Special Events

GALA AWARD NOMINEES

After careful consideration, the Special Events Magazine Gala Awards judges have made their selections in each of 34 categories. Here we profile this year's nominees, spotlighting these outstanding examples of innovation and excellence. Winners in each category will be named at the Gala Awards and Celebration, Jan. 11 at The Special Event in Orlando, Fla. Look for profiles of the Gala Award winners in our March issue.

BEST FAIR/FESTIVAL

City of Garland, Garland, Texas

While cutting expenses by 15 percent over last year's event by building reusable ticket booths instead of renting multiple booths as it had in the past, and increasing the event's sponsorship funds by 10 percent, the City of Garland provided attendees with a patriotic and fun-packed Fourth of July bash. A “Hats Off to America” theme ran through the annual “Star Spangled Fourth” celebration, with highlights including a make-your-own-hat booth and daily hat parades.

JHE Production Group, Concord, N.C.

The “600 Festival” is designed to celebrate and promote NASCAR racing affiliated with Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. With less than 24 hours to set up in a seven-block area for this year's three-day event, JHE Production Group used AutoCAD maps to label each vendor spot, and assigned captains to manage load-in at each block.

WOW! Productions, Pasadena, Calif.

With only four months of lead time, WOW! Productions produced the inaugural 2002 Pasadena Cherry Blossom Festival to promote a new nonprofit organization dedicated to Japanese culture. The production company recruited a staff made up completely of volunteers and arranged for all entertainment — including an hour-long “Cherry Blossom Canteen” musical production number based on the release of WWII Japanese interns — to be donated to the event.

BEST INVITATION

Arlene Segal Designs, North Miami Beach, Fla.

To get invitees in the mood for a celestial-theme double bar mitzvah for two cousins, Arlene Segal Designs created a three-dimensional hexagonal paper kaleidoscope that incorporated images of the event's two guests of honor. Using clear vellum to print the boys' photo, the design firm ensured that enough light would show through the back of the kaleidoscope so that guests could see the image clearly.

Hannah Handmade Cards, Evanston, Ill.

An invitation for an upscale wedding in historic Williamsburg, Va., used embroidered dupioni silk with an embellishment of a satin ribbon, rose and leaf to communicate a sense of romance and ceremony. Both the bride and the bride's mother participated in creating the concept for the invitation, which featured opening “doors” bearing biblical quotes.

Famous Firsts, Pompano Beach, Fla.

An invitation from Famous Firsts was designed to meet the client's request for a blend of elegance and excitement. The astrology-theme invitation was made up of multiple pieces in a sky-blue oversize square envelope packet. The first card, featuring graceful blue script on a plain background, reflected the conservative nature of the event's religious ceremony. A second card with a rotating sphere displaying 12 zodiac symbols on one side and a depiction of the guest of honor's “universe” on the other alerted invitees to the fun they could expect at the reception.

BEST DINING TABLE DESIGN

Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

For a jungle-theme family event, Designs by Sean constructed and hand-painted linen for six individual tables. Because the meal was a buffet and tables would not have settings to fill space, the design team added color and texture with custom-painted mural linen featuring leaves, large orchids and tropical flowers. Centerpieces were five-foot-tall tree branches accented with fresh floral that corresponded with the painted designs.

Legendary Events, Atlanta

Inspired by 1930s playwright Noel Coward, Legendary Events created an updated art deco theme for its contribution to an annual fund-raiser benefiting the Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS. For the “Dining by Design” event, where guests dine at one-of-a-kind custom-decorated 10-seat tables, Legendary created a series of intimate two-person dining spaces using configurations of raised Plexiglas shelves.

MGM Mirage Events, Las Vegas

A visit to a lakeside home by New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse — a prize picked up by the client for $100,000 at a fund-raising auction — was the occasion for a colorful table design by MGM Mirage Events. To bring Cajun atmosphere to the Cape Cod-style home, the design team moved all furniture out of the waterfront living room and installed a 28-foot-long table, then covered it with textured linen accented by a corrugated central runner.

BEST FOOD PRESENTATION

Creative Cuisine, Columbus, Ohio

The colors black and white made up the food-presentation palette of an Ansel Adams-theme gala for the Dayton Children's Medical Center, Dayton, Ohio. Creative Cuisine played out the theme with passed hors d'oeuvre such as blackened tenderloin canapés with horseradish cream served on sheets of slate. A plated dinner included chicken breast stuffed with white Calimyrna figs, black Mission figs, goat cheese and black walnuts, presented on a black-banded china plate.

