Special Events

GALA AWARD NOMINEES

The Special Events Magazine Advisory Board has chosen the following outstanding entries to be nominees for the coveted Gala Awards, which will be handed out Jan. 9 at The Special Event show in Las Vegas:

BEST FAIR/FESTIVAL

City of Garland, Garland, Texas

With the theme “It's a Wild, Wild Fourth,” the City of Garland returned to its Western roots for the 15th annual “Star Spangled Fourth” celebration. Daily parades featuring longhorn steers, wagons and Native American dancers carried out the Western theme, as did bull riding exhibitions and gunfight shows, all coordinated by more than 500 volunteers over the Fourth of July weekend.

Shapiro & Co., Plano, Texas

Designed to showcase the town of Irving, Texas, and kick off the holiday season in style, the “Mustang Jingle & Jazz” celebration also raised money for local charitable organizations. The one-day celebration featured a hand-carved ice village, gondola rides with Santa, jazz performances by artist Patti Austin and the Lone Star Youth Orchestra, and a grand finale fireworks display.

Top Productions, Richmond, Calif.

With San Francisco Bay as a backdrop, Top Productions created an extraordinary exhibit for the artwork of more than 260 artists at the 51st Sausalito Art Festival. The three-day event featured more than 20,000 original works of art, two stages of nonstop entertainment, a sculpture garden, and gourmet food and wine, which were enjoyed by some 50,000 visitors over Labor Day weekend.

BEST INVITATION

Someone's in the Kitchen, Tarzana, Calif.

In just two weeks, Someone's in the Kitchen created an invitation for the b'nai mitzvah celebration of twin brothers inspired by the House of Blues venue and the family's keen love of music. The cover design featured a photograph of the twins dressed as the Blues Brothers surrounded by a faux corrugated metal border; inside, the boys' names were incorporated into the House of Blues “flaming heart” logo.

BK Design, Boston

For the Comedy Central roast of comedian Denis Leary, BK Design created invitations that captured the essence of the guest of honor. Signature Leary trademarks such as sunglasses, cigarettes and matches were incorporated into the design. The accordion-style invitation also featured pictures of Leary from childhood to the present alternated with some of his more memorable quotes, setting the tone for the irreverent event.

Imagination Ltd., London

For client Warner Home Video's DVD and video launch of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” Imagination Ltd. designed an invitation that reflected the spooky Forbidden Forest plot line of the movie. The company created pop-out cubes, illustrated with images of spiders, which jumped out of the invitation as it was opened, startling the recipient. A card hidden behind the cubes provided all the information for the event.

BEST DINING TABLE DESIGN

Fancy Faces, Covington, La.

Dramatic lighting provided the key design element for the Audubon Institute of New Orleans' board of directors' annual Christmas luncheon. With only five days of lead time, Fancy Faces designed a series of lighted centerpieces keyed on holiday colors of red and gold. Smaller centerpieces were placed on the Lazy Susan located at each place setting, infusing both the food and the room with a soft glow.

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

The elements of fire, wind, water and earth were the inspiration for the table created for client VIASYS Healthcare's “Mystic Powers of Atlantis” incentive event at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort. Unified by a 72-inch round central table representing the Temple of the Sun, each 10-seat table was decorated with different colors, fabrics, floral arrangements and centerpieces representing the respective elements.

Legendary Events, Atlanta

For the Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS fund-raiser “Dining By Design,” Legendary Events evoked an elegant outdoor patio feel by adding a decorative 48-inch cast aluminum top enlarged with a custom-cut wooden ring to a standard 72-inch round table. Wrought iron accent pieces and a dramatic floral chandelier above the one-of-a-kind table design completed the illusion of an al fresco terrace setting.

BEST FOOD PRESENTATION

Culinary Capers Catering, Vancouver, British Columbia

Creative presentation was key to the tropical menu Culinary Capers Catering created for a “Club Med Tahiti” themed birthday party. Highlights included sea bass grilled in banana leaf packets, coconut chicken kebabs displayed in coconut bowls, hollowed-out oranges filled with orange beef and jasmine rice, and lobster salad rolls with Thai basil and passion fruit dip, which set sail in miniature boats in an outdoor birdbath.

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

The “Mystic Powers of Atlantis” incentive event for VIASYS Healthcare was inspired by ancient mythology and two glass sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly, which are on display at the venue. The five-course menu included “The Temple of the Sun,” a duck confit and foie gras terrine with rays of fig and pumpkin dressing, and “The Temple of the Moon,” a white chocolate and mango dessert with a golden papaya sauce.

