Whether and how you plan nighttime social activities for your THATCamp might depend on your camp’s geographical location and the amount of energy you have to dedicate. Consider hosting at least a low-key event, however; although a lot of THATCamp is quite social, there’s nothing like beer and food to facilitate bonding.
On the fancy end: At THATCamp Liberal Arts Colleges 2011, organizers arranged a free beer tasting at a local brewery, and rented a schoolbus to take the campers safely to and from the tasting. THATCamp Bay Area 2010 had a Saturday-night extravaganza, melding Dork Shorts with filmed entertainment from the Prelinger Archive, Scottish dancing, and accidental fireworks. These examples prove that, given space and energy, you can tap into local resources to make a fun night of it.
More commonly: THATCamps arrange happy hours at local bars, or dinners at restaurants. Make sure you call ahead to let the proprietors know that you’ll have a big party coming in. Sometimes establishments are willing to set aside a room, or offer special discounts on particular food or beverages. If you do have a conference hotel where many attendees are staying, consider holding the happy hour in the hotel bar, to maximize attendance.
Attendance: Will vary. Just an FYI: Anecdotal evidence suggests that THATCamps held in densely populated urban areas, where many attendees come from nearby, may see skimpier attendance at their happy hours (as people have family responsibilities or other commitments).
Transportation: If you can’t heroically arrange for a bus for campers’ transport to and from the location of your social activity, you can at least facilitate transportation by a) posting bus or train routes to your bar or restaurant on your THATCamp’s website or b) arranging carpools via the website or during the wrap-up session at the end of the day. Make sure to announce the social activity and transportation options at your group sessions at the beginning or end of the day.