Ridgewells, Bethesda, Md.

At an event to showcase Washington's FedExField arena to local event planners, Ridgewells presented a five-course spring-themed menu. Courses included morel flan with white truffle oil served inside an eggshell, a trio of ceviches on a bed of seaweed salad, and spring greens with yuzu emulsion served in a green margarita glass.

Culinary Capers Catering, Vancouver, British Columbia

With only 45 minutes to set up a client event at the Vancouver Aquarium for foodservice company Sodexho, Culinary Capers treated buffet stations like individual events, each with its own staff and rental order, to maximize setup efficiency. Food designed to meet the client's demand for innovative presentation included warm butternut-and-pear soup served in demitasse cups.

Someone's in the Kitchen, Tarzana, Calif.

With “and baby makes three” as a motto for this upscale shower, Someone's in the Kitchen set out to create a menu based on trios. The summer luncheon started with a trio of chilled summer soups — gazpacho, vichyssoise and watermelon-beet soup — served in baby food jars decorated with hand-tied pink ribbons and crocheted flowers. After a main course of chicken-salad-stuffed artichokes, guests finished with a trio of trifles served in white chocolate baby blocks with removable lids.

BEST OFF-PREMISE CATERED EVENT

Chef's Expressions, Timonium, Md.

The harmonious pairing of wine and food was the idea behind a dinner created by Chef's Expressions for the chairman of investment firm W.P. Carey. Held at the Peabody Library in Baltimore, the event featured such matches as Pommery “Blue Sleeves” champagne with sturgeon caviar, Calera chardonnay with lobster-filled ravioli in a corn-milk sauce, and Taylor Fladgate port with molten chocolate cake.

Classic World Events, San Jose, Calif./Chef's Expressions, Timonium, Md.

Originally expected to bring in about $6,000 at the American Cancer Society's Cattle Baron's Ball, this cocktail reception auctioned off at $225,000. As a result, Classic World, producers of the event, had to put together a party with a perceived value of $4,500 per guest, rather than $120 per guest as initially planned. The resulting bash, titled “A Gallery of Artful Cuisine,” held at the chateau-style Grandview Estate in San Jose, featured such highlights as a replica of Rodin's “The Thinker” carved from Sage Derby cheese and a Hercules sculpture covered in lobsters and surrounded by lobster canapés with Beluga caviar.

BEST CORPORATE/COMPANY PICNIC

An Original Occasion, Los Angeles

Fountain Valley, Calif.-based Fountain Valley Regional Hospital called on An Original Occasion to entertain 3,000 people of multiple ethnicities and ages at its five-hour 30th anniversary picnic. The production team brought in seven local restaurants, five different music groups and a range of interactive games — crawl-through inflatables and rock-climbing walls included — to appeal to the diverse crowd.

Eclectic Events International, Toronto

For an event to thank the staff and board of client Genisystems, Eclectic Events designed an exotic “Moon Over Morocco” theme that featured Middle Eastern musicians, belly dancers, a henna tattoo artist and a psychic. A last-minute request by the client company's president for a live tiger — originally planned as part of the event but later scrapped due to budget concerns — sent Eclectic scrambling to find a handler.

Littlefield Hospitality/Word of Mouth Catering, Austin, Texas

For the Blanton Ball — an 800-guest fund-raiser for the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art in Austin — Littlefield Hospitality's Word of Mouth catering division transformed a university gymnasium into a venue fit for a gala. Arriving guests first gathered in a tent adjoining the gym for a cocktail reception, then ascended tented stairs to enter the main building for a synchronized-service dinner featuring beef tenderloin with wild mushroom ragoût followed by butterscotch-chocolate parfait with burnt almond brittle.

BEST CATERED EVENT PRODUCED BY A HOTEL BANQUET DEPARTMENT

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

The Chicago Marriott's “Red Hot Chicago” client-appreciation party also served to kick off the property's yearlong “Experience Red Hot Chicago” marketing campaign. Designed to appeal to all senses, the event featured hand massages, flame dancers, ethnic foods representing different Chicago neighborhoods and a soundtrack of approaching trains. An overhead prop structure of Chicago's “El” train tracks set the urban tone at the event entrance.

Eagle Ridge Inn & Resort, Galena, Ill.

