Special Events

2001 Gala Nominees

BEST FAIR/FESTIVAL

City of Garland, Garland, Texas

For the 12th year running, the City of Garland's “Star Spangled Fourth” brought food, entertainment and community activities to the streets of downtown Garland. Over the course of three days, attendees participated in this year's Mardi Gras-themed event. Festival performances ranged from aerial high-diving to The Charlie Daniels Band at venues sponsored by Texans Credit Union, American Airlines and Dr Pepper, among others. A staff of seven full-time employees and almost 600 volunteers organized the festival, which drew a crowd of approximately 100,000.

B.A.S.S., Montgomery, Ala.

More than 100,000 people attended “Bass Fest on the Bayou” in New Orleans. The three-day sports festival rounded out its annual fishing competitions with activities and performances at venues ranging from the Morial Convention Center to the Louisiana Delta. Highlights included a pyrotechnic extravaganza in the city's Superdome, a winner's coronation telecast by ESPN, a performance by Grammy Award-winning Cyril Neville, and an exhibition of outdoor products and boats.

Jay Howard Events, Concord, N.C.

The “600 Festival” takes place throughout May, preceding NASCAR racing activities at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. The festival is designed to introduce auto racing fans to the Charlotte area and to promote the sport of racing to all attendees. An “Air and Speed Show” at the 2001 celebration gave more than 35,000 observers a rare glimpse of military aircraft, while a “UAW-GM Teamwork Parade” brought marching bands, celebrity floats and fireworks to more than 65,000 viewers.

BEST BALLOON CREATION

Goody Balloon Co., Hiroshima City, Hiroshima, Japan/NHK Chugoku Software & Planning, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima, Japan

NHK hired Goody Balloon Co. to create a symbolic image for a triathlon on Sagi Island in Hiroshima. The balloon company's work focused on the sea surrounding the island and the muscular form of the triathletes. Using heavy-duty materials that would withstand the severe summer heat, Goody crafted a finish-line “goal” of blue, white and silver balloons and a grinning triathlete flexing a massive bicep.

Goody Balloon Co., Hiroshima City, Hiroshima, Japan

For a “Countdown to the 21st Century” hosted by Japan's PROVA Corp., Goody Balloon Co. created a globe of the planet Earth. A palette of green, yellow, orange and blue designated temperate areas, deserts and oceans. Written on the 4,000 balloons used in this project were hopeful messages for the new century solicited from people in Japan and overseas via fax and e-mail.

The Balloon House Design Studio, Flower Mound, Texas

A 20-foot Boeing 757 made of 3 1/2-inch hologram balloons over a foam-covered steel sub-frame was one of several creations prepared by The Balloon House Design Studio for an American Airlines awards gala. The Balloon House team also made a reproduction of a 1938 Ford Tri-Motor airplane flying out of the clouds — a display designed to honor American Airlines' 75-year history.

BEST INVITATION

Aspen Productions, Atlanta

Client S1 Corp. needed an invitation that would entice trade show attendees to come to a corporate reception rather than explore the city of San Francisco, just outside their hotel room door. Aspen Productions responded with a colorful folded card depicting San Francisco street scenes with the logos of S1 and co-sponsor IBM. Tucked inside a translucent vellum envelope, the Velcro-sealed invitation contained a map and “cabbie card” with cross-street information, and was sized to fit comfortably in a breast pocket.

BK Design, Boston

For his “Magical Weekend” birthday celebration, a European entrepreneur invited 600 international guests to Boston for three days of events, including performances by David Copperfield, Stevie Wonder and Elton John. A “magic box” invitation decorated in a night-sky scene contained a wand and instructions to turn the box over and tap it before opening. When recipients opened the box, they found a series of cards containing information about the weekend's entertainment and activities.

Century Guild Press, Monrovia, Calif.

An invitation for a wedding at La Quinta Resort near Palm Springs, Calif., took into consideration the couple's love of travel and the wedding's location. A dark brown leather-bound travel journal opened to reveal sand-colored pages of entries for the South of France, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles — places where the bride and groom had many friends and family members. The entries formed a background for the wedding information, and were complemented by drawings, pressed flowers and other accents.

BEST DINING TABLE DESIGN

Legendary Events, Atlanta

A fund-raiser for Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS gave event designers a 10-by-10-foot space and instructions to incorporate the color red into a tabletop design for 10 guests. Legendary Events paid tribute to sponsor Champagne Mumm Cordon Rouge with a “La Dolce Vita” creation. On top of gold and silver table linens, candelabras and square silver dishes alternated as chargers. A centerpiece was lit from underneath and featured clusters of grapes, lemons, limes, pears, roses, miniature calla lilies and golden yarrow.

La Fleur/Princeton Flower Shop, Lawrenceville, N.J.

A fish motif with an abstract slant characterized tables designed by La Fleur for client SportsMark Event Management & Strategic Marketing. The focal point of each table was an underwater scene that used plate glass, wood, sea plants and other materials to mimic ocean life in motion. The event's tables featured three designs — an aquarium, a fish swimming through water, and an open-mouthed shark.

Theme Events, Dublin, Ireland

For an Irish-themed dinner gala contracted by client Doughty Hanson and Co., Theme Events covered tables with chamois linen, then topped them with items reflecting Celtic traditions. Scroll-pattern glassware in gold leaf and “Fairy Forest” centerpieces carried through the event's color scheme and mythological elements. Clusters of twigs scented with lemon marked each place setting, bringing to mind Ireland's natural landscape.

BEST FOOD PRESENTATION

Harith Productions, Oreland, Pa./Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

A “Night of the Gods” incentive event for e-commerce company Metiom incorporated mythological elements from many cultures into a four-course dinner. A brightly colored arrangement of coquilles St. Jacques was listed on the menu as “Atlas' Horizon,” while Maine lobster garnished with a Parmesan crisp bearing a trident stamp was called “Poseidon's Trident Forge.” A “Mayan Temple Rising” dessert featured a pyramid of chocolate with espresso mousse.

MGM Mirage Events, Las Vegas/Bellagio Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

Bellagio chef Jean-Philippe Maury designed an eight-tier cake for an upscale wedding, then partnered with MGM Mirage Events to work the cake in to the event's fairy-tale theme. Iced with 60 pounds of pink fondant, the cake was embellished with gold-leaf pastillage and edible ornaments. Twelve hours of labor went into laying out the orchids, calla lilies, phalaenopsis and 2,000 imported tulips that formed a tabletop overlay and scalloped base for the cake.

