Special Events

GALA AWARD NOMINEES 2000

After receiving hundreds of outstanding entries for this year's Gala Awards, Special Events Magazine is pleased to present the nominees. The Gala Awards and Celebration will take place Jan. 13, the final night of The Special Event 2001 in New Orleans. Look for profiles of the Gala Award-winning events in our March issue.

BEST FAIR/FESTIVAL

B.A.S.S., Montgomery, Ala./Jam Productions, Chicago/Melrose Pyrotechnics, Kingsbury, Ind./Tamar Productions, Chicago

This annual celebration of freshwater fishing featured a week of fishing contests and family-oriented activities, in addition to an exposition where nearly 400 manufacturers exhibited the latest in angling equipment, fishing boats and clothing at Chicago's McCormick Place. Highlights included a Chicago appreciation night at Shedd Aquarium, a free concert by country music star Trisha Yearwood, and a fireworks and laser grand finale at Soldier Field.

City of Garland, Garland, Texas

With more than 185,000 attendees and 1,000 nightly aerial effects, the 2000 Star Spangled Fourth festival in Garland has been billed as the largest Fourth of July celebration in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The annual three-day event takes place over a 15-block span around the historic downtown square. With no admission or parking fees, the event draws families from all income levels to enjoy choreographed fireworks and laser shows nightly, interactive exhibits and concerts by national recording artists.

Jay Howard Events, Harrisburg, N.C.

Jay Howard Events produces three annual events for a nonprofit organization that promotes motor sports in Charlotte, N.C. For one of these events-Food Lion Speed Street-the city's main street is transformed into a street festival for three days each May. Drawing more than 375,000 fans, the festival features entertainment from 64 bands, 40 interactive exhibits and celebrity appearances from 20 NASCAR drivers.

Township of Brick, Brick, N.J.

Since 1995, local businesses in the township of Brick have sponsored SummerFest, a series of free concerts and family entertainment. Held every Thursday night during the summer season, SummerFest 2000 attracted acts including Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge, The Duprees and The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Organizers arranged for a fireworks display to follow three of the shows in the series.

BEST BALLOON CREATION

Air Dimensional Design, Van Nuys, Calif.

Air Dimensional Design was commissioned to create a mystical special effect for the city of Houston's Angels in the Park winter fund-raiser for severely disabled children. ADD created Dancing Angels-silver-winged inflatables that gave the illusion of angels in flight. The 30-foot angels, lighted with colored gels, could be seen from half a mile away.

Fooled Ya!, Rochester, N.Y./Royal Events and Entertainment, Peabody, Mass.

A crew of 44 people worked for five days to build a balloon sculpture representative of Euro 2000, the European soccer tournament in June. The sculpture, constructed from 40,781 latex balloons, set a Guinness world record for size in nonround latex sculptures. The sculpture had so much detail that onlookers could identify the people portrayed in it.

BEST INVITATION, SOCIAL

BK Design, Boston

A Boston couple wanted to guarantee that their New Year's fete would not be overshadowed by the millennium hype. A teaser invitation took the form of a black velvet jewelry box containing a silver capsule. Opening the tiny capsule revealed a tiny scroll instructing guests to bring a special item to the party to be included in a time capsule. The futuristic invitation was constructed of four layers of sheer, frosted and silver plastic sheets.

BK Design, Boston/David Tutera Inc., New York

A Connecticut couple wanted to throw a pre-construction painting party before they began to gut and redo their home's interior. Guests were encouraged to run wild with rollers and spray paint. The invitation, Your Palette for a Colorful Evening, was created in the format of a paint swatch booklet. The various paint swatches were labeled with names that revealed the details of the party.

Rick Herns Productions, Redwood City, Calif.

A safari guide and her gorilla hand-delivered a mysterious wooden crate to the door of each guest of a biannual private party. The invitee found a paper banana inside the straw-filled crate. After peeling the banana, the guest founded a zebra-striped scroll that served as the invitation to the safari-themed party.

BEST INVITATION, CORPORATE

Arlene Segal Design Group, North Miami Beach, Fla.

Arlene Segal Design Group was asked to create an invitation for an event aimed at the high-roller clients of a New Orleans casino. Costumed clowns hand-delivered the boxed invitations, which included a video about New Orleans and the casino's new facilities. The cover of the invitation was adorned with a colorful mask, feathers, sequins and the casino's logo.

Southfork Event & Conference Center, Dallas

Southfork Event & Conference Center scared up a creative invitation for a Halloween costume ball. Arriving in orange and black sheer organza pouches embellished with skull beads, the accordion-folded invitations were accompanied by die-cut ghosts and spiders.

Table Talk, Calgary, Alberta

The mission in creating this invitation was to make a firm's lawyers appear irresistible and amusing. The two-part invitation promised to take the recipient "on an enchanted journey from the bizarre to the bazaar." The combination of receiving a fresh baguette, a wooden toy train whistle and first-class passage on the "Orient Express" resulted in an 86 percent guest turnout despite heavy snowfall.

