Special Events

Gala Award Winners

BEST OFF-PREMISE CATERED EVENT THE MOVING VENUE CATERERS, London Lend Lease Projects developed a three-day festival to launch Bluewater, Europe's largest retail and leisure destination in Kent, in southern England. The Moving Venue Caterers created the menu for three events. The first was a dinner for CEOs of major corporations; the second was a thank-you dinner for those involved in the design and construction of the Bluewater; and the third was a breakfast to welcome the new management of the stores within Bluewater.

BEST CATERED EVENT PRODUCED BY A HOTEL CATERING DEPARTMENT HARITH PRODUCTIONS, Oreland, Pa./ATLANTIS PARADISE ISLAND RESORT, the Bahamas Greek mythology was the theme for a company's awards dinner. During the evening, five courses told the story of "Poseidon's Underwater Kingdom." Waitstaff, dressed in blue robes similar to those worn by Poseidon's Kingsmen, presented each course choreographed to synchronized music. The menu included "Poseidon's Trident" and the "Marriage of Land and Sea," depicted by a trilogy of grouper, beef and lamb. Between courses, performers costumed in blue coral appliqued body suits moved around the dance floor creating a living, underwater reef.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS, Sherman Oaks, Calif. Extraordinary Events was called upon to create and produce a history-making event for China: the largest public festival ever held at the Mall of the Americas in Minneapolis, marking the first joint tourism promotion between Hong Kong and mainland China. The event, designed to bolster U.S. tourism throughout China, comprised two components-an exclusive, black-tie VIP opening reception, followed by an 11-day China Travel & Folklore Festival.

BEST FUND-RAISING EVENT GOOD WORKS & OTHER ENTERPRISES, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Good Works & Other Enterprises designed, introduced and staged the First Calgary Celebrity Waiters Luncheon for the Leukemia Research Fund of Canada. Each "celebrity" waiter made a donation and invited eight to 10 guests for a "free lunch," which included a live auction and a mystery bid auction. The luncheon raised more than $274,000 and established the Leukemia Research Fund of Canada's presence in the city, organizers said.

MOST OUTSTANDING SPECTACLE MIRAGE EVENTS, Las Vegas The Botanical Gardens at Bellagio in Las Vegas feature an ever-changing display of fragrant flowers and abundant plants. Twelve times a year, the 20,860-square-foot garden changes seasonal color, scents and architectural structures, filling a luminous space. More than 14,000 potted plants are individually grown for every change-out. Mirage Events maintains the fresh floral daily by replacing every wilted flower or leaf. A rotating staff of five floral designers must complete this task by 7 a.m. in order to be ready for spectators to visit by 8 a.m. each day.

BEST MULTIPLE-DAY INCENTIVE EVENT JOHN DALY INC., INTERNATIONAL, Santa Barbara, Calif./LORI PARKS CORPORATE EVENTS, Bloomfield, Mich. The theme for a conference on global economics at a golf resort was "Global Links '99." The goal was to showcase countries in a way guests hadn't seen them before by taking the most intricate details of each culture and transforming them into a montage of color, excitement, drama and energy. Never leaving the resort, guests were taken on a tour of Europe's most noted countries, then on a trek through the Orient.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION, OVERALL BUDGET $30,000 TO $100,000 TAMAR PRODUCTIONS, Chicago To honor its CEO for 35 years of service, McDonald's Corp. asked Tamar Productions to create the "Ultimate Beach Party," incorporating the best of Atlantic City's Boardwalk, California's Venice Beach and Chicago's Navy Pier. The hotel ballroom wasn't available, so Tamar carved out its own ballroom inside the hotel's Olympic-sized lap pool. It was drained of water, covered with turquoise AstroTurf, then filled with sand and a custom-built 40-foot sailboat. The vessel became a stage for the band, its sail a slide-show projection screen. Amid palm trees and surfboards, guests danced the night away to the sounds of a Beach Boys cover band.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION, OVERALL BUDGET $100,000 TO $300,000 JOHN DALY INC., INTERNATIONAL, Santa Barbara, Calif./LORI PARKS CORPORATE EVENTS, Bloomfield, Mich. The "Asian Link" was the theme for a final night dinner that capped a three-day international program, "Global Links '99," at a golf resort. The setting included a Japanese tea garden with fountain and costumed musicians. A Chinese dance troupe and a "princess" led the guests into "China" for a traditional dinner. Afterward, the dance troupe led the way to the bustling city of "Hong Kong" for cordials, cigars and dancing.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION, OVERALL BUDGET ABOVE $300,000 AN ORIGINAL OCCASION, Los Angeles The film Enemy of the State was the theme of an opening party for The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. Taking the line from the movie "It's not paranoia if they really are after you," the premise was based on a theme of high-tech surveillance and the growing obsolescence of personal privacy. The 6,000 attendees were "transported" into a world where their every movement was monitored by covert wireless surveillance cameras. Through an integration of light, sound, video and decor, guests were reminded of the presence of "Big Brother."