Feastivities Catered Events, Berwyn, Pa.

For the director's luncheon at the historic Cairnwood Mansion, Feastivities transformed the venue into a museum of edible art for its “Art is Food, Food is Art” themed event. Each room became a gallery, with food exhibited on pillars covered in linens. Guests were then led on a gastronomic tour of such delights as brandied cherry and goat cheese purses, salmon caviar cheesecake and smoked salmon lollipops.

BEST OFF-PREMISE CATERED EVENT

A Joy Wallace Catering, Miami

At the 46th annual Vizcayan Ball, which raises money for the preservation of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, A Joy Wallace Catering took an innovative approach to foodservice, following passed hors d'oeuvre with a three-course “walking dinner,” which guests ate while standing up. They were then seated for an additional two courses, a petite filet mignon on beet ribbons served with asparagus, and sea bass served over black rice with baby bok choy.

Alison Silcoff Events, Montreal/Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, Montreal

For the Daffodil Ball — the 630-guest fund-raiser benefiting the Canadian Cancer Society — Alison Silcoff Events re-created the elegance of an 18th century ball. The historically accurate seven-course banquet featured such traditional French period fare as cheese, snails, lobster and stuffed quail. Highlights included a “chessboard” of duck foie gras and duck confit and a gold leaf-encrusted chocolate cake served with vanilla custard sauce.

Legendary Events, Atlanta

For the Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS gala, Legendary Events created a tropical menu that reflected the Hawaiian theme of the 500-guest event, which raised more than $300,000. The menu of grilled lobster tail in a carved papaya vase, osso bucco with pimento macadamia nut risotto, and a dessert trio of coconut crème brûlée, raspberry guava sorbet and tropical fruit was followed with a glass of bubbly courtesy of sponsor Champagne Taittinger.

BEST CATERED EVENT PRODUCED BY A HOTEL BANQUET DEPARTMENT

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, Detroit/Whiteside Communication Management, Southfield, Mich.

In order to accommodate the 4,000 guests at a Compuware holiday party, the gala was designed as five differently themed events in the same evening — Downtown Motown, Caesars Palace, Mediterranean Marketplace, Studio 54 and The Dueling Piano Club. The movement of guests from one themed area to the next was carefully choreographed, with revelers enjoying entertainment and an international menu at each destination.

New York Marriott Marquis, New York

To reward the performance of Marriott sales staff from the northeast region, the New York Marriott Marquis literally rolled out the red carpet for a party, which comprised three separate events. Following a “Taste of New York” luncheon, guests walked the red carpet to enter the ballroom for an awards ceremony. At night, the use of spandex wave wall tunnels, all-white decor and high-tech lighting transformed the space for a three-course dinner.

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

“Fire and Ice” was the theme for a 600-guest client appreciation party hosted at the Chicago Marriott Downtown hotel. After a cocktail reception in the “Fire” area, guests moved into the “Ice” room, which featured ice martini bars and “iceberg” buffet stations serving fresh Alaskan halibut, fried calamari, beef tenderloin medallions and a selection of cool desserts. Falling snow and models that appeared to have frozen in place added to the frosty decor.

Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas

For Wine Spectator magazine's California Wine Experience, the Venetian Hotel re-created the sights and smells of a November day for an “Autumn Sojourn in the Napa Valley.” Three 16-foot-tall trees spread their branches above the buffet area, which was decorated with candles, harvest vegetables and a carpet of brilliant foliage. The menu of savory autumn food was designed to complement the wines served at the 1,800-guest Grand Tastings.

BEST FUND-RAISING EVENT

Alison Silcoff Events, Montreal

With “Pompadour and Circumstance — un Bal a Versailles” as its theme, the 10th annual Daffodil Ball raised $1.58 million (Canadian) for cancer research, breaking its own record. The historic Windsor Station was transformed by 65 crystal chandeliers suspended above the dining tables, which were decorated with daffodil centerpieces. The 630 guests bought $147,000 worth of raffle tickets, and an auction led by actress Sharon Stone raised a further $75,000.

Legendary Events, Atlanta

At this year's Dining by Design event for the Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS fund-raiser, 50 artists were invited to create unique 10-seat tables that incorporated the color red into the design. The 500-guest fund-raiser, which raised more than $300,000 for the fight against AIDS, raffled celebrity-donated vacation packages and auctioned champagne buckets designed by performers such as Madonna, Sting and Bill Cosby.