A proposal submitted inside a glass bottle along with a fresh gardenia, Tahitian photos and a “black pearl” got things off to a great start for a tropical-theme gala catered by Eagle Ridge Inn & Resort for a college in Iowa. For the 160-guest donor-appreciation event, the property's banquet staff transformed a Midwestern lake beach into a Tahitian shore using highboy tables skirted with raffia, a canopy of white sheer fabric sprinkled with starfish and a 12-foot-high “bamboo” wall made of more than 300 carpet tubes.

The San Luis Resort, Spa and Conference Center, Galveston, Texas

With “Renaissance British Isles” as its theme, the annual San Luis Mardi Gras celebration last year offered a spectrum of U.K.-themed entertainers from English choirboys to a full-scale Beatles tribute. Among challenges to the production team, 16 waiters had to be trained to march to a driving beat for the “Yellow Submarine” dessert presentation.

BEST FUND-RAISING EVENT

Kim Floren & Green, Long Beach, Calif.

Since its inception in 1996, “Shaqtacular” has served as the primary fund-raiser benefiting Athletes and Entertainers for Kids — a mentoring organization for disadvantaged children. A core team of 175 staff working with more than 100 sponsors and donors put on the 2001 event, which brought 2,500 guests, celebrities and entertainers to Universal Studios Hollywood, Hollywood, Calif., for a day of playful sports competitions.

Legendary Events, Atlanta

For “Dining by Design,” Legendary Events coordinated 50 designers to create one-of-a-kind 10-seat tables. On event night, the team orchestrated the removal of more than 500 place settings, 1,500 pieces of crystal and more than 2,500 pieces of flatware from tables laden with elaborate decor to accommodate the serving of a gourmet meal featuring grilled prawns and beef Wellington.

Timot McGonagle, Nashville, Tenn.

For “Artrageous,” Timot McGonagle and crew recreated ancient Egypt inside Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center. In researching his event theme, McGonagle pored over 30 books and 50 hours of documentary film footage. The resulting event featured more than 150 hieroglyphic panels made from custom-colorized computer graphics, a 100-foot-tall Egyptian temple structure and a motorized pyramid scrim on stage.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Hired by the Hong Kong Tourist Board to create a Los Angeles event promoting tourism to Hong Kong, Extraordinary Events designed an evening of Asian enticements at Paramount Studios, Hollywood, Calif. To enhance the authenticity of an historical fashion show, the production company brought in a movement specialist who trained clothing models in the gestures of the eras their clothes represented.

USA Hosts, New Orleans

The Louisiana Superdome set the backdrop for the Pow Wow Mardi Gras Extravaganza, produced by USA Hosts for the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau in conjunction with the International Tourism Association's annual convention. For the event, USA Hosts softened the 166,000-square-foot concrete expanse of the Superdome with a virtual ceiling of giant inflatable Mardi Gras beads and a huge selection of interactive entertainers, including hat-makers and tattoo artists.

Timot McGonagle, Nashville, Tenn.

For “Artrageous,” Timot McGonagle and crew recreated ancient Egypt inside Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center. In researching his event theme, McGonagle pored over 30 books and 50 hours of documentary film footage. The resulting event featured more than 150 hieroglyphic panels made from custom-colorized computer graphics, a 100-foot-tall Egyptian temple structure and a motorized pyramid scrim on stage.

BEST WEDDING, BUDGET UNDER $500 PER GUEST

Xena Productions, Dublin, Ireland

To satisfy its client's request that a Christmas motif pervade her wedding, Xena Productions brought holiday elements into every component of the event. At a church scented with cinnamon incense, a 12-member choir serenaded guests with Christmas carols. At the reception, guests sat at tables dressed in shades of gold, red and green for a dinner reception featuring roast turkey and a cake of made of gingerbread men.

Carolyn Dempsey Design, Greenwich, Conn.

A chuppah of chiffon-draped poles decorated with serpentine garlands of white hydrangea, champagne roses and celadon cymbidium orchids helped fulfill the client's request for the feeling of a lush garden at this mid-winter wedding. To enhance the intimacy of the evening event, the design crew installed white chiffon panels along a wall of windows at the country club venue, eliminating a solid block of darkness.

Frank Event Design, Chicago

Frank Event Design worked with a “contemporary winter” theme for this 250-guest December wedding. The design firm lit the event room in shades of ice blue and filled it with square, round and rectangular tables dressed in silver satin with striped chiffon overlays. Hundreds of white tulips flown in from Amsterdam made up centerpieces that varied in design from table to table.