BEST DINING TABLE DESIGN

Charles Banfield Productions, Los Angeles/Extraordinaire Floral and Event Design, Los Angeles

For his 70th birthday, the client wanted to host a party reflecting his Hungarian ancestry. Charles Banfield Productions and Extraordinaire Floral and Event Design worked together to create a gypsy camp. Tables were draped in velvet earth tones with mismatched overlays reminiscent of Old World fabrics. Pin-spotting and candlelight from 18th-century reproduction candlesticks illuminated the tables. Crystal balls, tambourines, peacock feathers and faux gold coins created unique vignettes on each table.

King Dahl Event Design, Agoura Hills, Calif.

For a Chinese New Year party, King Dahl created three 32-foot-long serpentine tables decorated as Chinese dragons. Dragon masks were repainted in gold, red and black and placed at each end of the long tables. Black fabric embroidered with gold dragons topped red tablecloths. Custom crimson chair cushions covered black chiavari chairs. Brass and wooden chopsticks were nestled inside the napkins.

Nature's Daughter, Basking Ridge, N.J.

For a Hawaiian-themed bat mitzvah, Nature's Daughter placed 4-by-12-foot tables perpendicular to each other. Eight-foot bamboo frames were elevated above the tables a few inches, outlining the area to be decorated with banana leaves, bamboo votives and myriad chunky candles.

BEST FOOD PRESENTATION

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

Harith Productions recreated the lost city of Atlantis for a client's meeting at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort. Each plate featured a sea horse-shaped menu. Each course was designed to illustrate an idea, from sea horses dancing in the deep blue sea to Poseidon's trident to the marriage of land and sea.

Harith Productions, Oreland, Pa./Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas

For a client's national sales meeting, Harith Productions created a five-day event that included meetings, general sessions and awards presentations. One dessert buffet had a fire-and-ice theme, for which hotel chefs manned flambé stations. For the grand-finale dinner, the evening took on a circus theme. The menu offered such dishes as Flying Trapeze Salad.

Steve Kemble Event Design, Dallas/Bifulco's Vanishing Sculptures, Dallas/The Food Co., Dallas

For a winter ball, the client asked Steve Kemble Event Design to create a modern-day fairy tale. Kemble selected a color palette of winter white-white carpet, white fabric-draped wall and the sparkling white created by light reflecting off ice. The highlight was a 15-foot ice table that served as a raw seafood bar.

BEST CORPORATE/COMPANY PICNIC

BT Event Productions, Indianapolis

In September 1999, a large power corporation hosted 20,000 attendees during an open house at its main plant in Schenectady, N.Y. The event had three goals: to celebrate the company's successful year, recognize its employees and provide visitors with a glimpse of its range of products and services. The plant's grounds contained carnival rides, games booths and product displays. Kids and adults participated in talent shows and team competitions.

Matthew David, New York

Matthew David turned a run-down stadium into a colorful theme park for a corporate picnic for 7,500 guests. As guests arrived at the picnic, a bright rainbow banner encircling the venue greeted them. Activities for children included acrobatics and juggling. Kids created sand castles, decorated totem poles and made fabric art. In the olympics area, mini-competitions such as a three-legged race were held throughout the day.

The Full Effect, Bedford, England

To reward staff and their families for their hard work and support, one company worked with The Full Effect to organize a corporate picnic for 3,000 guests. Held on the grounds of the scenic Witley Park Estate in England, the picnic revolved around the theme Going for Gold 2000. Theatrical props, choreographed performances and dynamic entertainment made the day memorable for guests.

BEST OFF-PREMISE CATERED EVENT

Good Gracious! Events, Los Angeles

Good Gracious! Events turned a corporate holiday event into a warm, candlelit dinner. Set inside a tent on the client's property, the guest tables were dressed in gold bengaline and fitted with lush burgundy and gold velvet overlays. Mahogany chiavari chairs were draped with gold braided rope. The holiday feast included prime rib, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, roasted squash and wild rice. A dessert buffet featured lemon brulee cheesecake and white-chocolate mint truffles.

Major the Gourmet, Vancouver, British Columbia

Major the Gourmet catered an Arctic Ice Age-themed New Year's Eve party. The reception began in the "ice cave," where guests dined on caviar and drank martinis, both served from bars made of ice. After the reception, guests were ushered through a dry-ice-filled "time tunnel" to the dining area, where they were served a six-course dinner. At 2 a.m., guests were treated to a breakfast buffet.

Ridgewells, Bethesda, Md.

Ridgewells catered the "Blue Party" dinner during the National Caterers Association annual conference in Washington. The theme was the essence of blue, which suggests sincerity and coolness. Linens, glassware and dinnerware were all cobalt blue. Martini glasses filled with blue crab and mussels were offered from a glass trellis. The entree choices included Caribbean spiced pork loin and chili-rubbed turkey breast.