The Peake of Catering, Vancouver, British Columbia

For Science World British Columbia's opening of an exhibition celebrating the history of Chinese inventions, The Peake of Catering created buffet stations reminiscent of “Chinatown” food vendors. The “Wokking” station prepared customized stir-fry combinations and served them in Chinese take-out boxes. At the “Barbecue House,” chefs carved whole suckling pig underneath a display of hanging barbecued ducks. For dessert, guests found bite-size egg-custard tartlets, sesame balls and fortune cookies set out at the feet of a dragon ice sculpture at “The Imperial Touch” station.

BEST CORPORATE/COMPANY PICNIC

Culinary Capers Catering, Vancouver, British Columbia

A picnic for employees of semiconductor-maker PMC Sierra was designed with a country fair atmosphere. White tents, blue flags, blue-and-white patio umbrellas and multi-hued gingham linens set the scene on two adjoining soccer fields. Family activities included volleyball, arcade games, a dunk tank and a giant slide. Inside an 80-by-80-foot food tent, guests could order typical fair items such as burgers and hot dogs as well as grilled salmon — a nod to the company's West Coast origins.

D'Rose Accents, San Juan, Puerto Rico

An open house event celebrating pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline's facility in Cidra, Puerto Rico, carried the title “Celebrandonos” (Let's Celebrate). Designed with a “town fair” theme, the event featured face-painting, cooking classes and a performance by Puerto Rican musical group Grupomania, as well as guided tours of the company's manufacturing plant. Smaller tents adjoining the main tent gave parents an opportunity take care of their young children while watching the performances, and diaper-changing tables were donated to an orphanage after the event.

Enchanted Parties, Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

For electronic systems manufacturer Northrop Grumman's annual picnic, Enchanted Parties created an event with a “big-top circus” theme. An 18-foot-high clown figure made of almost 500 balloons met guests at the entrance to the picnic grounds, which were organized to keep attendees moving from activity to activity. A circus performance starring Dondi the elephant was the highlight of a day that also included carnival games, field races and carousel rides.

BEST OFF-PREMISE CATERED EVENT

Good Gracious! Events, Los Angeles

A 6,000-guest gala for Sony Computer Entertainment in conjunction with the annual E3 technology convention brought international cuisine and high-tech entertainment to Los Angeles Center Studios. Finger foods included panini, gourmet pizzas and empanadas — 2,000 to 5,000 of each item, plus 11,000 pieces of sushi. Among other stations, the “Igloo” area contained a martini bar with Lucite risers, tall glass vases and tables covered in white stretch linen. “The Bento Box” area was inspired by traditional Japanese boxed lunches, and featured raised platforms, a D.J. booth and Asian foods such as spring rolls and tea-smoked beef.

Patti Coons & Associates, Orlando,Fla./A La Carte Catering, Tampa, Fla.

For a wedding with an “enchanted forest” theme, the caterer and designer collaborated to merge food, environment and entertainment. Costumed figures representing fairies, nymphs, gods and lovers attended a variety of food stations, with a “love goddess” serving caviar and black-truffle foie gras, and “Latin lovers” overseeing morel empanadas and grilled potatoes. Candles, giant butterflies and forest trees were part of the room's decor, and even traditionally dressed hors d'oeuvre servers wore small accents of flowers and tinsel.

The Peake of Catering, Vancouver, British Columbia

For Science World British Columbia's opening of an exhibition celebrating the history of Chinese inventions, The Peake of Catering created buffet stations reminiscent of “Chinatown” food vendors. The “Wokking” station prepared customized stir-fry combinations and served them in Chinese take-out boxes. At the “Barbecue House,” chefs carved whole suckling pig underneath a display of hanging barbecued ducks. For dessert, guests found bite-size egg-custard tartlets, sesame balls and fortune cookies set out at the feet of a dragon ice sculpture at “The Imperial Touch” station.

BEST CATERED EVENT PRODUCED BY A HOTEL CATERING DEPARTMENT

Chicago Downtown Marriott, Chicago/The Meetinghouse Companies, Elmhurst, Ill.

Designed to look like a Central American mining camp, a Host Marriott Corp. client-appreciation party used a motion simulator, special effects and exotic foods to draw guests into a “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Low-lying fog surrounded replicas of Mayan ruins, and dinosaur sculptures hovered over buffets serving sea bass ceviche, pork tamales, albondigas and whole roasted pig. A “chocolate volcano” dessert display allowed guests to dip confections into lava-like melted chocolate.

Harith Productions, Oreland, Pa./Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

A “Night of the Gods” incentive event for e-commerce company Metiom incorporated mythological elements from many cultures into a four-course dinner. A brightly colored arrangement of coquilles St. Jacques was listed on the menu as “Atlas' Horizon,” while Maine lobster garnished with a Parmesan crisp bearing a trident stamp was called “Poseidon's Trident Forge.” A “Mayan Temple Rising” dessert featured a pyramid of chocolate with espresso mousse.

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia

For an awards dinner hosted by newly merged banks Toronto Dominion and Canada Trust, The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver created a celebration honoring “Success Over Time.” Tables were dressed in white, silver and blue linens and set with silver chargers featuring Roman clock faces. Menu items included roasted butternut squash soup, roasted rack of lamb and a variety of desserts served on ice plates etched with the merged companies' new logo. For entertainment, regional vice presidents took the stage for performances representing the five decades of the companies' history.

Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, Las Vegas

A couple celebrating their 10th anniversary wanted an event that would represent their life in Boston, their engagement in Venice, Italy, and their wedding in Israel. Guests first received an invitation with the image of Cupid and Psyche over the grand canal of Venice. For dinner, they enjoyed caviar, smoked salmon and Black Angus beef while Israeli dancers performed a traditional Jewish wedding dance. The event closed with a surprise renewal of vows accompanied by video footage of the couple's wedding.

BEST FUND-RAISING EVENT

Classic World Events, San Jose, Calif.