BEST WEDDING, BUDGET $500 PER GUEST AND ABOVE

Barbara Wallace Weddings, Corona del Mar, Calif.

With only three months of lead time to plan a California wedding for an out-of-town bride, Barbara Wallace Weddings designed an elegant seaside event for 215 guests. Held at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, the wedding included an outdoor ceremony that closed with the release of 20 white doves.

MGM Mirage Events, Las Vegas

Intent on letting mother-of-the-bride and MGM Mirage Events vice president Cheryl Fish enjoy the celebration of her daughter's nuptials, designer David Tutera pitched in to help create a lavish Las Vegas affair. A ceremony at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas featured an aisle lined with 16 floral-laden trees. At the dinner that followed, the bride and groom dined at an X-shaped table lined with a runner of richly colored flowers.

The Catering Co., Chapel Hill, N.C.

The bride's love of French colonial-era architecture in Vietnam inspired The Catering Co. to use four tents to replicate the open-air spaces found in houses of that design. Surrounding an English-style garden at the bride's parents' home, the tents sat on eight-foot-high sub-floors and were decorated with fabric and bamboo ceilings, antique furnishings and mosquito-netting panels.

BEST MULTIPLE-DAY INCENTIVE EVENT

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

For the Washington Mutual President's Club program, Extraordinary Events put together five nights and six days of entertainment at the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, Mexico, for 400 of the company's top employees. Each day of the program, guests received a token symbolizing one of the five natural elements; by week's end the tokens made up a unique take-home gift telling the story of the Mayan god of day and night.

Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

An incentive program for Chevrolet at the Phoenician Hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., also met the client's demand for a showcase of multiple branding opportunities. Night One honored the 50th anniversary of the Corvette with an outdoor event highlighted by a display of Corvettes representing five generations. Night Two focused on the program's Southwest locale with display vehicles surrounded by hitching posts and haystacks. Night Three went for glamour, with a display of Chevrolet prototype cars and a surprise performance by Huey Lewis.

Patti Coons & Associates Event Marketing Group, Orlando, Fla./Lori Parks Corporate Events, Bloomfield, Mich.

Guests got a chance to return to the idylls of summer camp at the “Camp Woes Be Gone” incentive program produced for Jay Alix & Associates. Held at the new Ritz-Carlton in Greensboro, Ga., the program featured four days of fun, including a “Feast in the Forest” event where “campers” enjoyed a water-ski show and a lakeside meal at tent tables topped by giant ladybugs, fishing poles, moss and pine cones.

Rare Indigo, Vancouver, British Columbia

With a winter incentive program for Verizon Information Services, Rare Indigo worked to wipe out the memory of a previously planned incentive trip to Paris the client canceled in the wake of 9/11. The six-day program, based at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, included an “Alpen Fest” event that featured 12 skiers performing a choreographed torchlight parade down a mountain face lit by gobo projections of the company's logo.

BEST FLORAL DESIGN

Emerald City Designs, Farmington Hills, Mich.

For an August wedding, Emerald City Designs used oversize topiary arrangements to create an outdoor atmosphere inside a waterfront country club. Centerpieces were formed from handcrafted 32-inch-high stands made of natural oak limbs and curly willow, which supported bright arrangements of Asiatic lilies, dahlias, zinnias, Fuji mums and hanging amaranthus.

Kehoe Designs, Chicago

For “Tropical Whirl,” a fund-raising gala for Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, Kehoe Designs worked closely with vendors to comply with the client's demand for floral and foliage that would be safe to feed to zoo animals after the event. All plant products had to be researched carefully for any traceable toxins, and leaf-shine chemicals, staples and glue were prohibited.

MGM Mirage Events, Las Vegas/David Tutera, New York

To create a springtime wedding atmosphere inside the Bellagio hotel, Las Vegas, a floral crew wired cherry blossoms, roses, peonies, ranunculus and other blooms to 16 aisle-lining trees. An X-shaped bridal party dinner table featured a runner of flowers in shades of burgundy, burnt orange and chartreuse mixed with fruits, candles and ropes of crystal beads.

BEST TENT INSTALLATION

Celebration Rentals, Pipersville, Pa.

Celebration Rentals set up more than 23,000 square feet of tenting in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park for “Scantastic 2002” — a charity fund-raiser. To keep the 1,500 guests, 120 restaurant vendors, 100 volunteers and more than 20 entertainment groups under cover, the rental operator installed a 60-by-240-foot twin peaked pole tent, plus 13 additional connecting tents and marquees.