EventScape Inc., Barrington, Ill./Kehoe Designs, Chicago

With the theme “The Many Loves of Carmen” as inspiration, Chicago's Civic Opera House was transformed into a spectacular Mediterranean village, replete with vine-covered balconies and fountains, for the Alzheimer Association's Chicago Rita Hayworth Gala. The event, which was attended by close to 800 guests, featured a flamenco performance and a four-course menu by chef Wolfgang Puck, and raised more than $1 million for Alzheimer's research.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION

EventScape Inc., Barrington, Ill./Kehoe Designs, Chicago

With the theme “The Many Loves of Carmen” as inspiration, Chicago's Civic Opera House was transformed into a spectacular Mediterranean village, replete with vine-covered balconies and fountains, for the Alzheimer Association's Chicago Rita Hayworth Gala. The 800-guest event, which featured a flamenco performance and a four-course menu by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, raised more than $1 million for Alzheimer's research.

Tolo Events, Wexford, Pa.

The Field of Dreams Gala, which benefited the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, was the first non-baseball function held at PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Guests were welcomed by the celebrity chair, actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who encouraged attendees to bid on auction items such as cars, jewelry, tickets and golf packages. By night's end, the 800-guest event had raised $4.8 million for the hospital.

Zeigler & Co., Nashville, Tenn.

Held at the historic Cheekwood Mansion, the 2003 Swan Ball raised money for the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Fine Art Center in Nashville. The gala was given an Old World look through the use of decor elements such as 150 silk pillows, faux marble flooring, and aged mirror walls accented by hundreds of candles. More than 700 guests enjoyed a three-course meal and a performance by legendary crooner Tony Bennett.

BEST WEDDING: BUDGET UNDER $500 PER GUEST

EJP Events, Portland, Ore.

The Boston wedding of a bride from Barbados and an Irish Catholic groom incorporated elements from both heritages into a unique ceremony and reception. A traditional venue and classic flower arrangements were coupled with a West Indian theme visible in the Caribbean-influenced menu and the batik artwork on the invitations and place cards. Entertainment included steel drums and performances by a Caribbean dance troupe.

Legendary Events, Atlanta

Famous landmarks in the city of Paris were re-created in a downtown Atlanta loft for a wedding reception with the theme “A Last Tango in Paris.” Guests enjoyed performances by professional tango and cancan dancers, while an ice bar featuring a 2½-foot-tall ice Eiffel Tower offered three varieties of champagne. The couple's request for a French-influenced vegan menu extended to the soy-based wedding cake, each layer of which was decorated with black lace and red roses.

Someone's in the Kitchen, Tarzana, Calif.

Someone's in the Kitchen designed an elegant summer wedding for a bride who wanted to marry on the beach where she grew up. Following a ceremony in the sand, guests were dazzled by the decor of the reception tent, which featured tables set with white satin and organza linens and cobalt blue plates and glassware. Centerpieces of off-white roses, blue hydrangeas and yellow tulips representing the sand, sea and sun mirrored the elegant beach setting.

BEST WEDDING: BUDGET $500 to $2,000 PER GUEST

Innovative Dining Group, Los Angeles

A medieval-themed wedding between two fantasy fans blended a Celtic hand-binding ritual, an autumn-harvest motif and props from the couple's favorite movies into an unique forest ceremony and reception held at a historic southern California venue. Rich burgundy and hunter green fabrics, pewter chargers and dozens of candles set the scene for an elegant five-course feast enjoyed by 50 guests.

Yifat Oren & Associates, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Traditional and avant-garde design elements were the highlights of a 300-guest June wedding held at The Los Angeles Music Center. The Chinese bride and Jewish groom were married under an Asian-inspired chuppah made from bamboo poles and topped with red carnation finials. Guests sipped lychee martinis before dining at tables decorated with dramatic centerpieces of twisted willow branches hung with glass bulbs displaying white orchids.

Xena Productions, Dublin, Ireland

The melding of two cultures, languages and cuisines was the objective of the 410-guest wedding of an Irish celebrity couple set at a chateau in France. Following the church service, which incorporated Irish language and music, guests at the reception drank Black Velvet cocktails made from Guinness and champagne, sampled French canapes, and listened to traditional Irish tunes performed by a string quartet.