With “Along the Mission Trail” as its theme, The American Cancer Society hired Classic World Events to produce The Cattle Baron's Ball. More than 200 feet of mission arches and 12 different mission towers were brought to the venue — a 200-foot-high aircraft hangar at Moffett Field military base. Fountains, terra cotta pots, wagons and barrels were used to create food stations and fill the interior of the hangar. Almost 1,000 feet of patterned cloth overhead mimicked the twinkling night sky. The event raised more than $1.5 million from its 1,450 guests.

MGM Mirage Events, Las Vegas

MGM Mirage Events brought neon bars, swags of cheetah-print fabric, mannequins in butterfly costumes and 75 lighting fixtures into a section of the Venetian hotel's St. Mark's Square for the annual Alzheimer's Foundation of Las Vegas fund-raiser. Silent auction items were displayed beneath Bedouin-style tents as go-go dancers performed in copper dance cages. Inside the Venetian's Postrio restaurant, guests were served a dinner prepared by celebrity chefs including Wolfgang Puck. Between silent and live auction purchases, the event's 200 guests contributed more than $1 million to Alzheimer's research and care.

Legendary Events, Atlanta

Legendary Events produced the Dining by Design event for Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA), which has contributed more than $27 million to AIDS causes. The event invited 50 designers each to create a unique table seating 10 guests. The fund-raiser raffled celebrity-donated vacation packages, autographed T-shirts and artwork, and treated 500 guests to a meal of crab cakes, beef tenderloin and chocolate mousse.

BEST EVENT FOR A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION

Classic World Events, San Jose, Calif.

With “Along the Mission Trail” as the theme, The American Cancer Society hired Classic World Events to produce The Cattle Baron's Ball. More than 200 feet of mission arches and 12 different mission towers were brought to the venue — a 200-foot-high aircraft hangar at Moffett Field military base. Fountains, terra cotta pots, wagons and barrels were used to decorate food stations and fill the interior of the hangar. Almost 1,000 feet of patterned cloth mimicked the twinkling night sky overhead. The event ultimately raised more than $1.5 million from its 1,450 guests.

California Science Center, Los Angeles

The 2001 Discovery Ball had “mystery, illusion and magic” as its theme in celebration of a new exhibit titled “Magic: The Science of Illusion.” On display at the annual fund-raising gala were velvet draperies tied with giant gold tassels, 10-foot-tall posters of famous magicians and large prop chandeliers hanging in the dining area. Four lumen projectors cast images of flames and rolling clouds from floor to ceiling. A 40-foot bar offered cocktails such as “Love Potion #9,” which was served in test tubes by bartenders in lab coats.

Harith Productions, Oreland, Pa./Welcome America, Philadelphia

Part of the Sunoco Welcome America festival honoring Independence Day, the “Two Cities Two States Concert & Fireworks Show” celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. A 190-foot ship carried the Philadelphia Boys Choir to a spot on the Delaware River where the music could be enjoyed by audiences in both New Jersey and Philadelphia. Pyro, laser and water displays set to American music rounded out the show.

BEST WEDDING, BUDGET UNDER $50,000

Magic Moments, Norcross, Ga.

Maypoles topped with “love knots” of roses lined the herringbone-brick aisle outside of Flint Hill, an antebellum home that was the venue for a romantic June wedding. At the indoor reception, guests sat at tables topped with martini glasses holding arrangements of posies and votive candles. For dessert, fondant cakes designed to look like wrapped gifts and hatboxes were presented, then replaced with white gift boxes containing imported chocolates. Selected guests later received the uncut cakes in ribbon-tied boxes as take-home gifts.

Nancy Chase Weddings and Celebrations, Denver

A Chilean groom and an American bride said their vows in a 100-year-old church, then joined family and friends in a red rock cave for a reception that blended elements of both their cultures. A cocktail reception just outside the draped mouth of the cave featured empanadas and traditional Chilean “Pisco Sours.” After the cave was unveiled, guests dined and danced under wrought-iron candle chandeliers hung from the cave ceiling.

Pura Vida Productions, Annapolis, Md.

On a mountain peak accessible only by four-wheel-drive vehicles, a part-Apache groom and his bride wed in a shaman-officiated ceremony to the music of a Navajo-Apache flautist. Traditional Native American wedding elements included a blanket ceremony and the circulation of a book in which female guests wrote advice for a long and happy marriage. After the ceremony, guests were shuttled down the mountain to a restaurant for prime rib, grilled salmon and champagne.

BEST WEDDING, BUDGET $50,000 AND ABOVE

Creative Parties, Bethseda, Md.

A canopy of pink blooms arched over the bride and groom at a Washington wedding held in May — the height of cherry blossom season. Hundreds of yards of silk were used to drape the ceiling, and the tables were dressed with beaded cloths, custom-dyed napkins, personalized menus and candles. Highlights of the reception included an oxygen bar, a cigar-roller and a “good-bye” white candy buffet featuring white M&Ms, white candied almonds, white jellybeans and rock candy on sticks.

Yifat Oren & Associates, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

At a Southern California beach wedding, a chuppah of found driftwood bound with mosses and adorned with hanging amaranthus stood over the couple as they said their vows. Guests celebrated in an open-air reception tent decorated with mosquito netting, monk cloth and burlap, and dined on free-range chicken and fragrant couscous at tables topped with mossy branches, horsetails and glass bowls filled with succulents. Around the room, ottomans and throw pillows offered places to relax between dances.

MGM Mirage Events, Las Vegas

A Las Vegas wedding with a budget of more than $1 million featured a full weekend of lavish parties including a “Moroccan Casbah” rehearsal dinner followed by an “After-Glow Club” party. The wedding itself carried a “French Fairytale” theme, brought to life with trickling ponds, an imported verdigris dome and a 100-foot aisle lined with 14 floral-draped French lampposts. At the reception, eight cooking stations served a strictly kosher meal that started with beluga caviar and ended with French pastries and an eight-tier wedding cake.

BEST MULTIPLE DAY INCENTIVE EVENT

Cacique International, Nassau, Bahamas/Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

For an event hosted by global services company EDS, the DMC and designer collaborated to create four days of events with a Caribbean feel. Blue spandex chair covers, painted images of sea life, and the sounds of dolphins and whales enhanced the general session's “Discover the Treasures of Atlantis” theme. A “Junkanoo Explosion” party inspired by the traditional Bahamian celebration treated guests to drumbeats, confetti bursts and a 30-performer parade.

