Nearly 1,000 special event professionals were on hand Friday night in Atlanta to honor the winners of the Gala Awards. The black-tie ceremony, held at the Georgia World Congress Center Stanley Marcus ballroom, was followed by a high-end dinner. And the winners are:
MARKETING AND MORE, MUNICH, GERMANY, AND MINI OF BMW GROUP, MUNICH, GERMANY
The “Mini United 2007” three-day festival in Zandvoort, Netherlands, featured the famed compact car in racing contests, driving tests and rides. The program drew 8,000 attendees and 3,000 Minis from 40 different countries. The event team took into account different languages, tax regulations and currencies for the international festival.
BBDO DETROIT, TROY, MICH., AND CHRYSLER, AUBURN HILLS, MICH.
“Camp Jeep” enticed targeted Jeep owners with a tin case invitation to an owner loyalty event in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. The case included a pocket guide to the event and illustrated cards with humorous camping scenarios, such as how to make “radiator burgers.” More than 10,000 participants gathered to celebrate the Jeep lifestyle.
BEST DINING TABLE DESIGN
HELLO FLORIDA, ORLANDO, FLA.
Hello Florida took modern dining to the hilt during an event for Ritz-Carlton clients at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Resort in Orlando, Fla. The “Taking Dining to New Heights” event featured a 24-foot-long “invisible” acrylic table, fully set, that was lowered from the ceiling. Black-clad servers provided guests with their own personal “butlers.”
BEST OFF-PREMISE CATERED EVENT
FIVE STAR KOSHER CUISINE/SOMEONE'S IN THE KITCHEN, TARZANA, CALIF.
For a kosher wedding in Hollywood, a bride and groom tapped Someone's in the Kitchen's kosher division: Five Star Kosher Catering. Due to a blocked loading dock, the catering team had to create a kosher kitchen in the parking lot of the Roosevelt Hotel the day of the event. They overcame the logistical difficulties of the setup and turned out a menu that included a trio of winter soups — butternut squash, roasted tomato and mini matzo ball — a mushroom artichoke strudel, and a dessert sampler with white cotton candy and nondairy creme brulee.
BEST CATERED EVENT PRODUCED BY A HOTEL BANQUET DEPARTMENT
HARITH PRODUCTIONS, WILLOW GROVE, PA., AND WESTIN LOS CABOS, SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO
Food became edible art with the “Myths and Legends of the Aztec and Maya” menu. Items indigenous to Mexico served as inspiration for this 60-person fête. The menu included an herb salad tossed with a vinaigrette using prickly pear of cactus; a dual entree of lobster with a marinade from Mexican seeds and a filet in a pulque sauce, made with maguey cactus extract; and a sample of desserts with a tequila mascarpone cheesecake and a 12-inch-high solid chocolate mask.
BEST FUNDRAISING EVENT
E=MC2 EVENT MANAGEMENT, CALGARY, ALBERTA
Thirteen businessmen celebrated their 50th birthdays with the “You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet” fundraiser to battle prostrate cancer. The event took guests through time with a 1957 diner-style reception, a concert with songs from five decades, and a post-show Asian fusion reception. The free event grossed more than $3 million in individual donations collected before the event and at the door.
BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION OR ASSOCIATION
THE WEBSTER GROUP, WASHINGTON
The Air Force Memorial Dedication took place in October with 40,000 participants, including U.S. President George W. Bush, to honor the millions of men and women who have served in the Air Force. The memorial took more than 15 years to design, fund and build, and the Air Force celebrated its reveal with the three-day event. Activities and entertainment included an air show featuring the Thunderbirds, displays of the latest helicopters, fireworks and the U.S. Air Force Band's Singing Sergeants.
BEST WEDDING: BUDGET UNDER $1,000 PER GUEST
EXPERIENTIAL EVENTS, CALGARY, ALBERTA
Textured linen in chocolate brown and slate blue silk set the masculine-yet-romantic tone for this same-sex wedding. The couple did not immediately set a date for the wedding after the proposal, and one groom planned the wedding as a surprise to the other, who was told of the surprise five days before the ceremony. Rather than one large cake, an ensemble of servers carried individual wedding cakes to the guests, who cut their cakes at the same time as the grooms.
BEST WEDDING: BUDGET $1,000 AND ABOVE PER GUEST
FIORI FRESCO SPECIAL EVENTS, LA HABRA HEIGHTS, CALIF., AND BARBARA WALLACE WEDDINGS, CORONA DEL MAR, CALIF.