BEST WEDDING: BUDGET ABOVE $2,000 PER GUEST

John Daly Inc. International, Santa Barbara, Calif./Lori Parks Corporate Events, Bloomfield, Mich.

Fifteen acres of undeveloped property intended as the future home of the bride and groom was the setting for a fairy-tale wedding and reception. The August ceremony took place in the garden in a custom-made gazebo covered with 5,000 white roses. Afterward, guests celebrated in a dining pavilion draped in gold silk charmeuse and dined on rack of lamb and veal tenderloin from Wolfgang Puck Catering and Events.

Matthew David Events, New York/Elizabeth Allen, New York

For a 320-guest February wedding held at The Plaza Hotel, New York, Matthew David Events overcame a winter blizzard the week of the event to successfully organize a ceremony and reception that required an installation and breakdown schedule of more than 4,400 work hours. Floral creations included a 14-foot-tall chandelier made from 50,000 blossoms, which was designed to hang in the Grand Ballroom.

BEST MULTIPLE-DAY INCENTIVE EVENT

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

For a six-day, five-night incentive event in Kauai, Hawaii, Extraordinary Events designed an “Awaken the Senses” themed program for employees of a financial institution. A highlight was the “Taste of Blue Hawaii” event, which featured buffet stations attended by celebrity guest chefs. Guests dined at tables covered in blue linen and sat on cushions made from blue suede, while watching a performance by fire knife dancers accompanied by musicians playing authentic Polynesian instruments.

Go West Events and Multimedia, Westlake Village, Calif.

A corporation's five-day event, held at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, was broken down into 15 major events and 40 smaller ones. Some 2,500 guests attended the Fire & Ice Party, where they watched ice carvers use chain saws to create a 20-foot-tall ice sculpture of an electric guitar and enjoyed a musical performance by Pat Benatar. The closing-night awards gala and dinner featured a comedy routine by Bill Cosby.

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

Thirty-six guests attended VIASYS Healthcare's five-day incentive event, which was held at the Bahamas' Atlantis Paradise Island Resort. The “Mystic Powers of Atlantis” themed event was inspired by ancient mythology and two glass sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly, which are on display at the venue. Guests enjoyed a five-course dinner that incorporated mythological elements into the table design and menu.

PGI, Vancouver, British Columbia

In just six weeks, PGI produced an incentive program that high-lighted the best that Laguna Beach, Calif., has to offer, including the area's rich arts heritage. The 400 guests enjoyed a dinner of Spanish/California cuisine in the courtyard of the Mission at San Juan Capistrano, which was decorated with 3,000 candles. The final night's celebration featured the Laguna Beach-based Pageant of the Masters tableaux vivants, as well as a performance by recording artist Diana Krall.

BEST MULTIPLE-DAY EVENT FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION

Create Food Ltd., London

For client The Ultimate Experience, a corporate event management company, Create Food provided elegant, imaginative cuisine for 105 events — held at six differently themed venues across London — over a three-week period leading up to the Christmas holidays. Venue themes included the Morocco-inspired “Casablanca” and the classic “Holiday in the Square.” Over the 21 days, 25,000 guests were served 11,000 mince pies, 75,000 desserts and 150,000 hors d'oeuvre.

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

For client CEMEX's two-day, three-night executive conference in Barcelona, Spain, Extraordinary Events created a program that reinforced the conference's theme of “Meeting the Global Challenge Together.” Guests were entertained by musical act The Gypsy Kings and participated in team-building exercises such as a walking tour of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, which featured performances by actors dressed as important figures from the city's rich history.

Vok Dams Gruppe, Wuppertal, Germany

Some 600 international managers from BMW met in Frascati, Italy, for a five-day event to introduce the new BMW 5 series and learn more about the vehicle's target buying group. The use of two actors, who represented the “emotional” and “rational” decisions of the car's target group throughout the event, was an unconventional but memorable way to help attendees understand the lifestyle and mind-set of their potential consumers.

BEST FLORAL DESIGN

EventWorks, Los Angeles

For a “Club Difference” themed product launch event for a major pharmaceutical company, EventWorks created two dozen unique floral arrangements that were partly inspired by the vibrant color scheme of the venue. An assortment of rectangular and round vases, colored rocks and crystal chips was used to add texture and variety to exotic arrangements that included blooms such as birds of paradise, spider chrysanthemums and imported Dutch hydrangeas.