Harith Productions, Oreland, Pa./Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

At an incentive event for 28 executives from technology startup Metiom, elements of ancient Greek and Mayan cultures were woven into three days of celebration at the Bahamas' Atlantis resort. The event's highlight was a “Night of the Gods” dinner, which established its theme with an invitation from the god Zeus himself. Guests dined at tables set with iron wine goblets and snakeskin patterned napkins while they were entertained by dancers and fire-eaters.

Patti Coons & Associates, Orlando, Fla./Wayne Lachman Productions, New York

Attendees were encouraged to bring their children to Mass Mutual Financial Group's four-day incentive trip to the Kona Coast of Hawaii. For each event, a children's playground/entertainment/buffet area was set apart from adult areas. Adults enjoyed a celebrity rock concert and a romantic poolside party while kids had fun with hula classes, arts and crafts, and karaoke.

BEST FLORAL DESIGN

Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

For a gala to interest potential investors in luxury beachfront resort Acqualina, Sean DeFreitas created floral designs around an Italian Renaissance theme. On the reception patio, silver urns, trumpet-shaped vessels and silver candelabras held roses, French tulips, lilies, hydrangea and curly willow. Each of 40 tables inside the event tent featured centerpieces containing tight clusters of roses, lilies, tulips and hydrangea with accents of heather, lilac, grapes, tangerines and pears.

MGM Mirage Events, Las Vegas

For a 450-guest wedding at Bellagio in Las Vegas, a researcher combed flower markets in Holland and Los Angeles to find exotic blooms. Thousands of calla lilies, orchids and lilacs were imported from the Netherlands and kept in three 45-foot refrigerated trucks and a 2,500-square-foot work space during the week leading to the event. Floral was used to create a wedding canopy, decorate French lampposts lining the aisle and create a “Monet” pond inside the ballroom.

Legendary Events, Atlanta

A fund-raiser for Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS gave event designers a 10-by-10-foot space and instructions to incorporate the color red into a tabletop design for 10 guests. Legendary Events paid tribute to sponsor Champagne Mumm Cordon Rouge with a “La Dolce Vita” creation. A centerpiece was lit from underneath and featured clusters of grapes, lemons, limes, pears, roses, miniature calla lilies and golden yarrow. On top of gold and silver table linens, candelabras and square silver dishes alternated as chargers

BEST TENT INSTALLATION

DeBoer Structures, Kennesaw, Ga.

For a series of events related to the 2001 presidential inauguration, DeBoer Structures set up 26-by-20-foot chalets on the terraces of the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington. The company had five days to install chalets, flooring, carpets, ceiling lining, lighting and heating units. DeBoer also erected a 27-by-27-foot chalet on top of the Department of Labor building, providing a studio for news network CNN to broadcast the inauguration.

Prime Structures, Phoenix

The Westin La Paloma Hotel in Tucson, Ariz., hired Prime Structures to provide an overflow area for 500 guests at toy manufacturer Mattel Inc.'s annual Buyers Preview Show. With a concrete parking lot as the only space suitable for a large tent, the company set out to take advantage of great views of the desert landscape. Its crew installed a 100-by-116-foot clear-span structure with sets of double French doors, tinted solid glass walls and a back-lit interior liner.

The Stuart Rental Co., Milpitas, Calif.

Two separate corporate events got the most bang for their buck when The Stuart Rental Co. came up with a plan to erect one 100-by-200-foot tent that could be used for both events. Scheduled nine days apart at an airplane hangar site, the first event used the tent for a reception area, while the second employed it as an overflow area. The unexpected joint venture allowed each client to capitalize on extra space neither could have afforded independently.

BEST USE OF LIGHTING

Big Wave International, Roxbury, Conn.

As the producer of a headmaster's retirement party at a Connecticut private school, Big Wave International created a day-to-night environment inside a dinner tent using intelligent lighting and rotating gobos. For an outdoor presentation, the company used computerized lights to wash 15 campus buildings in primary colors. The evening's highlight was a 5-minute intelligent light show over a pond, which featured illuminated spouts rising from the water accompanied by the harmonies of the entire student body.

Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla./Hy-Lite Productions, West Palm Beach, Fla.

For the four-day “2001 Sales Inner Circle” hosted by EDS, the event team sent three 40-foot containers filled with lighting boards, instruments, dimmers, cables and more than 1,000 feet of trussing materials to the event site in the Bahamas. The company had to document every clamp, wire, tool and instrument for customs and insurance purposes. Lighting equipment was used to set the mood of a series of individual events including a general session, a futuristic-themed gala and a traditional Bahamian “Junkanoo” party.

The Full Effect, Bedford, England

For a gala dinner at software maker Tivoli Systems' annual conference in San Francisco, The Full Effect used a variety of lighting effects to enhance an Alcatraz theme. At the entrance to the event venue, gobos of event title “The Rock” panned across the building like giant searchlights. Inside, spotlights and gobos moved to a beat while back-lit dancers performed a “riot” scene behind jail bars. At the same time, a silhouette of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city skyline appeared out of darkness.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN TECHNICAL SUPPORT

Big Wave International, Roxbury, Conn./North American Theatrics, Oxford, Conn.

In the hours before the start of a retirement party at a private school, Big Wave International unexpectedly had to install 10 13-foot ground-based trusses to compensate for a center tent truss that couldn't support 3,000 pounds of lighting equipment. Once the equipment was up and running, the production company achieved a “day-to-night” effect inside the tent by bringing power down from 100 percent to 35 percent in 10 gradual “scenes” controlled by a computer.

Professional Event Solutions, San Diego

Nine months of preparation eventually brought a crew of more than 40 Professional Event Solutions staff to a 47,000-square-foot rodeo arena to produce a fund-raising event for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Microsoft PowerPoint presentations preceded a performance by Cirque Du Soleil acrobats, contortionists, aerial hoop performers and clowns. During the show's finale, air-powered cannons sprayed a shower of silver confetti over the audience and stage.

Charles C. Technical Production Group, Newport Beach, Calif./Creative Technology, Van Nuys, Calif.

A conference for Jafra Cosmetics International included 10 corporate meetings for a total of 10,000 attendees over the course of three days. The co-producers met the challenge with 40 semi-trucks, 400 moving lights, 52 miles of cable, 15,000 amps of power and more than 100,000 pounds of equipment. At one meeting, for the introduction of a line of spa products, video images of candles and sunsets projected warmth, while aromatherapy scents were disseminated through the room via a specially designed air system.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN LOGISTICS

BT Event Productions, Breckenridge, Colo.

