Special Events
Special Events Presents the 2011 Gala Award Nominees

Special Events Presents the 2011 Gala Award Nominees

Entrants from 10 countries vie to be Gala Award nominees, the premiere award in special events.

Nominated for Best Dining Table Design, a huge floral chandelier from The Precious Moment Beijing; see No. 9

BEST FAIR/FESTIVAL

1. CSI-CAPITOL SERVICES INC., FALLS CHURCH, VA.

More than 350,000 “geeks” — kids who love science — converged on the U.S. National Mall and downtown Washington for a science and engineering festival featuring more than 800 booths, 1,500 interactive activities and 75 stage shows. The event team contended with challenges including accommodating a 15-foot fiberglass elephant, a 10 million-year-old iceberg and the capsule of the first manned commercial space rocket.

2. THE LUNDQUIST CO., SACRAMENTO

The signature event of a state-funded agency focused on the healthy upbringing of children under age five, the eighth annual festival treated more than 7,000 attendees to an array of entertainment and prizes along with educational booths, dental screenings, hearing and eye tests, and immunizations. The event team stayed on budget despite attracting 18 percent more participants than expected.

3. SIGNATURE EVENTS, NEW ORLEANS

A labor of love, the “Liuzza Palooza” festival was created in less than two months to support a local restaurateur badly injured in a car accident. The six-hour celebration — which drew more than 4,000 supporters and netted $130,00 — included tastes from some 25 renowned New Orleans restaurants, a silent auction and entertainment.

BEST INVITATION

4. EMERALD CITY DESIGNS, FARMINGTON HILLS, MICH.

The host invited guests to his 40th birthday with a lighthearted invitation that included photo confetti of the honoree from babyhood to awkward teenage years to the present. Upon opening the invitation, guests found a pop-up image of the honoree as a young boy, complete with a cheeky smile.

5. HANNAH HANDMADE, EVANSTON, ILL.

Designed to draw high-level event planners to the National Stationery Show, this stylish invitation arrived in a round, handmade fuchsia satin box embellished with Swarovski crystals. Inside was an acrylic invitation resting on a feather boa plus a multipage book with event details, featuring letterpress and digital printing, engraving, thermography, foil stamping, laser cutting, silk screening, edge cutting, die-cutting and fancy papers.

6. POP KOLLABORATIVE, CALGARY, ALBERTA

To herald the grand opening of a technologically sophisticated redevelopment project, the event team keyed on the theme of “quay” rhyming with “key” to develop a credit-card-sized invitation that was a metal card-key holding a small USB drive. The “key” included information about the property and personalized details for each guest about the event.

BEST DINING TABLE DESIGN

7. CAROLYN DEMPSEY DESIGN, PORT CHESTER, N.Y.

A loving husband surprised his wife on her 40th birthday with a sophisticated yet fun lounge environment featuring tables in a yellow, orange and gunmetal gray palette. Glass orbs filed with tea lights and yellow daffodils hung above tables while vases filled with alternating bouquets of daffodils and vivid orange tulips marched down the center of the tables.

8. DESIGNS BY SEAN, DANIA, FLA., AND HARITH PRODUCTIONS, WILLOW GROVE, PA.

A 32-foot-diameter circular table did double-duty as both a dining table for 24 special guests at an incentive event as well as the stage for the evening's entertainment segments and speakers. As the event was held in Dublin, the circular design served as both a Celtic symbol and as the focal point in the ornate room.

9. THE PRECIOUS MOMENT BEIJING LTD., BEIJING

For the debut of a jewelry collection, the event team created a groundbreaking 42-foot-diameter round table seating 60 guests. In order to keep the huge table from overpowering the room, the team suspended a two-tier 25-foot-diameter chandelier above the table and dressed the table with a “full moon” of round bouquets of Queen of the Night cactus, hydrangeas and roses.

BEST OFF-PREMISE CATERED EVENT

10. JDK GROUP, CAMP HILL, PA., AND TOLO EVENTS, RENFEW, PA.

For the 2011 Pennsylvania governor's inaugural ball, the event team created a gastronomic tour of the state. The dinner offered authentic recipes from five regions of the state including dishes ranging from veal sliders to pierogies; Pennsylvania's legendary steel industry was saluted with a range of steel display pieces.

11. LA BONNE CUISINE CATERING, OAKLAND, CALIF.

Some 800 guests enjoyed a Super Bowl party where the upscale tailgate menu took traditional food to a new level. In a venue with a four-story atrium, stations featured cooked-to-order dishes including a hot dog station with specialty sausages on mini brioche buns, grilled-to-order quesadillas and a nitrogen ice cream station.