The Moving Venue Caterers, London

As part of a high-profile incentive program in London, The Moving Venue was appointed to cater welcome and farewell dinners at the Hampton Court Palace and the Natural History Museum, respectively. The caterers had only 90 minutes to transform the venues from visitor attractions into stunning dining rooms to serve dinner to 700 guests.

BEST CATERED EVENT PRODUCED BY A HOTEL CATERING DEPARTMENT

Chicago Marriott Downtown, Chicago/The Meetinghouse Companies, Elmhurst, Ill. For a hotel's customer appreciation party for 800 guests, the theme was A Winter Holiday in Vermont. The Chicago Marriott and the Meetinghouse Companies used more than 22 truckloads of props and lighting to transform the hotel's 16,000-square-foot ballroom into the Vermont countryside, re-creating a scene from the classic holiday movie "White Christmas." Guests gasped when air walls were pulled back to reveal snow falling on bridges, mountains and pine trees in the quaint setting.

Harith Productions, Oreland, Pa./Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas

For a client's national sales meeting, Harith Productions created a five-day event that included meetings, general sessions and awards presentations. One dessert buffet had a fire-and-ice theme, for which hotel chefs manned flambé stations. For the grand-finale dinner, the evening took on a circus theme. The menu offered such dishes as Flying Trapeze Salad.

Whistler/Blackcomb, Whistler, British Columbia

On New Year's Eve 1999, the event team at Whistler/Blackcomb Resort on Whistler Mountain turned its venue into a Galactic Gala for 800 guests. Hundreds of star-lights twinkled, reflecting the galactic theme. The menu included steamed lobster, venison and star-shaped rolls. Ice carvings depicting galaxies and telescopes were focal points of the fresh seafood and dessert stations. A fireworks display lighted the sky at midnight.

BEST FUND-RAISING EVENT

Alison Silcoff-Marketing and Event Planning, Montreal

The Millennium Daffodil Ball, an event benefiting the Canadian Cancer Society, was a sophisticated gala dinner/dance attended by 570 high-profile guests. Futuristic decor took four days to set up and incorporated 40,000 daffodils, lighting effects and a series of interconnecting tents. Highlights included a cocktail and caviar bar and $90,000 worth of raffle prizes. The event raised $1.4 million (Canadian).

aNd Logistix, Toronto

To commemorate the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation's 25th anniversary, aNd Logistix designed the 1999 gala fund-raising dinner around the theme Turning Silver Into Gold. Table settings featured gold satin napkins tied with orchids and accented with gold brocade table overlays. Centerpieces were made of orchids, roses and tiered votive candles in a topiary arrangement. The commemorative program highlighted the generosity of sponsors, dedicated staff and volunteers.

Ann Marie Arzt & Associates, Vernon Hills, Ill.

Named in honor of film star Rita Hayworth, who died of Alzheimer's disease, the Chicago Rita Hayworth Gala has raised more than $9 million since its inception in 1987. The 2000 gala was held in the grand ballroom at Navy Pier in Chicago. The theme, Lady From Shanghai, depicted the beauty of the Far East by using vibrant colors, elegant decor and unique entertainment. Hosted by Hayworth's daughter, the event raised nearly $700,000.

Impact Productions, Denver

Despite budget constraints, Impact Productions transformed a stuffy venue into the psychedelic '60s Pussycat Club. Vibrant vinyl flowers, huge hand-painted props, live music, blue martinis and lava lamps all contributed to the theme of the Cheshire Halloween Ball '99. A fund-raiser for the Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Community Services Center of Colorado, the event raised $32,000.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A NONPROFIT CORPORATION

Bartsch & Trotter, Venice, Calif.

The Faces of Los Angeles media festival kicked off the 2000 Democratic National Convention for 15,000 guests-members of the press, delegates and elected officials. The outdoor event, which covered two city blocks, underscored a vast cultural diversity. Three stages showcased a variety of eclectic local and international entertainment. Food stations offered a cross section of the city's international flavors. Images of more than 200 local students were displayed throughout the event, giving guests an insight into what defines Los Angeles-the people.

Famous Firsts, Pompano Beach, Fla.

Magic was the theme of Lynn University's gala dinner/dance. Famous Firsts incorporated the university's name and the theme to name the gala The Magic of Milynnium. To carry out the theme, playing cards and magic wands were used in centerpieces. The curriculum of the Boca Raton, Fla., school was projected onto fabric draped around the perimeter of the room.

Tribble Creative Group, Charlotte, N.C.

For the grand opening of the 150-acre Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, N.C., Tribble Creative Group transformed a clear-span tent into a magnificent display of the four seasons. The botanical garden was brought into the tent through the use of colonnades built to match the garden arbors and a design scheme of floral arrangements on huge banquet tables and round tables.

BEST EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY

Curtis Dahl Photography, Tarzana, Calif.

A retirement party for a company's chairman turned out to be an exciting challenge for Curtis Dahl Photography. Dahl was hired to photograph the decor, lighting and the entertainers, as well as to take candid digital photographs to give as party favors as the 200 guests departed. He captured trapeze artists, a fire breather, a tightrope walker and water curtain video projections on film.