BEST CORPORATE/COMPANY PICNIC FESTIVEX, Alymer, Quebec, Canada For a company picnic, the client wanted to create an interactive social environment where families could experience a vast array of different sensations. Using the concept of "time and space" to celebrate the last picnic of the millennium, Festivex created "An Amazing Day." The focal point was a giant inflatable maze inside which the guests could take a walk through time. A multitude of interactive and cooperative activities and games, midway rides, children's performances, and enticing food rounded out the day.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL THE FULL EFFECT, Bedford, England This birthday celebration for Prince Leo of Lignac, a Dutch millionaire, and his guests took place in Thailand. It consisted of a lavish, jungle-themed party, including a huge volcano among temple ruins, live animals, jungle warriors and witch doctors, and a grand fireworks spectacle. The evening followed a story line of the Prince's capture by a warrior and concluded as the Prince conquered the warrior and was paraded ceremoniously through the jungle encampment as the volcano erupted behind him.

BEST WEDDING UNDER $30,000 CULINARY CAPERS CATERING/PARTYART, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada For their wedding, the bride and groom wanted to showcase their garden throughout the ceremony and reception. To accommodate their wish, Culinary Capers Catering and PartyArt, its decor division, put the dining tent on the tennis court and removed the fence to provide a clear view of the garden. Candlelight illuminated both the garden and the tented dining area. A Tuscan buffet featured delicacies such as herb-crusted rack of lamb with a port demi-glace. A tiramisu wedding cake and a heart-shaped Pavlova highlighted a moonlight dessert buffet.

BEST WEDDING ABOVE $30,000 JOHN DALY INC., INTERNATIONAL, Santa Barbara, Calif. Fresh flowers burst out of every corner of the home for this wedding. The Daly team created a spectacular aisle, placing fresh flower petals on top of a hand-painted surface for an Oriental carpet effect. The carpet incorporated designs and images that were meaningful to the couple. For the reception, nine 36-inch tables were draped to the floor with a patterned cloth. A harpist performed from a platform in the upper garden. Georgian silver with flower accents, fine crystal, and Missen and fine china constituted the dinnerware.

BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT CONCEPT AND EXECUTION, ENTERTAINMENT BUDGET UNDER $20,000 HARITH PRODUCTIONS, Oreland, Pa./DESIGNS BY SEAN, Dania, Fla. In combining an indoor ballroom and outdoor lakeside beach, Harith Productions and Designs by Sean created an entertainment spectacle at the newly renovated Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas. Mystical dragons and warriors from the Lost City of Atlantis combined with theatrical music, special effects and the existing elaborate surroundings of the hotel to re-create the drama of this fable. Guests not only were entertained, but they took part in the entertainment.

BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT CONCEPT AND EXECUTION, ENTERTAINMENT BUDGET $20,000 TO $50,000 PATTI COONS & ASSOCIATES, Orlando, Fla./T. SKORMAN PRODUCTIONS, Orlando, Fla. The Special Event 1999 culminated in the Gala Awards Ceremony & Celebration. Using the upcoming millennium as an opportunity to reflect on the history of the special event industry, the entertainment began with a custom rhythmic production number that traced the last 1,000 years using drums from around the world. The drums included ancient Polynesian, Japanese taiko, tribal African, American Indian, American Revolutionary, Latin percussion and 1940s Big Band. All drummers were dressed in authentic period costumes. The piece ended with five Stomp-style performers joining the drummers, symbolizing the union of the past and present in today's event world.

BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT CONCEPT AND EXECUTION, ENTERTAINMENT BUDGET ABOVE $50,000 THE FULL EFFECT, Bedford, England This birthday celebration for Prince Leo of Lignac, a Dutch millionaire, and his guests took place in Thailand. It consisted of a lavish, jungle-themed party, including a huge volcano among temple ruins, live animals, jungle warriors and witch doctors, and a grand fireworks spectacle. The evening followed a story line of the Prince's capture by a warrior and concluded as the Prince conquered the warrior and was paraded ceremoniously through the jungle encampment as the volcano erupted behind him.