The Masterpiece Event of the Century gave top event designers and producers a chance to combine talents to create a multi-theme, multi-location event. The event, titled “A Journey Through Fantasy,” included the Gates of Heaven entrance, the Leopard Lounge, the Red Hot Pepper Club, and Life is a Bed of Roses — a room of petal-covered beds attended by a pajama-clad hostess.

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

For an event designed to establish Media Asia in the Cannes Film Festival community, Extraordinary Events had only six weeks to create an authentic Chinese celebration in France. The event's “Unlock the Legend” theme was brought to life by an aerialist who descended from a suspended 21-foot inflatable to hand a golden key to Michelle Yeoh, star of the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and Media Asia affiliate.

Sensix Communications & Events, Montreal

When the City of Montreal indicated that it planned to add 26 municipalities to the city, the Union of Suburban Municipalities on the Island of Montreal (UMBM) hired Sensix to coordinate and stage a public demonstration for 75,000 people. The event company had only seven days to plan and 60 minutes to set up street closures, parking for 800 buses, a communications network and mobile flatbed stages. Before the rally, the company had to meet with representatives of 26 suburbs to discuss their ideas and concerns.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN RENTAL SUPPORT

Abbey Event Services, Rancho Dominguez, Calif.

A fund-raising event for generous patrons of Orange County's Opera Pacific had to offer guests — one of whom wrote a check for $5,000,000 — something special, while still staying on budget. Abbey Event Services met the opera company's needs by scrapping its original proposal for an impressive but labor-intensive 140-by-300-foot truss structure. Instead, Abbey combined a truss structure with a less costly 100-by-75-foot FAST structure with dramatic portals and transition tunnels with frame tents, saving the client time and money.

Austin RentAll Party, Austin, Texas

For the premiere of the Texas Medal of Arts Award, Austin RentAll designed and organized a tented outdoor event on an Austin city street. In the morning, the company rotated tenting, lighting and power company staff members through lunch in 30-minute shifts to ensure a smooth setup. The company then interfaced with the decor provider and caterer to set up a cocktail reception and buffet dinner. Special efforts included making arrangements to use a water source from a nearby construction site to create luxury restroom accommodations.

Abbey Party Rents, Dallas/Outstanding Productions, Dallas

For an 8,000-attendee event hosted by Alcon Labs at the company's Fort Worth, Texas, facility, the rental and production teams had to provide appealing surroundings with minimal impact to the facility's grounds. They met the challenge with two 100-by-440-foot foodservice tents, mobile kitchen tents for multiple caterers, and two separate entertainment stages in 80-by-160-foot-tall tension tents, plus truckloads of tables, chairs, linens and catering equipment. They completed load-out in 72 hours, leaving the grounds clean and ready for a scheduled tour by the facility's corporate owner, Nestle.

BEST NEW, INNOVATIVE EVENT PRODUCT/TECHNOLOGY

Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

Designs by Sean added paint to spandex sails to come up with a backdrop that could withstand harsh weather and high winds. The spandex murals come in a variety of shapes and sizes including panels, sails and columns, and a range of designs including animals, foliage, celebrity portraits and abstract designs. The folded murals fit into 18-by-18-inch packing boxes and can be washed in a standard washing machine.

Transformit, Gorham, Maine

Transformit debuted its “Dream Spinners” collection of tension-fabric decor at The Special Event 2001. A variety of the company's three-dimensional sculptural forms were rigged in the lobby-registration area of the conference hotel. At the conference's Gala Awards ceremony, the sculptures were displayed as free-standing, ground-supported stage backdrops. The undulating sculptures have such names as “Ariels,” “Pixels” and “Dreamsicles.”

Vok Dams Gruppe, Wuppertal, Germany

For a Volkswagen exhibit at the Geneva International Motor Show, vehicles were connected to external speaker booths manned by moderators who used their voices to give the cars character and personality. The moderators were also equipped with vehicle information databases, sound effects and music files that could be played back into individual exhibition vehicles. Attendees were able to enter the cars and conduct conversations with them.

BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT CONCEPT AND EXECUTION, ENTERTAINMENT BUDGET UNDER $25,000

Eclectic Events International, Toronto

Costumed performers, music and props came together at a World War II aviation-themed surprise birthday party for a Royal Canadian Air Force veteran. Hostesses wearing authentic WWII Canadian pilot uniforms greeted entering guests. An Elvis impersonator sang the guest of honor's favorite hits and was followed by a Marilyn Monroe impersonator who performed “Happy Birthday.” All through the evening, an artist in military fatigues treated guests to henna tattoos.

TLC-Creative Special Effects, Marina del Rey, Calif.

For a corporate meeting hosted by BMC software at Southern California's Hotel Del Coronado, TLC was asked to provide entertainment that focused on the hotel's fame as a haunted site. The effects company used laser graphics to simulate a ghost named Kate, who spoke to the crowd and interacted in a skit performed by live actors. TLC's team also designed a remote detonation system that would allow Kate to “pop” balloons simply by pointing at them.

Tribble Creative Group, Charlotte, N.C.

For the groundbreaking of the new Westin Convention Center hotel in Charlotte, N.C., Tribble Creative Group choreographed six pieces of heavy equipment to the music of Carole King's “I Feel the Earth Move.” A blast of confetti cannons preceded this event highlight, which featured twirling skid-steers and bobbing bulldozers and excavators. At the end of the “dance,” the bulldozers returned to their starting points and “bowed” to the audience.

BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT CONCEPT AND EXECUTION, ENTERTAINMENT BUDGET $25,000 TO $100,000

Sensix Communications & Events, Montreal

For an awards event hosted by Tourisme Montreal, Sensix designed entertainment that allowed tourism industry professionals to become tourists for a night. A “virtual” cruise on the fictional S.S. Ulysse took guests to a tropical port of call with a steel band, lighted palm trees and bright color projections. Guests eventually “returned” to a winter scene achieved with a carpet change, snowflake gobos and twinkle lights.