12. SOMEONE'S IN THE KITCHEN, TARZANA, CALIF.

The annual fundraiser for the American Friends of Hebrew University of Jerusalem keyed on “A Night in the Garden of Eden” theme and included costumed garden nymphs offering cocktails such as “Adam and Eve-tinis.” Guests strolled through gardens at the private home to arrive at tables in a starburst formation to dine on a “Forbidden Fruit Trio,” the “Eating in Eden” entree (rack of lamb or sea bass) and “Sinless Pleasure” dessert, consisting of cherry sorbet in a green martini glass, a grilled peach and chocolate torte.

BEST CATERED EVENT PRODUCED BY A HOTEL BANQUET DEPARTMENT

13. BILTMORE ESTATE, ASHVILLE, N.C.

Eleven incentive guests brought in from Indiana via private jet enjoyed “A Journey Back in Time to the Gilded Age” at legendary Biltmore Estate. The seven-course menu, originally served in 1904, was modernized to suit today's preferences yet featured centerpieces mixing fruit and flowers, a popular trend in the early 1900s.

14. HARITH PRODUCTIONS, WILLOW GROVE, PA., AND THE WESTIN DUBLIN, DUBLIN

Each of the five courses at this elegant dinner for 24 guests was symbolic of foods and landmarks of Ireland. For example, “The Coasts” featured Castletownbere crab cocktail designed around local stones and seaweed with shimmering “mist,” or dry ice. A harp-shaped die-cut menu played music when opened thanks to an embedded music chip.

15. THE PENINSULA CHICAGO, CHICAGO

Chicago's Peninsula Hotel celebrated its 10th anniversary with a blow-out party for 1,200 guests that included buffet structures thematically inspired by the hotel chain's hub cities and a “Pen 10” signature cocktail. Crowning the evening was a 12-foot-tall, 6-foot-wide “pageboy cap” cake flanked by an array of dessert selections.

BEST FUNDRAISING EVENT

16. CATALINA ISLAND CONSERVANCY, LONG BEACH, CALIF.

A theme that jokingly started out as a “pirate party” during a brainstorming session turned into “Catalina's Gold,” an elegant evening that highlighted the organization's many “treasures.” The idea of a treasure chest full of gold coins manifested itself through the event's design as glimmering spheres and circles into event elements, a theme that netted more than 64 percent over the year prior even though the 2011 event came in 11 percent under budget.

17. ELIZABETH ROSE CONSULTING, NEW YORK

Thanks in part to hiring a professional fundraising team, the “Celebration of Courage” fundraiser at Jazz at Lincoln Center brought in a hefty $1.7 million to support the fight against pediatric cancer. Despite having a celebrity roster including comedian Jerry Seinfeld, superstar chef Mario Batali and TV star Fran Drescher, an “eyes on the dollars” approach kept expenses in check.

18. SIGNATURE EVENTS, NEW ORLEANS

A labor of love, the “Liuzza Palooza” festival was created in less than two months to support a local restaurateur badly injured in a car accident. The six-hour celebration — which drew more than 4,000 supporters and netted $130,00 — included tastes from some 25 renowned New Orleans restaurants, a silent auction and entertainment.

BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION

19. CAVA ROSE, MONTREAL

Thanks to iPads at each table, guests created their own experience at this disco-themed gala supporting the Quebec Youth Foundation. Besides using the devices to bid on auction items, guests turned to a custom app on their iPads to choose songs for the band to play and to change the colors of lighting and image projections.

20. E=MC2 EVENT MANAGEMENT, CALGARY, ALBERTA

A fundraiser aimed at benefitting military families put a twist on the traditional black-tie event; guests “reported for duty” to dine mess-hall style in tents in the ballroom. Although many decor elements were military-themed, the event worked closely with officials to ensure that military protocols were respected.

21. FESTIVEX SPECIAL EVENTS, GATINEAU, QUEBEC

The signature event of Canada's legendary Tulip Festival, the 2011 “Tulip Ball” treated more than 400 guests to a fashion show of gowns created from flowers, each coordinating with the courses served at the black-tie event. The event team succeeded despite the fact that the client's top manager stepped down a month before the ball and the venue — the new Ottawa Convention Centre — was still under construction three weeks out.