BEST THEATRICAL ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTION PATTI COONS & ASSOCIATES, Orlando, Fla./T. SKORMAN PRODUCTIONS, Orlando, Fla. The Special Event 1999 culminated in the Gala Awards Ceremony & Celebration. Using the upcoming millennium as an opportunity to reflect on the history of the special event industry, the entertainment began with a custom rhythmic production number that traced the last 1,000 years using drums from around the world. The entertainment moved into production dance numbers from the 1940s, '60s, '70s and '80s, performed by a live band and accompanied by dancers, black-light painters, a five-person comedy team recreating the finale of The Full Monty, world-class acrobats and a high-energy emcee.

BEST FAIR/FESTIVAL CITY OF GARLAND, Garland, Texas Garland's annual Star Spangled Fourth is touted as North Texas' best array of fun and family entertainment. The three-day event attracted more than 130,000 people and coverage from every major television network affiliate. In its 10th year, the July street festival featured more than 50 food booths, entertainment stages graced by national recording artists, nightly choreographed fireworks, lasers and "syncrolites," an arts and crafts section, and an invitation-only parade. Admission, parking, concerts and shuttles were free.

BEST FLORAL DESIGN MIRAGE EVENTS, Las Vegas The Botanical Gardens at Bellagio in Las Vegas feature an ever-changing display of fragrant flowers and abundant plants. Twelve times a year, the 20,860-square-foot garden changes seasonal color, scents and architectural structures. More than 14,000 potted plants are individually grown for every change-out. Mirage Events maintains the fresh floral daily by replacing every wilted flower or leaf. A rotating staff of five floral designers must complete this task by 7 a.m. in order to be ready for spectators to visit by 8 a.m. each day.

BEST DINING TABLE DESIGN DAVID TUTERA, New York This table was the premier floral design at a dinner for 10 close friends of the client. The idea was to create a fantasy garden high inside an antique dining room. First, Tutera and his team color-blocked a carpet of floral using foam board, which they then covered using a pave technique. The floral blanket covered a handmade silk damask tablecloth and a bed of moss. In a stylish combination of old and new elements, fine china, crystal and flatware sat atop custom-cut slate place mats.

BEST THEME DECOR, BUDGET UNDER $10,000 BT EVENT PRODUCTIONS, Indianapolis/PERFECT SURROUNDINGS, Newport, R.I. The annual National Truck Equipment Association Conference and its theme, "Driving the Future," needed a futuristic, eclectic design. The design team from BT Event Productions created a story of a new art form described through raw materials and contrasting textures. The goal was to challenge many to wonder "What is it?" and "What does it mean?"

BEST THEME DECOR, BUDGET $10,000 TO $25,000 PJ HUMMEL & CO., Tacoma, Wash. "Camp Subaru" was pitched deep in the forests surrounding a lodge 200 miles outside Seattle. A product launch for Subaru's new all-terrain vehicles, this event was patterned by PJ Hummel & Co. after the luxurious safari outings of the 1920s, but with a distinctive vintage Northwest twist. Each of the 25 canvas tents held a treasure trove of memorabilia, from turn-of-the-century steamer trunks to authentic antique furniture to creamy gauze mosquito netting. A massive dining tent featured a Northwest-inspired buffet decorated with a 6-foot-tall twig arbor, antique paintings of local mountains, baskets and flannels.

BEST THEME DECOR, BUDGET $25,000 TO $50,000 MIRAGE EVENTS, Las Vegas The streets of Paris came to life in Las Vegas during a "Fabulous at Fifty" birthday party at The Mirage hotel. "Moulin Suzanne" was the theme for the client, a French teacher. Guests wined and dined at themed sidewalk cafes and bar/bistro vignettes. Hand-sculpted reproductions of Limoges boxes created unique centerpieces indicative of the honoree's collection. Hundreds of red roses accented the tables and ballroom. As a surprise gift from the guest of honor's husband, French singer Enrico Marcias gave a performance.

BEST THEME DECOR, BUDGET ABOVE $50,000 JOHN DALY INC., INTERNATIONAL, Santa Barbara, Calif./LORI PARKS CORPORATE EVENTS, Bloomfield, Mich. The "Asian Link" formed the theme for this final-night dinner that capped a three-day international program titled "Global Links '99." The setting included a cocktail reception in an authentic Japanese tea garden, dinner in the lavish setting of "China," and finally on to the bustling city of "Hong Kong" for cordials, cigars and dancing. The carefully researched production was based on examination of books, videos and magazines along with interviews and visits to Chinese and Japanese communities.