Napa Valley Party Services, St. Helena, Calif.

For the grand opening of Copia, The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts, in Napa, Calif., Napa Valley Party Services provided 94 structures for a total of 30,350 square feet of tented space. Structures included 69 10-by-10-foot festival tents, which had to be anchored to existing fence posts to protect Copia's new asphalt.

De Boer Structures, Kennesaw, Ga.

Working for clients Audi AG, MG Rover, and Rolls Royce Motor Cars & Bentley Motor Cars, De Boer created VIP hospitality structures in conjunction with the “24 Hours of Le Mans” racing event in France. For Audi, De Boer installed a 6,500-square-foot Delta structure complete with massage areas and a courtyard with a pond. For MG Rover, the company provided a Double Decker structure and a Chalet structure that housed a nightclub.

BEST USE OF LIGHTING

Brite Ideas Lighting, Irvine, Calif.

For Siebel System's and Avaya's “An Evening of Innovation” event at Chicago's Field Museum, Brite Ideas, hired by production company Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif., had first to protect the museum's historic grounds with hundreds of sheets of plywood that could accommodate lighting equipment vehicles. Inside the 140-by-365-foot main tent, Brite Ideas used moving lights and image-effect tools to create the feel of the interior of a working kaleidoscope.

Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

At the opening general session for a multiple-day incentive program for client EDS, Designs by Sean used Cyberlights, studio spots, track spots and Varilights to create the feel of a sunrise inside a ballroom at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, Calif. For the program's black-tie awards gala, the production company used 22 projectors to create seven different film scenes on the ceiling of the event's 200-by-82-foot tent.

Express Productions, Gretna, La./USA Hosts, New Orleans

To light the 166,000-square-foot expanse of the Louisiana Superdome for the Pow Wow Mardi Gras Extravaganza, Express Productions had to prepare 1,200 feet of lighting truss and 60 chain motors, and coordinate the 12 union riggers required to complete the setup.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN TECHNICAL SUPPORT

BRAVO! Entertainment, Dallas/VIP Events, Dallas

For the City of Dallas' July Fourth TrinityFest, BRAVO! and VIP had to coordinate staging, sound, electricity supply and fireworks in a region known for rough weather and high mid-summer temperatures. The team installed an 8-foot-high stage to elevate performers, since the budget didn't allow for large projection screens at the 800,000-square-foot outdoor venue, and weighted the stage with more than 12 tons of concrete to provide ballast.

Creative Technology, Van Nuys, Calif./Oligopoly Productions, Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Two identical “rave party”-theme events — one in Atlanta and another in San Diego — made up Washington Mutual's “Rave On WaMu” sales meeting. At the Atlanta event, the technical team used multiple PIGI projectors to display photos and graphics on seven 15-foot-wide joined screens and two peripheral cycloramas, giving the seated audience a panoramic view.

Go West Event Productions, Westlake Village, Calif.

Comprehensive planning could not anticipate the complete power outage covering 10 square blocks of the Las Vegas strip that occurred 22 minutes into the WellPoint Agent Sales EXPO's most important program, being held at the Bally's Hotel Convention Center. Keeping the audience calm, the Go West team opened the side doors of the 40,000-square-foot space, allowing sunlight to flood in, before eventually receiving the call to halt the program and release the audience.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN LOGISTICS

Clear Channel Entertainment Special Events, St. Louis

A Louisiana Superdome audience of 75,000 and a television audience of more than 800 million experienced the halftime performance by rock group U2 at Super Bowl XXXVI, rescheduled from January to February in the aftermath of 9/11. Show producer Clear Channel coordinated more than 150 full-time staff members, 350 volunteers and more than 3,000 cast members for the 9/11-inspired halftime program. The dramatic highlight of the program was a 120-by-60-foot kabuki scrim displaying victims' names scrolled by 12 PIGI projectors.

Metallic Design Studio, Marrietta, Ga./Tents Unlimited, Atlanta

For the wedding of an interior designer's daughter, Metallic Design Studio and Tents Unlimited worked to fulfill the client's request for two temporary environments that would create the illusion of permanent structures. The production team installed a dinner tent made of nine 22-foot-wide aluminum-channel frames, then outfitted it with a hanging joist system to support hanging trays of fresh tulips.