Good Gracious! Events, Los Angeles/Ronald Mann at The Park Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles

For a wedding with a unique Mexican/Hawaiian theme, the designers aimed to give the festivities a natural, tropical feeling by tying napkins with raffia and green orchids and creating centerpieces of vivid orange, yellow and red flowers, which were displayed in square glass vases lined with colorful leaves. The ceremony took place beside a bamboo trellis topped with two huge arrangements of cymbidiums, ginger plants and palm leaves.

Matthew David Events, New York

Sixteen candle-lit floral sconces, each made from 3,300 blossoms, and a custom-built domed floral chuppah were just some of the beautiful floral creations created by Matthew David Events for a wedding held at New York's Plaza Hotel. The signature element, a 14-foot-tall floral chandelier designed to hang in the Grand Ballroom, was made using 50,000 dendrobium orchids and Dutch hydrangea blossoms.

BEST TENT INSTALLATION

De Boer Vinings, Atlanta

For the two-week “Inventing Flight: Dayton 2003” event celebrating the 100-year anniversary of aviation history and the Wright Brothers, De Boer Vinings installed three of its “Delta” structures in a Dayton, Ohio, park to create exhibit pavilions for sponsors Lockheed Martin, Bank One and Lexis Nexis. Each 20-foot-tall structure measured more than 10,000 square feet and took three days to install.

Regal Tent Productions Ltd., Stoney Creek, Ontario

For the Ralph Lauren Fashion Show held during New York's Fashion Week, Regal Tent Productions installed a custom-designed, 40-by-130-foot clear-span tent with peaked and hip-end features in the back courtyard of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. On event day, Regal Tent accommodated the client's request to paint the aluminum frame of the structure to match the color of the fabric.

Top Productions, Richmond, Calif.

Top Productions installed close to 300 tents in a park overlooking San Francisco Bay for the 51st annual Sausalito Art Festival, which was attended by some 50,000 visitors over Labor Day weekend. Installations included 260 10-by-10-foot booths for the exhibiting artists, 30 food booths equipped with electricity, phones and hot water, and an 82-by-132-foot semi-permanent structure that served as the venue for the black-tie opening night gala and provided shade during the festival.

BEST USE OF LIGHTING

Airstar Space Lighting, Los Angeles

For the movie “The Pirates of the Caribbean,” Airstar Space Lighting used its lighting balloons to achieve the realistic lighting the film's cinematographer envisioned. The balloon units were rigged to the masts of the pirate ship featured in the movie, and were easily adjustable due to a pulley system that allowed the units to move up to 20 feet in each direction. The units were kept aloft for weeks at a time via helium hoses hidden in the masts.

Airstar Space Lighting, Austin, Texas

For a televised awards show held in an expansive exhibition center in Valencia, Spain, Airstar created a “ceiling of light” by hanging 34 balloon units from the rafters, effectively giving the appearance of a more intimate space by lowering the ceiling height almost 30 feet. To create lighting suitable for both the television broadcast and awards dinner, an adjustable dimmer was used on all of the units.

Pacific Destination Services, Vancouver, British Columbia/Q1 Production Technologies, Vancouver, British Columbia

For the 100-guest incentive event “Discoveries on Ice,” an intimate setting for a dinner and figure skating show was created in a large hockey arena through use of a curtain and custom-designed lighting to spotlight the dining tables and ice. A 30-foot-tall black drape decorated with large images of famous ice skaters and hockey players lit from above ringed the perimeter of the ice. The ice itself was lit by a dramatic color wash of blues, purples and pinks.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN TECHNICAL SUPPORT

ASI Production Services, Orlando, Fla.

At The Special Event 2003 in Orlando, ASI designed a “stage in the round,” which served as the focal point of the Special Events Magazine Gala Awards dinner. Surrounded by banquet tables, the 56-by-56-foot square stage — which featured a 24-foot circular stage fitted with a trap door in the center and a 12-foot-diameter turntable in each corner — provided an unobstructed view of the spectacular entertainment for everyone in the audience.

Go West Events and Multimedia, Westlake Village, Calif.

A corporation's five-day event, held at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, was broken down into 15 major events and 40 smaller ones, including elegant dinners, fire shows and musical performances. A last-minute increase in attendance meant that the layout of dinner events was reconfigured a number of times in order to accommodate the 2,500 guests present for the final three days of the program.

Top Productions, Richmond, Calif.