BEST BUFFET DESIGN CHICAGO MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN, Chicago/THE MEETINGHOUSE COMPANIES, Elmhurst, Ill. Small-town America inspired the creative team to develop the theme "Our Town USA" for the 1999 customer-appreciation party of Marriott International and Sodhexho Marriott. Laid out over 16,000 square feet of the Chicago Marriott Downtown, 22 truckloads of props and lighting created two restaurants, a corner bar, flower shop, deli, wine garden, ice cream parlor, candy store and a functional barber shop. A Dixieland band guided the 800 guests through the streets and to a swing party at Town Square.

BEST TENT INSTALLATION DE BOER STRUCTURES, Atlanta The 1999 G8 conference in Germany, involving heads of state and 1,000 journalists, took place in a Tent Village from De Boer. The installation featured its newly designed Millennium Dome, boasting a diameter of 165 feet. Connected to this structure was a 165-foot clear-span with a built-in first floor, which created the required space. Connected to the clear-span was the company's Double Decker structure, creating a total of 97,000 square feet of usable area on a 65,000-square-foot piece of property.

BEST USE OF LIGHTING PATTI COONS & ASSOCIATES, Orlando, Fla./BIG WAVE INTERNATIONAL, Roxbury, Conn. CURRENT EVENTS INTERNATIONAL, Norristown, Pa./RICHARDSON DESIGNS, Gotha, Fla./ Combining the talents of seven different lighting companies, designers Shawn Richardson and Ralph Traxler, CSEP, created stunning yet cohesive looks for The Special Event 1999 Gala Awards Ceremony & Celebration. Transformit panels and fabric pieces were used in place of hard sets, allowing the designers the maximum leeway to create the various scenes through the evening. In addition to Vari lights and cyberlights, individual urban chandeliers hung over each table, creating an intimate nightclub feel.

BEST INVITATION STEVE KEMBLE EVENT DESIGN, Dallas/GLENN RANDLE DESIGN, San Francisco This invitation beckoned recipients to an exciting party at "Studio 54" in Las Vegas. The team designed the 16-by-12-inch invitation in a large size and mailed it without an envelope so that guests would perceive it as a magazine reminiscent of the hottest periodical of the Studio 54 era, Interview. In keeping with the look and feel of the magazine, the invitation was filled with full-page black-and-white photos of celebrities who routinely frequented Studio 54, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, Diana Ross and Halston. More than 2,000 invitations were mailed, and 78 percent of invitees attended the event.

BEST BALLOON CREATION INTERNATIONAL BALLOON ARTS CONVENTION, Columbus, Ohio More than 200 delegates of the 1999 International Balloon Arts Convention constructed a balloon mural at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, Rosemont, Ill. After 10 hours, all 70,884 balloons were inflated. It took until the following day to assemble them all. The result was a mural 60 feet wide and nine stories high. The mural was a cityscape with the moon behind it, designed by Rocky Toomey and titled "New Year's Eve 2000." Judges strictly monitored the task so the results could be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN TECHNICAL SUPPORT PATTI COONS & ASSOCIATES, Orlando, Fla./EMPIRE FORCE EVENTS, New York/EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS, Sherman Oaks, Calif. A whirlwind tour of 10 cities in little more than three weeks served as the pre-launch of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2000 automobile line. The technological support included multiple sets of equipment that had to arrive in the 10 destinations. Aspects of technical support included the flow of marketing information through technology, stage and entertainment, and creating a look that matched the state-of-the-art technology of the new car.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN LOGISTICS CONTEMPORARY GROUP/SFX ENTERTAINMENT, St. Louis The logistical demands of the visit of Pope John Paul II to St. Louis were staggering-130,000 ticketed guests at five events in two days with 7,000 volunteers, 3,000 security officers and 2,400 international media members. Events included a Papal Mass for more than 100,000 attendees at the TWA Dome, a youth rally and motorcades.

BEST EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY UNIVERSAL CONVENTION PHOTOGRAPHY, Orlando, Fla. Universal Convention Photography photographed The Special Event 1999 for the March 1999 issue of Special Events Magazine. As many as five photographers worked on this assignment. The senior photographer was at almost every event, while a second photographer usually covered simultaneous events such as seminars and the trade show. Additional staff was assigned during the Gala Awards Ceremony & Celebration. From elegant presentation to high-energy entertainment, the photos articulate The Special Event.

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