Showtime Events, Raleigh, N.C./Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

Showtime Events created a multi-act show for the PrimeSource PremierClub incentive program at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. A performance featuring butterfly-costumed dancers started the evening, followed by an aquarium show featuring black-lit, glowing sea creatures. A later act used robotic stilt-walkers to project a futuristic theme, while yet another act featured an acrobatic duo performing balance and strength routines.

Tribble Creative Group, Charlotte, N.C.

For an awards ceremony hosted by BB&T Investments, Tribble Creative Group worked with its client to fool guests into believing their event had gone terribly amiss. Tribble faked a problem with the event venue, dropping off guests to wait in an “empty” port building decorated to look as though a cruise had come through recently and left behind a mess. A member of the client company then faked a fight with his assistant who yelled, “I quit!” signaling a curtain to drop and reveal a 1920s supper club — the gala's real setting.

BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT CONCEPT AND EXECUTION, ENTERTAINMENT BUDGET ABOVE $100,000

Cast of Thousands, McLean, Va.

More than 6,500 AOL/Time Warner employees attended a holiday party celebrating the merged company's entry into the world of media. Cast of Thousands provided 125 entertainers including 60 costumed characters, 23 dancers and 10 living statues, and filled the room with interactive games based on TV shows, music and other forms of entertainment. Among audience favorites were the “Game Show Theater” and a chance to dance with look-alikes from “Sex in the City.”

Irwin Productions, Vista, Calif.

At a celebration for a group of 200 high-level executives, Irwin Productions turned a Tucson, Ariz., hotel ballroom into “Buzzy Green's Foxy Lounge,” a 1964 Las Vegas cabaret. Prior to the event, guests received vintage costumes in their hotel rooms and make-up assistance from costumed comedians. Inside the lounge they experienced a comic salad-tossing performance, go-go dancers, and musical performances by Rat Pack, Elvis and Cher look-alikes.

Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, Las Vegas/Best Model Talent & Best Production, Las Vegas

Operatic elements went into the Venetian's Gala Fantastico at MPI's educational conference in Las Vegas. As doors opened for the event, guests were met with a colonnade of trumpeters. Once seated, they enjoyed a series of performances including a promenade of 40 characters circulating the room to the music of Verdi's “Aida.” Following dinner, attendees were surrounded by six “Venetian carnival” stages holding jugglers, balancing acts and hoop twirlers.

MOST OUTSTANDING SPECTACLE EVENT

B.A.S.S., Montgomery, Ala.

More than 100,000 people attended “Bass Fest on the Bayou” in New Orleans. The three-day sports festival rounded out its annual fishing competitions with activities and performances at venues ranging from the Morial Convention Center to the Louisiana Delta. Highlights included a pyrotechnic extravaganza in the city's Superdome, a winner's coronation telecast by ESPN, a performance by Grammy Award-winning Cyril Neville, and an exhibition of outdoor products and boats.

Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla./Logistics Management Group, North Miami Beach, Fla.

Designs by Sean teamed with Logistics Management to produce an 11,000-attendee beach party for the Microsoft Global Meeting Group. On 1,050 feet of beach space, crews built bleachers, themed buffet stations and staging areas to accommodate video screens, giant inflatables and 140 specialty performers. Highlights of the celebration included fire jugglers, dune buggy races, and a “Techno Zone” featuring body-painted robots and pyro effects.

Vok Dams Gruppe, Wuppertal, Germany

For a Volkswagen exhibit at the Geneva International Motor Show, vehicles were connected to external speaker booths manned by moderators who used their voices to give the cars character and personality. The moderators were also equipped with vehicle information databases, sound effects and music files that could be played back into individual exhibition vehicles. Attendees were able to enter displayed cars and conduct conversations with them.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL, BUDGET UNDER $50,000

Barbara Wallace Weddings, Corona del Mar, Calif.

A Southern California reception to celebrate a couple's Maui wedding three weeks earlier brought an island atmosphere to a private clubhouse. Guests sat on fruitwood chiavari chairs at white-linen-draped tables on a patio surrounded by sycamore trees hung with white paper lanterns. Tropical menu items included chicken satay, sushi and passion fruit. At dusk, amber lights washed the patio and dance area to give the impression of a lingering sunset.

Famous Firsts, Pompano Beach, Fla.

Working off the idea of “building a marriage,” event producer Richard Magid of Famous Firsts created a construction-themed rehearsal dinner for his own wedding. In a room filled with 55-gallon drums, cinderblocks and construction signs, guests sat on chairs decorated with yellow caution tape. A buffet of cold cuts was served in paint tins, with condiments applied by paintbrushes. As a take-home gift, guests received toolboxes filled with junk food and antacid tablets.

Eclectic Events International, Toronto

Costumed performers, music and props came together at a World War II aviation-themed surprise birthday party for a Royal Canadian Air Force veteran. Hostesses wearing authentic WWII Canadian pilot uniforms greeted entering guests. An Elvis impersonator sang the guest of honor's favorite hits and was followed by a Marilyn Monroe impersonator who performed “Happy Birthday.” All through the evening, an artist in military fatigues treated to guests to henna tattoos.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL, BUDGET $50,000 AND ABOVE

Creative Consulting, Chicago

Family and friends were shuttled by golf carts from one elaborate set to another for a live performance of “The Wizard of Oz,” staged on the grounds of a philanthropist's 36-acre estate. The six-hour theatrical event took 800 guests along on Dorothy's journey — acted out on stages, in outdoor areas and in tents — and culminated in a fireworks display and disco dancing.

Giants Enterprises, San Francisco

A businessman's 50th birthday was the occasion for 340 guests to celebrate at San Francisco's Pacific Bell Park. Guests were directed through darkened gates to the ballpark's center field, where waiters served cocktails. A dining area with a silver and black color scheme welcomed guests, whose pre-dinner entertainment included a display of 100 illuminated Roman fountains and a performance of “Happy Birthday” set to a seven-minute fireworks show.

Rave Reviews, Kensington, Md.

For a bar mitzvah celebration in a synagogue's all-purpose room, event-planning company Rave Reviews required three days for lighting and decor setup. When crews had completed their work, the space appeared to be an elegant nightclub, modeled on the atmosphere of Miami boutique hotels. Guests entered a room decorated with billows of sheer white fabric, lanterns and chandeliers, and dined at metallic tables of varying shapes and sizes.