LD Systems, Houston

The eyes of Texas were on Houston in October 1999 when the downtown skyline came alive with the largest-ever combined use of music, fireworks, lasers, lighting and large-image projection. More than 2 million people witnessed the 30-minute mega-special-effect finale of The Power of Houston, a five-day festival designed to benefit four local nonprofit organizations. LD Systems blew up 50,000 pounds of explosives during the finale.

BEST WEDDING, BUDGET UNDER $30,000

Art of the Party, Surrey, British Columbia

For an intimate wedding at the bride's family home, guests enjoyed Asian-influenced hors d'oeuvre and Celtic harp music. At dinner, guests were seated at one large oval table beneath a clear tent. Floral and candles towered above the table. A seven-course tasting menu included warm duck salad and Thai lobster.

The Lundquist Co., Sacramento, Calif.

The historic Firehouse Restaurant in Old Sacramento was the scene of this wedding. As guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvre in a banquet room upstairs, the downstairs courtyard took on the look of Old Italy. The Lundquist Co. used multicolored gem-tone damask table covers, accented with candles, fruit and floral. A family crest adorned the menu cards.

BEST WEDDING, BUDGET $30,000 AND ABOVE

Creative Cuisine Catering, Columbus, Ohio/Garrett Hospitality Group, Columbus, Ohio

For a spring wedding, Creative Cuisine Catering and Garrett Hospitality Group worked together to create a personalized occasion for the newlyweds and their guests. An imported Italian glass bottle filled with herbed olive oil for each guest, cuisine prepared with mushrooms and eggs from the family estate, a cake decorated with handmade sugar hydrangea blossoms and butterflies that mirrored those on the bride's dress, and white satin gift bags with hand-potted plants and cookies made by the bride's mother were just a few of the personal touches.

Lundy's Special Events, Lexington, Ky.

For the wedding of one of its employees, Lundy's Special Events produced the rehearsal dinner, coordinated the wedding service, designed the reception at the family home, and provided catering for 700 guests and a post-wedding brunch for 300 the next morning. As the bride and groom left the reception and headed for their limousine, 80 cannons blasted fireworks into the air.

Zeigler & Co., Nashville, Tenn./Joseph E. Smith & Co., Nashville, Tenn.

Zeigler & Co. created a European garden-style wedding that was both formal and relaxed. Guests dined among beaded club lamps and gold candelabras and danced on a hand-painted dance floor. Upholstered banquette seating punctuated with soft green and coral pillows created inviting conversation areas. More than 3,000 square feet of hand-painted backdrops, luscious floral, and aged columns and arches added drama to this garden fantasy.

BEST MULTIPLE-DAY INCENTIVE EVENT

Gerbig Snell/Weisheimer & Associates, Westerville, Ohio

A corporation wanted to thank it sales representatives with an exciting week of incentive events on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Gerbig Snell was brought in to plan events for the sales representatives and their spouses/guests, including a dine-around the island, a game show, a sailing trip to Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands and various spouse/guests activities. Gifts and prizes were given daily to the 225 attendees.

Harith Productions, Oreland, Pa.

For a client's national sales meeting, Harith Productions created a five-day event that included meetings, general sessions and 40 concurrent breakouts for 450 guests. The grand-finale dinner featured a circus theme. Out of the haze appeared the "phoenix," a performer clad in 22-foot wings, symbolizing a new day for the company's sales team. Aided by a pulley, the phoenix "flew" across the room into a wall of white balloons, which exploded with indoor pyrotechnics.

The Special Event Co., London

The Special Event Co. planned a three-day sabbatical trip to London for high-profile supporters of Duke University, Durham, N.C. The events had personal tie-ins with Duke; for example, a Duke drama professor addressed the group during a visit to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. The impetus for the trip was an invitation for the group to visit the official residence of the American ambassador to the United Kingdom, a Duke alumnus.

BEST FLORAL DESIGN

EventWorks, Los Angeles

EventWorks used an eclectic mix of tropical fruits, vegetables and floral in a variety of interestingly shaped containers in this Conga Room-themed event. Inspired in part by the monochromatic color movement in the artwork of Andy Warhol, the colors and designs of the floral art pieces provided a sensual color flow as guests moved through the room.

Nature's Daughter, Basking Ridge, N.J.

For a Hawaiian-themed bat mitzvah, Nature's Daughter placed 4-by-12-foot tables perpendicular to each other. Eight-foot bamboo frames were elevated above the tables a few inches, outlining the area to be decorated with banana leaves, bamboo votives and myriad chunky candles.

Tribble Creative Group, Charlotte, N.C./John Daly Inc., International, Santa Barbara, Calif.

For the grand opening of the 150-acre Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, N.C., Tribble Creative Group and John Daly Inc., International transformed a clear-span tent into a magnificent display of the four seasons. The botanical garden was brought into the tent through the use of colonnades built to match the garden arbors and a design scheme of floral arrangements on huge banquet tables and round tables.