Imagination, London

For “Fiesta Marbella,” Ford's pan-European launch of its new Fiesta automobile, Imagination produced a multi-day event for 17,000 delegates from 21 countries. In creating the program, the crew coordinated 503 presenters, developed 74 individual scripts in 19 languages, produced 13.5 gigabytes of PowerPoint presentations, and oversaw the fueling, cleaning and maintenance of 200 vehicles.

Vok Dams Gruppe, Wuppertal, Germany

Choreographing seven female performers to represent the “seven deadly sins,” Vok Dams produced an event emphasizing sex appeal and danger for the launch of the new, ultra-fast Lamborghini Murcielago. For the 600-guest event, more than 80 Vok Dams staff members coordinated travel logistics and hotel bookings, maintained a 24-hour multilingual guest hotline, and produced staging that included the construction of two 66-by-89-by-39-foot cubes designed to serve as a backdrop for lighting and special effects.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN EVENT RENTAL SUPPORT

Abbey Event Services, Rancho Dominguez, Calif.

With three days for load-in and less than four hours for setup of some areas at Universal Studios Hollywood, Hollywood, Calif., Abbey provided stages, trussing, market umbrellas, tenting, custom banners and more for “Shaqtacular” — an event benefiting nonprofit youth mentoring organization Athletes and Entertainers for Kids. The crew worked with more than 100 sponsor representatives to ensure that every participant's rental needs were met.

Ducky-Bob's Party & Tent Rentals, Carrollton, Texas

Hired by Garland, Texas-based DMC Fun Factory Decorations & Special Events to provide rental support for the TrinityFest July Fourth celebration in Dallas, Ducky-Bob's set up the 12,500-square-foot Pavilion Tent for special entertainment, 40,000 square feet of VIP sponsor tenting to accommodate 650 guests, and more than 16,000 square feet of tenting to shade 1,500 corporate sponsors and their guests.

Thorns Group, London

For the Brit Awards — the U.K. music industry's biggest annual awards ceremony — Thorns Group helped transform London's Earl Court Arena to accommodate 3,400 celebrities and guests for an evening of honors and entertainment. The rental operation had just 23 days of lead time to prepare for load-in and setup, which included custom-painting 3,400 chairs.

BEST NEW, INNOVATIVE EVENT PRODUCT/TECHNOLOGY

Creations Fantastic, Macon, Ga.

Using cloth spun in widths of 10 feet, Creations Fantastic has created a series of sectional backdrops and door surrounds. The panoramic room backdrops are made up of 5-foot-high sections attached with zippers. Backdrop sections can join together to form a single image, though each section is designed to work as a stand-alone image as well.

ShowPro, Hollywood, Calif.

ShowPro created its Custom Media system to work with the Image Pro, developed by Los Angeles-based Rosco Laboratories. Together, the two components are intended to make up an image projection system for events on a tight budget. ShowPro Custom Media are full-color transparencies that are inserted inside the Image Pro — a molded plastic device outfitted with a patent-pending fan (to prevent the transparency from melting) that fits inside a standard Leko theatrical light.

Transformit, Gorham, Maine

Inspired by musical symbols, Fascinating Rhythms is a collection of nine different tension fabric components, which Transformit created by translating client requests for a variety of individual shapes into sketches, then scale models. Designed to be mixed and matched to user specifications, the component pieces can be used as free-standing units or hung as canopies, and can reach a height of 16 feet without lift or assembly.

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

Designs by Sean, Dania, Fla.

Working with an “Underwater Wonderland” theme, Designs by Sean created a dance performance and visual display for the New Year's Eve Orange Bowl Parade in downtown Miami. The night before the parade, a patient choreographer worked with the performance group to put together a routine involving brightly costumed sea horses, anemones, mermaids and a life-size lobster.

Airstar Space Lighting, Orlando, Fla./T. Skorman Productions, Orlando

For the highlight of an annual fund-raising concert on Nantucket Island, Mass., by the Boston Pops orchestra, Airstar worked with T. Skorman Productions to create “Spectacle de la Lune” — a customized performance involving an aerialist suspended from a lighted balloon 100 feet off the ground without nets or harnesses.

The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, Las Vegas

To celebrate a couple's 10th wedding anniversary, the Venetian blended elements from historical Venice and the film “Dangerous Beauty” to produce an original performance rich with drama and romance. Accompanied by a mezzo-soprano and tenor singing Andrea Bocelli's “Con Te Partiro,” the couple floated down the hotel's Grand Canal, arriving at an arch of wrought ir

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