BEST EVENT MARKETING CAMPAIGN

Event Lab, Minneapolis

Employing a “Northern Lights/North Woods” theme, Event Lab created and marketed a booth and corporate event for Pillsbury at the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association trade show. For the booth, the company designed a 40-by-50-foot log cabin that incorporated three physical pillars representing Pillsbury's company philosophies. At the reception, guests encountered a room decorated as a country tavern, complete with neon bar signs, wooden stools and galvanized steel buckets of popcorn.

The Special Event Co., London/Cornerstone Associates, London

The Special Event Co. used a combination of recognizable typefaces to brand The Press Ball — an event designed to raise the profile of the Newspaper Press Fund, a charity founded by Charles Dickens. Marketing tools included a “Top 50 Front Covers of the Millennium” competition, an auction of event tables through British publications and a promotional video featuring media moguls praising the ball as the “media event of the year.”

The Lundquist Co., Sacramento, Calif.

To increase the value and popularity of an annual employee-recognition event, Output Technology Systems hired an outside production and marketing company for the first time in the history of the event. The Lundquist Co. designed an interactive “Millionaire”-type game show and patterned registration, food, entertainment and prizes around the theme. The firm also created a mascot based on the client's “renewed interest in quality” message.

BEST THEATRICAL ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTION

Charles C. Production Group, Newport Beach, Calif.

For Jafra Cosmetics International's annual motivational and recruitment conference, Charles C. Production Group created five entertainment programs, each with a Spanish-language counterpart. A stage featuring 160 feet of projection space was the centerpiece of each program. New PIGI projection technology, lighting, music and aromatherapy allowed producers to change the look and mood of the event room more than 40 times within the three-day conference.

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif./Delaney Marketing, Dublin, Ireland

Extraordinary Events created “The Lore of Ireland” at the residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin for client Infinity Broadcasting. The show featured drummers, aerialists, Gaelic songs and traditional dancing, all choreographed along a story line depicting Ireland's history from early Celtic to modern times. A 50-foot fiber-optic ceiling enhanced the performance space, which was draped in black and decorated with Druidic structures.

Imagination Entertainment, San Diego

Imagination Entertainment developed its “Cirque de la Mer” — a water-based cirque-style entertainment production — to serve as an enticing presentation for 2,500 clients and event planners visiting SeaWorld San Diego. The production faced limitations including its setting — a bay under the jurisdiction of both the city and the coastal commission — and the elaborate rigging required. The 30-minute show featured brightly colored sea sprites performing acrobatics and stunts on jet skis.

BEST THEME DECOR, TOTAL DECOR BUDGET UNDER $20,000

EventWorks, Los Angeles

At the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, EventWorks decorated an event tent with Spanish mission-inspired fabrics, props and floral, keeping with a fund-raiser's “Celebracion de California” theme. A walkway featuring ox carts, hitching posts and pepper trees led guests to the transparent tent, where they sat at tables adorned with wrought-iron epergnes holding arrangements of flowers, fruits and herbs.

Legendary Events, Atlanta

A “Leadership: Hollywood Style” party for video rental company Blockbuster broke the concept of leadership into four sub-themes and used movies to illuminate each. “Leadership by Intimidation” drew inspiration from “The Godfather,” while “Sheer Cool Rules” gave a nod to “American Graffiti.” “Rule by Divine Right” took its cues from English period-piece “Elizabeth,” and “Leadership by Example” — theming the dessert area — was modeled on “Chocolat.”

Lena Malouf Platinum Events, Sydney, Australia

A luncheon for 400 guests hosted by the Australian Tourism Commission was designed to promote Australia without relying exclusively on koalas and kangaroos. Displays based on scenes from the Australian outback decorated each of six long, intersecting tables. Theme elements included a 10-foot crocodile, a windmill, hand-painted totem poles, an emu and an abundance of Australian foliage.

MGM Mirage Events, Las Vegas

For Bass Hotels and Resorts, MGM Mirage developed a theme based on Cirque Du Soleil's aquatic “O” show to complement the poolside venue the client had chosen. Vibrant 18-foot-wide banners decorated a promenade hallway leading to the main event area. Carved mannequins dressed in elaborate handmade costumes loomed atop buffet tables. A performance by a Cirque-inspired “Amphibian Man” completed the thematic picture.

BEST THEME DECOR, TOTAL DECOR BUDGET $20,000 TO $50,000

Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

Chefs in kimonos welcomed guests to a bar mitzvah with an “Asian Anthology” theme, held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami. In the adults' seating section, cascading orchid centerpieces and natural bamboo chairs enhanced a pan-Asian atmosphere. In the children's section, red spandex-covered stools and spandex tube sculptures added a playful element. Dividing the sections was a stage where performers in snake costumes danced out of burlap sacks as if being charmed out of baskets.

Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

For a bat mitzvah with a tropical theme, Designs by Sean divided the event site?a private residence?into two sections. The front of the house became an island, accented by floral table linens, hand-painted flower murals and a steel band. The tented backyard and Plexiglas-covered pool became a coral reef, filled with swaying kelp, coral and fish, all lit by a combination of black light and conventional washes in blues, greens and pinks.

Theme Events, Dublin, Ireland

For an Irish-themed dinner gala contracted by client Doughty Hanson and Co., Theme Events wanted to avoid common Irish symbolism such as leprechauns and shamrocks. Instead, the decor team used light effects to recreate the sunshine of the Irish Winter Solstice, guiding guests to their tables. Amidst Celtic music, guests sat at chairs dressed in green brocade, with arms left bare to represent the simple life of Irish citizens throughout history. Tables were set with scroll-pattern glassware, and clusters of twigs scented with lemon marked each place setting, bringing to mind Ireland's natural landscape.

BEST THEME DECOR, TOTAL DECOR BUDGET ABOVE $50,000

Classic World Events, San Jose, Calif.

With “Along the Mission Trail” as its theme, The American Cancer Society hired Classic World Events to produce The Cattle Baron's Ball. More than 200 feet of mission arches and 12 different mission towers were brought to the venue — a 200-foot-high aircraft hangar at Moffett Field military base. Fountains, terra cotta pots, wagons and barrels were used to decorate food stations and fill the interior of the hangar. Almost 1,000 feet of patterned cloth mimicked the twinkling night sky overhead. The event ultimately raised more than $1.5 million from its 1,450 guests.