In just two weeks, Top Productions transformed a four-acre park and adjacent parking lot overlooking San Francisco Bay into a tent city for the 51st annual Sausalito Art Festival, which was attended by some 50,000 art lovers. A team of 12 workers installed more than 270 artists' booths and semi-permanent structures, six electricians provided electrical power and running water to the installations, and five stage installers set up three stages.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN LOGISTICS

John Daly Inc. International, Santa Barbara, Calif./Lori Parks Corporate Events, Bloomfield, Mich.

For a 280-guest wedding set on 15 acres of undeveloped property, everything from power to portable rest rooms had to be brought on site. The event designers installed five tents, including the main pavilion, which was made to resemble the exterior of the property's existing barn and stables by creating a 130-foot-long façade of a front porch, complete with rocking chairs. The rustic barn was transformed into several informal lounge spaces through the addition of elegant furnishings.

PRI Productions, Jacksonville, Fla.

PRI Productions designed a patriotic “Celebrate America” themed half-time show for more than 60,000 fans at the first game of the Jacksonville Jaguars' 2002 football season. The grand finale of the seven-minute program featured some of the event's 500 volunteers unfurling 875 yards of red, white and blue material to create a 90-by-120-foot American flag as fireworks exploded and F-16 fighter jets flew over the field.

Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas

For Wine Spectator magazine's “The California Wine Experience's Grand Tastings,” the Venetian Hotel re-created the sights and smells of a November day for an “Autumn Sojourn in the Napa Valley.” At the second day's morning and afternoon Grand Tasting receptions, some 61,200 wine glasses, 3,600 water glasses and 1,200 bottles of water were set up and removed, and 34 wines were served to 1,800 guests.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN EVENT RENTAL SUPPORT

Abbey Event Services, Montebello, Calif.

With just three days for load-in and only ten hours for load-out, Abbey Event Services also faced the challenge of a new venue for the seventh annual “Shaqtacular” fund-raising event, which was held in an airplane hangar at Santa Monica (Calif.) Airport. Abbey coordinated all aspects of the 2,500-guest event, including the creation of custom banners for the more than 100 sponsors.

ASI Production Services, Orlando, Fla.

At The Special Event 2003 Theme Lunch, held at the Gaylord Palms Hotel in Orlando, ASI brought a 24-by-32-foot hydraulic mobile stage into the ballroom, where it was hidden behind a white cyclorama decorated with fiber-optic lights. The stage was then dramatically revealed as the curtain went up to the opening music of a performance by fire dancers dressed in Polynesian attire.

Austin RentAll Party, Austin, Texas

For the January inauguration of the 47th governor of Texas, Austin RentAll Party oversaw major aspects of the festivities including crowd control, food preparation and trash removal for the “Texas-style” barbeque luncheon held on the lawn of the Capitol. Ten ticket takers handed out plates to the 14,000 guests, who were served from 35 double buffets in just 27 minutes, allowing plenty of time to finish eating before the start of a parade.

BEST NEW, INNOVATIVE EVENT PRODUCT/TECHNOLOGY

Fastlane Productions, Denver

Fastlane Productions has created a 24-by-36-foot inflatable projection screen and billboard that is easy to install and completely weatherproof. The SuperScreen, which is made of PVC, contains no hard metal components and can be set up in as little as 60 minutes and deflated in just seconds in an emergency. The screen is 50 percent perforated, allowing wind to pass through and providing a wrinkle-free projection surface.

Graphic Globe, Orlando, Fla.

Graphic Globe redesigned its product specifically for the special event industry just two weeks before presenting it at the 2003 Special Events Gala Awards Celebration. The 15-inch-high, 11-inch-diameter globes, which use a computer program and LED surface to display images from corporate logos to flying butterflies, present the projections in a pixel format. To make the globes wireless, power cords were replaced with battery packs capable of lasting for six hours.

Vok Dams Gruppe, Wuppertal, Germany

For the unveiling of two new Volkswagen models at the 2003 Geneva Auto Show, Vok Dams Gruppe overcame the building and technical restrictions of the venue using “Flying Screens” — four large LED screens that moved across the exhibit hall ceiling on a track system. The 771-pound LED screens were capable of turning 180 degrees and moved along 55 feet of track via a synchronized computer program.

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

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

To create a memorable and educational experience for Mexico City-based CEMEX, Extraordinary Events designed a walking tour through the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, Spain, that showcased the city's history and local performers. Guests met with actors dressed as characters — including Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus — who recounted stories about Barcelona's history. Musical perf

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