Compromise was key for a wedding with a Christian bride and agnostic groom who didn't want overt religious symbolism as part of the ceremony. The Fiori Fresco and Barbara Wallace team constructed a 50-feet-wide-by-20-feet-tall California mission-style structure that include dark wooden pillars, lanterns, a mission bell and oversized wooden doors through which the bridal party entered the wedding ceremony. Earth-tone and jewel-color floral added a rich flourish with roses in brown, burgundy, terra cotta and camel.
BEST MULTIPLE-DAY INCENTIVE EVENT
JOBE & ASSOCIATES, DUBLIN, OHIO
For Nationwide Financial Services “Champions of the Mountain” incentive program, Jobe & Associates brought 290 participants to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, Colo., for five days. Seven Olympic ice skaters performed for guests who watched triple axels and flips at floor level. Rather than plaques or awards, participants selected gifts from personalized gift catalogues that included items from Tiffany, Burberry, Coach, Louis Vuitton and Apple, then singer Sheryl Crow topped off the evening by performing her greatest hits.
BEST MULTIPLE-DAY EVENT PROGRAM FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION
CIRC CORPORATE EXPERIENCE, WIESBADEN, GERMANY, AND WIZCRAFT INTERNATIONAL, MUMBAI, INDIA
The “Volkswagen Mumbai Cross Culture Experience” brought 30 future top Volkswagen executives to India for five days to learn about one of the company's future key markets. Instead of seminars, Circ immersed participants in Indian culture with a no-frills approach. Participants visited the Kamla Mehta School for the Blind; the dabbawalas, who deliver thousands of meals a day with no IT system; and Lijjad Papad, a cooperative of more than 40 million women responsible for baking all the bread for India.
BEST EVENT STAGED IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
E=MC2 EVENT MANAGEMENT, CALGARY, ALBERTA
Shell Canada celebrated 97 years as one of the most prominent oil companies in Canada with “A Ship in Full Sail” road show, which served as a morale-boosting grand finale for the company after Royal Dutch Shell acquired it. The event included 11,000 employees, 13 events, nine cities, six weeks and two languages — English and French. The event wasn't green-lighted until Royal Dutch Shell made an official offer to Shell Canada — meanwhile the event team kept mum and put suppliers on retainer in case the event moved forward.
BEST FLORAL DESIGN
DESIGNS BY SEAN, DANIA, FLA.
Orchid blossoms, rose petals, yellow freesia and tulips decorated this elegant wedding. The semicircular bar — dripping with flowers — served as the focus of the ballroom. To carry out the nuptial's “Garden Fairy Tale” theme, Designs by Sean incorporated such elements as mossy columns, a 12-foot-tall tree trunk and sunken gardens in the center of some tables.
BEST TENT INSTALLATION: TENT BUDGET UNDER $75,000
HARLEQUIN MARQUEES AND EVENT SERVICES, DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Clear floor-to-ceiling window panels frosted with arabesque designs, a fiber-optic star ceiling and Moroccan lanterns set this tent on Madinat Fort Island apart. The air-conditioned majlis measured 12 by 24 meters (39 by 79 feet) and served as a popular venue for breaking the fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Since the tent was set up on an island, its components — carpeting, tenting, lighting — were carried over a narrow bridge.
BEST TENT INSTALLATION: TENT BUDGET $75,000 AND ABOVE
CHICAGO PARTY RENTAL, MCCOOK, ILL.
The National Dealer Gala for Lexus required three separate tents for 1,250 guests. Chicago Party Rental rose to the challenge with 75,426 square feet of tents, complete with flooring, climate-control units and red carpet. Since the event was located at Chicago's Buckingham Fountain, the rental company had to schedule most deliveries after midnight. Three sections of the dining tent had to be flown over the fountain to overcome space issues.
BEST USE OF LIGHTING
BRITE IDEAS, FOOTHILL RANCH, CALIF.
Although the building wasn't finished when Brite Ideas arrived to set up, the event team was able to light up the grand opening of the Henry and Renee Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Center for the Performing Arts with LED art. Working on a construction site caused delays, as the crew went to Home Depot for hard hats, safety goggles and orange mesh vests. The event team used a lighting concept never attempted before — LED video imagery on the walls and ceiling of the tent.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN TECHNICAL SUPPORT
GLOBAL EVENTS, MADRID, SPAIN
With only a month of lead time, Global Events heralded the re-branding and 10-year anniversary of its client with a musical show in Madrid, Spain, complete with pyrotechnics, water shooters, live music and water screens. A simultaneous show was held in Barcelona, Spain. The team set up the show in less than 48 hours and built a duplicate set in a warehouse so performers could practice in the right conditions.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN LOGISTICS
AEG, LOS ANGELES
The Amgen Tour of California, an eight-day bike tour of the state, had AEG creating 13 events in 12 cities with a total of 8,000 sponsors. To keep up with the punishing pace, AEG split its resources into two teams — one team each for events at the start line and finish line. Each site was unique and captured the local flavor of the city — clam chowder in mini bread bowls, for example, for the San Francisco leg of the race.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN EVENT RENTAL SUPPORT
DUCKY-BOB'S EVENT SPECIALISTS, CARROLTON, TEXAS
For a 400-guest wedding at the bride's family home, Ducky-Bob's Event Specialists supplied such materials as clear acrylic flooring for a dance floor set over the pool, black-trimmed clear vinyl tent tops, and climate-control units cleverly hidden in the foilage. Five terraced floors provided a foothold for guests on the client's sloped property.