Koby Bar-Yehuda Special Event Designer and Producer, Rishon Lezion, Israel

Koby Bar-Yehuda strolled in bazaars and spice markets, read books and even watched Disney movies in preparation for a bat mitzvah with a “Thousand and One Nights” theme. At a venue bordered by a beach on one side and an archeological fortress on the other, tables were topped with forged chandeliers, imported gold boxes and glass vases filled with roses and fruits. Costumed servers brought food out in Moroccan tangines carried on wooden pallets.

MGM Mirage Events, Las Vegas

A Mirage Hotel New Year's Eve event with “Fusion” as its theme featured four elemental zones: fire, earth, liquid and air. Each area had a unique color scheme, with monochromatic floral and costumed dancers. White fabric rippled by high-powered blowers and illuminated with intelligent lighting became the backdrop for each element. At the stroke of midnight, the stage filled with a pyrotechnic display based on the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION, OVERALL BUDGET UNDER $100,000

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif./Delaney Marketing, Dublin, Ireland

Extraordinary Events created “The Lore of Ireland” at the residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin for client Infinity Broadcasting. The show featured drummers, aerialists, Gaelic songs and traditional dancing, all choreographed along a story line depicting Ireland's history from early Celtic to modern times. A 50-foot fiber-optic ceiling enhanced the performance space, which was draped in black and decorated with Druidic structures.

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Winter Home and Museum was the most unique feature Extraordinary Events could find in Sarasota, Fla. So the company took its inspiration from the museum for an incentive event for Ford Metro employees in a resort nearby. “Clown School” put guests in the middle of the action, dressing each from head to toe in authentic Ringling Brothers costumes and using professional clowns to train teams of guests for a live performance in the event room's “center ring.”

The Arrangers, Denver

An event for hospitality executives hosted by The Denver Merchandise Mart was designed to salute the evolution of the world and the excitement of the senses. Trapeze artists at the “Excite” celebration performed a routine signifying life's beginning. Drinks flowed from giant red ice volcanoes and menu items represented countries all over the world, from Finland to Mexico. The evening closed with a booming rendition of Louis Armstrong singing “What a Wonderful World.”

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION, OVERALL BUDGET $100,000 to $249,999

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

For an event designed to establish Media Asia in the Cannes Film Festival community, Extraordinary Events had only six weeks to create an authentic Chinese celebration in France. The event's “Unlock the Legend” theme was brought to life by an aerialist who descended from a suspended 21-foot inflatable to hand a golden key to Michelle Yeoh, star of the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and Media Asia affiliate.

The Meetinghouse Companies, Elmhurst, Ill./Chicago Marriott Downtown, Chicago

Designed to look like a Central American mining camp, a Marriott Hotel Corp. client-appreciation party used a motion simulator, special effects and exotic foods to draw guests into a “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Low-lying fog surrounded replicas of Mayan ruins, and dinosaur sculptures hovered over buffets serving sea bass ceviche, pork tamales, albondigas and whole roasted pig. A “chocolate volcano” dessert display allowed guests to dip confections into lava-like melted chocolate.

Zeigler & Co., Nashville, Tenn./Destination Nashville, Goodlettsville, Tenn.

For General Motors' annual awards gala, the interior of George Washington's historic home was replicated inside a tent set on the grounds of Mount Vernon itself. The event's decor team duplicated Prussian blue walls, installed Palladian windows and hand-painted a floor to mimic the hooked rug found in Washington's drawing room. Overhead plasma screens and a state-of-the-art sound system added a modern touch to the authentic 18th century scene.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION, OVERALL BUDGET $250,000 TO $500,000

Andersen, Chicago

The Chicago office of professional services firm Andersen treated partners, clients and their families to a goodwill and networking event titled “The Heroic Quest: A Journey in Search of Adventure.” Based on a whimsical version of Greek mythology, the event incorporated dancing, magic and storytelling performances with interactive activities such as face-painting and fortune-telling. Young guests received commemorative Mt. Olympus medals as they made their exit.

Aspen Productions, Atlanta

A trade show event for S1 Corp. started with a mock parade through New Orleans' French Quarter. Stilt-walkers and live musicians led guests to the House of Blues, where a variety of themed rooms from Voodoo to VIP awaited them. A palm reader, fortune-teller and tarot-card reader entertained attendees as they mingled and sampled an array of Cajun cuisine. Finally, the lights dimmed and guests entered the club's concert hall, where blues legend B.B. King performed deep into the night.

The Full Effect, Bedford, England

Vienna's Hofburg Palace was the setting for an 1,800-guest gala dinner hosted by Tivoli Systems. Taking advantage of the historic surroundings, The Full Effect created a “Rock Me Amadeus” event, complete with an Austrian orchestra and dancers in baroque ball gowns performing atop a Viennese clock tower. After dinner, the clock tower was transformed into a modern stage with lasers and lights, and the traditional dancers replaced by a rock band.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION, OVERALL BUDGET ABOVE $500,000

Autostadt GMBH, Wolfsburg, Germany

With a focus on company development and its service philosophy, Volkswagen hosted an event in Germany for 1,200 American and Canadian car dealers. Held at Autostadt, Volkswagen's Wolfsburg-based headquarters, the event included a dinner prepared by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and a “Cirque du Monde” show featuring acrobatics, mime and dance. The goal of this closing performance, which included 95 artists from eight countries, was to showcase the characteristics of Volkswagen cars through human movement and expression.

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif./George P. Johnson Co., Torrance, Calif.

The welcome-night reception for Siebel Systems annual Users' Week convention took its “Wonderful Night” theme from scheduled performer Stevie Wonder. With the Santa Clara Convention Center's fire marshal watching its every move, Extraordinary Events monitored attendee flow by building buffets around support columns and installing a bar beneath an elevator shaft to conserve space. Guests first dined in a room decorated with hanging beaded “waterfalls,” then proceeded to the concert hall for the evening's headline performance.

Cacique International, Nassau, Bahamas/Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

For an event hosted by global services company EDS, the DMC and designer collaborated to create four days of events with a Caribbean feel. Blue spandex chair covers, painted images of sea life and the sounds of dolphins and whales enhanced the general session's “Discover the Treasures of Atlantis” theme. A “Junkanoo Explosion” party inspired by the traditional Bahamian celebration treated guests to drumbeats, confetti bursts and a 30-performer parade.

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