BEST TENT INSTALLATION

Abbey Event Services, Burbank, Calif.

Abbey Event Services created a tented environment for 1,500 guests incorporating the rolling terrain and gardens of a private residence in Beverly Hills, Calif. The event required more than 23,000 square feet of tenting throughout 35,000 square feet of multilevel grounds. To ensure a rainproof environment, 23 canopies were interconnected.

DeBoer Structures, Atlanta

For the 2000 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, DeBoer Structures built two tent villages: the East Plaza and the South Plaza. The grounds for both villages were compact and required that DeBoer design different-size structures to fit each space. The installation of the South Plaza was completed in 48 hours.

Tentnology, Surrey, British Columbia

Tentnology shipped 16 Saddlespan structures from Vancouver, British Columbia, to the Hawaiian island of Maui for a corporation's product launch. Constructed of industrial fabric and aluminum aircraft trusses, these tents were used as an artistic design element and featured cathedral ceilings. A custom-designed joiner connected three tents for a tri-span interior of 20,000 square feet. "Space articulators" enhanced a light show while hiding backstage preparation and storage.

BEST USE OF LIGHTING

LD Systems, Houston

The lighting components of this downtown Houston event included lasers, large-format skylights, searchlights and large-format projection. Pyrotechnics were launched from and large-format lighting was mounted on more than 84 buildings. Setup for this presentation took three weeks and involved more than 220 helicopter lifts. Images were displayed on 26 surface areas of 18 buildings.

ShowPro, Los Angeles

For the 2000 Creative Arts Emmy Awards post party, ShowPro custom-designed chandeliers: sconces wrapped in taut, stretched white fabric. Using intelligent lighting controlled by a computer, the designers mixed three light colors-cyan, magenta and yellow-to produce a variety of colors from the spectrum.

Southwest Show Tech, San Diego

For the grand opening of a casino, Southwest Show Tech created an animated 60-by-60-foot series of cultural images superimposed on the entrance, with supporting lighting effects that highlighted more than 400 linear feet of adobe-colored architecture. As guests walked up to the casino entrance, they were greeted by a four-minute story created by lighting, image projection and soundscaping that symbolized important cultural elements.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN TECHNICAL SUPPORT

B.C. Event Management, Burnaby, British Columbia/Riggit Services, North Vancouver, British Columbia

B.C. Event Management built a 10,000-square-foot, lightproof structure to expand the permanent ballroom and to house a separate fabric-walled ballroom constructed of front-project cycloramas. A show of constantly changing projections appeared on these surfaces. The show used six mega-projectors, four lasers, four video projectors, 16,000 square feet of cyclorama, a high-powered dispersal system to scatter 16,000 silk leaves and snow machines to fill 825,000 cubic feet of air space.

LD Systems, Houston

The lighting components of this downtown Houston event included lasers, large-format skylights, searchlights and large-format projection. Pyrotechnics were launched from and large-format lighting was mounted on more than 84 buildings. Setup for this presentation took three weeks and involved more than 220 helicopter lifts. Images were displayed on 26 surface areas of 18 buildings.

Vok Dams Gruppe, Wuppertal, Germany

At the World Engineer's Convention in Hanover, Germany, Vok Dams Gruppe appealed to the emotional side of its audience by incorporating statements from children all around the world into a series of video trailers. Choreographers created a modern-day musical and, later, a percussion performance without instruments.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN LOGISTICS

BT Event Productions, Indianapolis

BT Event Productions chose Our Passport to the Future ... Power Destinations as the theme for this corporate event. Shuttles took guests to eight color-coded destinations spread throughout the company's facilities. The Province of Power, one of the destinations, featured musical entertainment, while Talent Town featured an antique car show. The Energy Sector had large interactive inflatables and games. BT Event Productions encountered foul weather during setup, with rain one day and high winds the next.

Charles Banfield Productions, Los Angeles

Charles Banfield Productions constructed a "treehouse" for a wedding reception using 4,000 square feet of platforms and a 40-by-60-foot canopy tent wedged among six large trees, all set over a steep incline. The venue featured a kitchen and dance floor for the 160 guests.

LD Systems, Houston

The lighting components of this downtown Houston event included lasers, large-format skylights, searchlights and large-format projection. Pyrotechnics were launched from and large-format lighting was mounted on more than 84 buildings. Setup for this presentation took three weeks and involved more than 220 helicopter lifts. Images were displayed on 26 surface areas of 18 buildings.

BEST NEW, INNOVATIVE EVENT PRODUCT/TECHNOLOGY

Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

Designs by Sean designed a tricolor tube-a giant "Slinky" made of brightly colored spandex in four color schemes, with red, blue, green and purple serving as the base colors. The company says the tubes can be hung or wrapped around any structure, extend in length to 16 feet and collapse to 8 inches.

Poko Event Productions, Los Angeles/Ethos Design, Pasadena, Calif.

Poko Event Productions and Ethos Design created custom lightbox tables in triangular and square shapes. Made from powder-coated sheet metal and topped with transparent Lucite, the tables were lighted from underneath through diffused amber gels.