BEST NEW, INNOVATIVE EVENT PRODUCT/TECHNOLOGY
GET FLIPPED, ORANGE, CALIF.
In order to provide a unique party favor for a bat mitzvah, Get Flipped created the Flip Strip. Guests posed for four pictures, which were then morphed into two animated pictures. The bottom cell of the strip featured the honoree's name, the date and a horse jumping over a fence to match the bat mitzvah's horsey theme.
BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT CONCEPT AND EXECUTION: ENTERTAINMENT BUDGET UNDER $25,000
EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS, SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.
To entertain and engage a corporate audience for a corporate awards show, Extraordinary Events animated employees' photos and had actors talk via animated mouths — similar to the technique used by late-night comic Conan O'Brien. The top executives' dialogue, who were handing out the awards, blended seamlessly with the animated script.
BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT CONCEPT AND EXECUTION: ENTERTAINMENT BUDGET $25,000 TO $100,000
BASHARA CONCEPTS, DALLAS, AND BRAVO ENTERTAINMENT, DALLAS
More than 1,000 guests enjoyed choreographed acrobatics, dance, art, music and fashion at the grand opening of the Hotel Palomar Dallas. Bashara Concepts and Bravo Entertainment developed the concept “Art in Motion,” devising an acrobatic show involving dramatically lit performers dangling from rigging on the side of the hotel 15 stories above the ground. Bravo designed the truss system for the aerialists, taking care to account for the uneven parking lot surface it sat upon.
BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT CONCEPT AND EXECUTION: ENTERTAINMENT BUDGET ABOVE $100,000
CIRC CORPORATE EXPERIENCE, WIESBADEN, GERMANY, AND ATELIER SEITZ, NIEDERNEUCHING, GERMANY
Caterpillar — a leading supplier of construction equipment — shared its “360 degree” solutions at a trade show. The event team used film, animation and artists to interpret the client's message. Two 40-foot-high towers, a four-story stage and a stretched LED screen provided a powerful performance space for the film and live performers.
MOST OUTSTANDING SPECTACLE
AUTOSTADT, WOLFSBURG, GERMANY, AND CIRC CORPORATE EXPERIENCE, WIESBADEN, GERMANY
Autostadt's “Magic Waters” show attracted up to 15,000 visitors per show with water, fire and light projections. Designed to show Volkswagen's understanding of technical excellence, the spectacle stretched over an area measuring 650 by 160 feet and required a special high-speed flame system, water-soluble and nontoxic fuel, and a pump system with a capacity of 150,000 liters of water per second.
BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL: BUDGET UNDER $1,000 PER GUEST
A JOY WALLACE CATERING PRODUCTION & DESIGN TEAM, MIAMI
“MaxStock” celebrated the bar mitzvah boy's love for classic rock of the '60s and '70s. To stay true to the theme, Joy Wallace produced the event like a concert: Tour buses transported guests from ceremony to reception, “state troopers” directed cars and buses to the parking area, and a 10-by-10-foot mosaic of rock ‘n’ roll posters welcomed guests. Everyone was welcome to music festival standards such as chicken fingers and sliders; parents dined in the “green room” on upscale fare such as beef tenderloin and root vegetable salad.
BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL: BUDGET $1,000 AND ABOVE PER GUEST
EVENTS OF DISTINCTION, SAN FRANCISCO
A gourmand about to turn 40 was treated to an epicurean weekend by her husband, including a surprise first-night dinner at the Sonoma, Calif., golf club and a culinary competition among guests at a local cooking school. The “official” birthday dinner featured a cruise-ship theme in recognition of the honoree's secret yearning to be a pastry chef on a cruise ship. Children of the party guests enjoyed their own “Camp Laura,” named for the birthday girl, which offered games and activities. A 24-page timeline kept events on track.
BEST EVENT MARKETING CAMPAIGN
THE LUNDQUIST CO., SACRAMENTO, CALIF.
