plan entertainment for large corporate events?
The key to planning entertainment for large corporate events is organization. Three months before your event:
- Set a budget
- Chose a theme
- Pick a venue
- Find a caterer
- Chose entertainment
- Form committees tasked with different jobs like decorations, promotion, and entertainment
- Secure equipment
A month prior to the event, confirm venues, caterers, and entertainment.
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