Transformit, Gorham, Maine

Transformit debuted its Garden of Earthly and Aquatic Delights collection of tension-fabric structures at The Special Event 2000. The collection is made up of a mix of 3-D, flowerlike sculptures, including 18-foot-tall "Morning Glories," and aquatic-inspired structures such as the free-standing, 3-D "Sea Fans."

BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT CONCEPT AND EXECUTION, ENTERTAINMENT BUDGET UNDER $50,000

Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla./Comcor Event & Meeting Production, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

When creating a "Night in Havana," Designs by Sean and Comcor enlisted the help of ethnic dancers, cigar rollers, musicians, artisans, look-alikes and animals. An open-air plaza was set up where costumed performers pretended to sell their wares. Throughout the event, guests were entertained by Latin showgirls in Las Vegas-style costumes.

EventWorks, Los Angeles

Titled Los Angeles Premiere, this multimedia production highlighted various aspects of the city. A video montage of city life was displayed on three projection screens at the center stage. After the video, performances included Taiko drummers, inline skaters, "living human sculptures," a gospel choir and a female soloist.

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

For a client's national sales meeting, Harith Productions and Designs by Sean created a five-day event that included meetings, general sessions and 40 concurrent breakouts for 450 guests. The grand-finale dinner featured a circus theme. Out of the haze appeared the "phoenix," a performer clad in 22-foot wings, symbolizing a new day for the company's sales team. Aided by a pulley, the phoenix "flew" across the room into a wall of white balloons, which exploded with indoor pyrotechnics.

BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT CONCEPT AND EXECUTION, ENTERTAINMENT BUDGET $50,000 AND ABOVE

Comcor Event & Meeting Production, Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

To meet Royal Caribbean's goal of bringing guests into The Royal Promenade, a main gathering area of its largest cruise ship, Comcor and Designs by Sean created three evening events: the Bon Voyage Parade, the Carnivals of the World Happening and the Millennium Celebration. The productions used more than 200 costumes and props and more than 100 performers.

Lena Malouf Platinum Events, Sydney, Australia

After guests were led through a "time tunnel," they learned what surprise event their employer had been keeping secret from them all year. Upon entering the dome at the end of the tunnel, they discovered Galactium, where the 40-foot rigging over the dance floor rose to a countdown, with fireworks simulating the liftoff of a spaceship. Space mannequins, rockets, spaceships and aliens added to the atmosphere.

The Full Effect, London

For this millennium celebration, The Full Effect designed and created a stage that wound like a road throughout the dining area. Then the entertainment was choreographed to fit the unusually shaped stage. Entertainment followed three themes--Mystique, Street Life and Masquerade--and included acts such as stilt walkers, acrobats, unicyclists and South American dancers.

MOST OUTSTANDING SPECTACLE

BT Event Productions, Indianapolis

BT Event Productions chose Our Passport to the Future ... Power Destinations as the theme for this corporate event. Shuttles took guests to eight color-coded destinations spread throughout the company's facilities. The Province of Power, one of the destinations, featured musical entertainment, while Talent Town featured an antique car show. The Energy Sector had large interactive inflatables and games. BT Event Productions encountered foul weather during setup, with rain one day and high winds the next.

LD Systems, Houston

The lighting components of this downtown Houston event included lasers, large-format skylights, searchlights and large-format projection. Pyrotechnics were launched from and large-format lighting was mounted on more than 84 buildings. Setup for this presentation took three weeks and involved more than 220 helicopter lifts. Images were displayed on 26 surface areas of 18 buildings.

Ricky Kirshner Productions, New York

To produce the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Ricky Kirshner Productions incorporated more than 2,000 lighting instruments; an 18-by-31-foot overhead projection filled with high-tech graphics and live pictures; a 60-foot-wide podium that raised and lowered on command; a 300-member marching band; and a 22-piece orchestra. Performers included Stevie Wonder, Melissa Etheridge and Luther Vandross.

Vok Dams Gruppe, Wuppertal, Germany

Because the sponsoring company targets young consumers, entertainment, sports and information were interwoven into this exhibition. Vok Dams Gruppe used a VidiWall as an ever-changing background for live events, thus avoiding the necessity of changing the scenery and erecting new sets. Fairgoers participated in a live Internet auction, quiz show and interviews with stars using a short-message system in which their questions were projected onto the VidiWall.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL

Charles Banfield Productions, Los Angeles

A Hungarian gyspy camp was created for this client's birthday celebration. Costumed dancers, palmists and an acoustic gypsy band entertained guests. Cocktail tables were draped in fringed fabrics, with floral pieces in copper pots and scarves covering cabaret lamps serving as centerpieces. Charles Banfield Productions lighted a 150-foot fiber-optic drape to imitate the night sky, and two gypsy wagons were positioned to frame a stage built over an existing fountain.