To draw media attention to its commitment to its historic roots, the City of Rancho Cordova, Calif., staged a New Orleans jazz funeral-style parade at the rededication of a 133-year-old cemetery. The event team made savvy use of the media to locate descendants of those buried in the cemetery and staged a ceremony honoring the deceased. The event drew five times the number of guests originally expected while maintaining a balance of celebration and decorum.
BEST THEATRICAL ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTION
ENTERTAINMENT PLUS PRODUCTIONS, LOS ANGELES, AND GO WEST EVENTS AND MULTIMEDIA, WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF.
To create an award show to rival the Oscars ceremony, the event team turned to short, energetic pieces that vividly underscored each event category. For the wedding awards, for example, presenters appeared in a spectacular winter wedding scene. Two hours before the show, the computer system failed, but the veteran show team reprogrammed it and went on as scheduled.
BEST THEME DECOR: TOTAL DECOR BUDGET UNDER $20,000
THE SPECIAL EVENT CO., LONDON
When a property developer wanted to generate buzz about its $35 million project among potential buyers, The Special Event Co. brought rooms alive with “living” furniture. Performers clad in bodysuits and makeup blended into the decor as lamps, chairs and even a zebra rug. The “furniture” occasionally winked and spoke with guests. Invitations included a swatch of fabric that guests had to match to furniture pieces in exchange for a trinket from Tiffany and Co. The client reports that one purchaser paid full price for her unit but was dismayed to learn the living furniture was not included.
BEST THEME DECOR: TOTAL DECOR BUDGET $20,000 TO $50,000
AOO EVENTS, LOS ANGELES
A financial services company bid “aloha” to a conference in Hawaii with a final night dinner honoring legendary fire goddess Pele. The outdoor “Lava Lounge,” featuring an island bar big enough to accommodate eight bartenders, glowed beneath suspended flame pots and masses of yellow and red jamestory orchids. Custom red leather banquettes and distressed brown leather ottomans allowed guests to recline while watching the performances set against a lava rock stage glowing with moving fire projections.
BEST THEME DECOR: TOTAL DECOR BUDGET ABOVE $50,000
AOO EVENTS, LOS ANGELES
A client ready to reach for the ultimate led the event team to take over a chic Hollywood club for the evening and rename it “Club Glen.” All furniture was pulled out of the club's dining room, replaced with larger “sharing tables” separated with hand-carved room dividers and set with specialty Moroccan linen and antique gold-leaf and ruby glass chargers for the 80 guests. In the “uber-chic” lounge, guests lounged on chocolate leather and suede divans; a 25-foot crushed metallic screen with moving flame projections bore the “Club Glen” logo.
BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION: OVERALL BUDGET UNDER $100,000
HARITH PRODUCTIONS, WILLOW GROVE, PA., AND DESIGNS BY SEAN, DANIA, FLA.
An incentive event for a pharmaceutical client offered an immersion in the rich culture of Mexico's ancient Maya and Aztec civilizations. The event team scoured local villages to buy decorative artifacts, a move that not only supported local artisans but stayed “green” by avoiding wasteful shipping. The evening included Aztec living statues, a ballet folklorico performance, and a menu of largely local, organic products presented in dramatic synchronized service by waitstaff.
BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION: OVERALL BUDGET $100,000 TO $249,999
TOTAL EVENT RESOURCES, SCHAUMBURG, ILL., AND INTERNATIONAL TRUCK AND ENGINE CORP., WARRENVILLE, ILL.
A team-building event got plenty of pizzazz without a plentiful budget by using public spaces in Las Vegas for activities. Using TV's “The Amazing Race” format, the event saw company employees work their way through three major hotels, striving to complete a series of tasks that ranged from silly stunts to tests of strength. The company's logo and corporate colors were woven into clues and challenges.
BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION: OVERALL BUDGET $250,000 TO $500,000
THE EVENT CO./THE COMPANIES, MUNICH, GERMANY
Turning away from motivational speeches, two companies that had recently merged used dramatic symbolism to show unity. The 350 employees of the new firm entered a gallery to find an astonishing array made up of each person's portrait; they then hung the portraits as directed on a wall to spell out the new entity's name. The group dined at three long tables to signify the company “family.”
BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A CORPORATION: OVERALL BUDGET $500,000 AND ABOVE
MGM MIRAGE EVENTS, LAS VEGAS
MGM Mirage Events took 1,800 VIP guests at one of its annual New Year's Eve parties to “Nirvana,” a theme inspired by the newly opened Cirque du Soleil/Beatles show. A “tunnel of enlightenment” led to a lush garden and reflection pool in the ballroom foyer. Layers of bright saris adorned the event space, which featured elevated rotating lounges. Guests seated beneath batik umbrellas dined on a five-course meal, and thousands of rose petals lined the edge of the dance floor.