Rare Indigo, Vancouver, British Columbia/Eclipse Productions, Vancouver, British Columbia

Rare Indigo and Eclipse Productions set out to create a "winter castle" for this New Year's Eve party. An "ice cave" featured a stylized ice bar installation, and a trip through a futuristic time tunnel brought guests to a silver and white dining area. After guests enjoyed a seven-course meal, they were invited to dance in an area where a 30-foot video wall, a laser light show and a six-hour prerecorded audio show were featured.

Zeigler & Co., Nashville, Tenn.

Zeigler & Co. created a European garden-style wedding that was both formal and relaxed. Guests dined among beaded club lamps and gold candelabras and danced on a hand-painted dance floor. Upholstered banquette seating, punctuated with soft green and lobster-colored pillows, created inviting conversation areas. More than 3,000 square feet of hand-painted backdrops, elaborate floral, and aged columns and arches added drama to this garden fantasy.

BEST THEATRICAL ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTION

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Extraordinary Events created a custom Broadway-style musical that delivered a business message for its corporate client. The goal was to motivate the client's sales force--all Japanese speakers--through the story of a young woman who along her travels met friends with business problems that she helped solve. A custom music score, innovative scenery and a bilingual script delivered the message.

The Event Co., Pinegowrie, South Africa

As part of South Africa's bid to host the 2006 World Cup men's soccer tournament, The Event Co. produced the event "African Dream" for 450 high-profile guests. This event included entertainment by an African praise singer-a man dressed in traditional costume who announces important guests through African poetry--a 100-member African choir, performances by South African vocal star Gloria Bosman and a performance by traditional gumboot and tapper dancers.

The Full Effect, London

For this millennium celebration, The Full Effect designed and created a stage that wound like a road throughout the dining area. Then the entertainment was choreographed to fit the unusually shaped stage. Entertainment followed three themes--Mystique, Street Life and Masquerade--and included acts such as stilt walkers, acrobats, unicyclists and South American dancers.

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

Charles Banfield Productions, Los Angeles

Belly dancers were just part of the fun at this Moroccan soiree. Three tent structures with pavilion tops were draped in shades of reds and purples. Gauze swags were tied with clusters of colorful tassels, and garlands of marigolds and carnations hung from authentic Moroccan lanterns. The guests sat on pillows around the raised dance floor--each place set with hammered copper chargers, marigolds, orchids and candles.

David Tutera Inc., New York

Every table at this fund-raising event represented an aspect of New York City, from the New York City Ballet to the Bronx Zoo. Whimsical centerpieces were coupled with subway- and bus-themed linens. A 10-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty was placed in the center of the room's fountain, and daisy-covered spheres floated in the water to add a festive touch.

Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

Designs by Sean turned an ordinary gymnasium into an elegant venue for a bat mitzvah for 150 guests, half of whom were children. Each table in the children's area of the room was overlaid in a different color, complemented with floral centerpieces featuring feathers and jewels. The color scheme was black and white with colored accents for the children, and red, purple, blue and green for the adults.

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

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

A colorful mural archway created an exciting entryway for this cirque-style celebration. A 40-by-12-foot white balloon wall covered the length of the stage. The grand ballroom was divided into four colored sections-red, royal blue, teal and purple-with black and gold accents. Sixteen-foot spiral cones lighted from within were used as columns to divide the areas.

Lena Malouf Platinum Events, Sydney, Australia

Rendezvous in the Park, a corporate event, featured an indoor rotunda decorated with foliage, flowers and large fabric butterflies. Twelve handmade trees with silk leaves, twinkling lights and votives suspended from branches were placed throughout, and three park benches had foliage and wisteria draped over the ends, lending the room a romantic feel.

Nature's Daughter, Basking Ridge, N.J.

Nature's Daughter used mudcloth imported from Africa as overlays on black cotton tablecloths for this African-themed bat mitzvah. Miniature furniture, authentic African masks, woodcarvings and musical instruments were just a few of the touches added to the tabletops. The room was surrounded with canvases depicting a sunset on Africa's Serengeti plain.

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

B.C. Event Management, Burnaby, British Columbia/Sensix, Montreal

B.C. Event Management built a 10,000-square-foot, lightproof structure to expand the permanent ballroom and to house a separate fabric-walled ballroom, constructed of front-project cycloramas. A show of constantly changing projections appeared on these surfaces. The show used six mega-projectors, four lasers, four video projectors, 16,000 square feet of cyclorama, a high-powered dispersal system to scatter 16,000 silk leaves and snow machines to fill 825,000 cubic feet of air space.

Image Three, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Image Three created six tactile and visual worlds for its Feel This! event. Themed areas included Natural Wonders with galvanized tubs overflowing with moss, stone and grain; Skins, a gallery of triangular kiosks covered with "fun fur" canvas; and Transparencies, which offered an interplay of light and texture through the media of plastic, metal and fabric.

Lena Malouf Platinum Events, Sydney, Australia

Soft blue foil dolphins suspended from nylon cording, an aqua, silver and blue mylar curtain, and a mermaid were just a few elements of Underwater Fantasy. Panels of plywood were cut in irregular shapes and painted to resemble coral; these were suspended for a dramatic effect.

Poko Event Productions, Los Angeles/Ethos Design, Pasadena, Calif.

Poko Event Productions and Ethos Design focused on clean, architectural design for decor at the 2000 Emmy Awards dinner. Fifteen V-shaped panels, backlit and gradated from a soft amber to a rich red, lined the entrance hall. A powder-coated sheet metal bar was topped with Lucite and uplit in white to echo the dining tables, which were lighted from underneath through diffused amber gels.

Tribble Creative Group, Charlotte, N.C./John Daly, Inc., International, Santa Barbara, Calif.

For the grand opening of the 150-acre Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, N.C., Tribble Creative Group and John Daly Inc., International transformed a clear-span tent into a display of the four seasons. The botanical garden was brought into the tent through the use of colonnades built to match the garden arbors along with a design scheme of floral arrangements on 30-foot banquet tables and round tables.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION, OVERALL BUDGET UNDER $200,000

An Original Occasion, Los Angeles

For the launch of a new Web site that sells fine wines, An Original Occasion paired delicious foods with wines from seven areas of the world. Guests were treated to a global journey through wine and food tasting. After guests visited each station, their "passports" were stamped, showing their travels for the evening.

The Event Co., Pinegowrie, South Africa

As part of South Africa's bid to host the 2006 World Cup men's soccer tournament, The Event Co. produced the event African Dream for 450 high-profile guests. This event included entertainment by an African praise singer-a man dressed in traditional costume who announces important guests through African poetry--a 100-member African choir, performances by South African vocal star Gloria Bosman and a performance by traditional gumboot and tapper dancers.

Wow! Productions & Public Relations, Pasadena, Calif./Synaxis Meetings & Events, Los Angeles

For the 2000 WESTIE Awards, Wow! Productions and Synaxis Meetings & Events coordinated retro games, go-go dancers, a magician and look-alikes of Cher and Tina Turner. A carved-ice martini bar, a neon bar and a cigar lounge were other diversions vying for guests' attention. Throughout the event, remote camcorders recorded the fun; a live feed of the awards show was sent to the Internet.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION, OVERALL BUDGET $200,000 TO $500,000

B.C. Event Management, Burnaby, British Columbia

B.C. Event Management built a 10,000-square-foot, lightproof structure to expand the permanent ballroom and to house a separate fabric-walled ballroom, constructed of front-project cycloramas. A show of constantly changing projections appeared on these surfaces. The show used six mega-projectors, four lasers, four video projectors, 16,000 square feet of cyclorama, a high-powered dispersal system to scatter 16,000 silk leaves and snow machines to fill 825,000 cubic feet of air space.

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Guests attending Hot Havana Nights enjoyed an exciting Latin-themed venue designed to help them forget the chilly weather outside. After a short trip aboard a decorated public subway train, guests arrived in "Havana," where they enjoyed a sumptuous dinner of Latin cuisine. Centerpieces featured 20-inch-tall palm trees. Sheila E performed in the nightclub atmosphere.

G/M Productions, Chicago/Integrated Communications, Parsippany, N.J.

The team of G/M Productions and Integrated Communications designed and produced a virtual stock exchange trading floor for this corporate event. Prerecorded "news updates" were broadcast throughout the venue along with animated client graphics, a "countdown" clock and a virtual ticker showing latest stock values. "Market specialists"-staff costumed in trading jackets-assisted with the "trading."

Lena Malouf Platinum Events, Sydney, Australia

After guests were led through a "time tunnel," they learned what surprise event their employer had been keeping secret from them all year. Upon entering the dome at the end of the tunnel, they discovered Galactium, where the 40-foot rigging over the dance floor rose to a countdown, with fireworks simulating the liftoff of a spaceship. Space mannequins, rockets, spaceships and aliens added to the atmosphere.

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

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

In the face of Hurricane Floyd, Extraordinary Events produced an action-packed street fair environment-albeit wet-in Philadelphia for 10,000 VIPs of an international company. Guests donned the ponchos EE had provided them and were invited to enjoy the evening's entertainment, including performances by the bands Earth, Wind and Fire and World Class Rockers. Lighting of the Philadelphia Museum of Art provided a dramatic backdrop.

Good Gracious! Events, Los Angeles

The final evening of this corporate incentive event featured a garden-themed party attended by 1,500 people. The large private estate of the client was transformed with four tents covering a total of 25,000 square feet. One tent featured an Asian garden with a teahouse built upon a bridge over the client's pool, while another tent was filled with marble columns and a two-tiered fountain. Oversize bells with Ecuadorean roses adorned the ceiling.

Matthew David, New York

Matthew David turned a run-down stadium into a colorful theme park for a corporate picnic for 7,500 guests. A bright rainbow banner encircling the venue greeted guests as they arrived. Activities for children included acrobatics and juggling skills. Kids created sand castles, decorated totem poles and made fabric art. In the olympics area, mini-competitions such as a three-legged race were held throughout the day.

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