BEST WEDDING: BUDGET UNDER $1,000 PER GUEST

22. EVENTS OF DISTINCTION, SAN FRANCISCO

An aviation theme soared at this wedding of a couple who met on a Southwest Airlines flight. The couple exchanged airline wings along with their vows; after the ceremony, guests proceeded to the “flight deck” for a reception staffed by Southwest flight attendants and enjoyed a dinner where the centerpieces resembled puffy clouds at sunset.

23. FRANK EVENT DESIGN, CHICAGO

A California couple yearning for a true Midwest winter got their wish as the Chicago-based wedding team created a “winter wonderland” wedding. Wintry elements included save-the-dates with a box of local favorite Snowball candies, an escort card table decorated with an arrangement of snow-flocked branches, a reception rich with white flowers and crystals, and a snow machine that greeted guests entering the ballroom with faux snow.

24. KBY DESIGNS, RISHON LEZION, ISRAEL

Five hundred guests celebrated a wedding in a biblical landscape preserve in Israel. In keeping with the rustic setting, the event team used a long wooden bar as a focal point with sunflower topiaries adding splashes of color. A dramatic white, semicircular platform gave all guests a great view of the ceremony and provided an archway leading to the reception.

BEST WEDDING: BUDGET $1,000 AND ABOVE PER GUEST

25. JESS FLOOD EVENT DESIGN, VALLEY FORD, CALIF.

A couple from the Midwest had their dream of a wine-country wedding come true thanks to an enterprising event team, which whisked the 35 guests between two remote outdoor venues. After cocktails and hors d'oeuvre in a garden setting, dinner took place in a barn featuring a single long table dressed in plum linen with three crystal chandeliers suspended above.

26. NEWBERRY BROTHERS INC., DENVER, AND FAYE GARDENSWARTZ, DENVER

The bride wanted a pretty wedding — the groom, a reception with a nightclub vibe. The event team gave them both, with a pink wedding ceremony featuring a chuppah crowned with mounds of pink and white flowers and hedges of pink hydrangeas lining the aisle; the reception included all-white centerpieces in a draped room lit in deep purple, blue and fuchsia.

27. RENTALS UNLIMITED, STOUGHTON, MASS.

A black-tie affair for 360 guests featured such oversize elements as a 4,500-square-foot all-white dance floor and a 6,000-square-foot white-carpeted ballroom surrounded with 14-foot-tall white drape. A mix of square, round and rectangular tables dressed in black, white and silver linen sparkled thanks to an array of gemstones and mirrors.

BEST MULTIPLE-DAY INCENTIVE EVENT

28. EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS, SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.

Despite facing a small budget, the event team treated 20 guests to a customized, three-day showcase of St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands that included a one-day, four-island-hopping excursion and a pirate-themed dinner in the ruins of a sugar mill. Because many of the incentive winners had already visited the destination, the event team developed unique events and then prodded local vendors to go beyond their predictable offerings.

29. HARITH PRODUCTIONS, WILLOW GROVE, PA., AND OVATION DMC, DUBLIN

The event team embraced a “locavore” philosophy for this incentive for 12 couples, which offered many foods sourced from within a 150-mile radius of the event. Guests visited the sustainable Ballyknocken Farm for a hands-on lesson on the “farm to fork” concept and scanned QR codes so they could access the event's agenda on their smartphones.

30. SULLIVAN GROUP, HOUSTON

A painted coconut served as the invitation that bid the 90 winners of this four-day incentive to Puerto Rico, where they were treated to authentic steel-band music, a session on the art of making rum at the Bicardi factory and a project to build traditional kites. The final-night gala replicated the famed San Sebastian Street Festival and included a parade with colorful masked characters.

BEST MULTIPLE-DAY EVENT PROGRAM

31. GO WEST CREATIVE GROUP, WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF.

More than 2,200 attendees at the 2010 Sonic National Convention enjoyed a three-day program at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas that keyed on a cable music TV station format, dubbed “Sonic ITtv,” which mixed music, live entertainment and reporting from the field by a “celebrity correspondent.” Opening day included the Sonic Carhops performing a synchronized skating routine to introduce the chairman and CEO, while the final day saw the company's chief marketing officer reveal future marketing initiatives along with an awards ceremony.

32. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

Five thousand Skoda car dealers from more than 100 countries met not just to see new models but to experience “the new power of Skoda,” including a new logo, new showroom design and seven prototype models. The ambitious program included building a second floor in Prague's massive O2 Arena to accommodate the dramatic reveals, which had to be kept secret before they were shared with the general public.

33. WELCOME EVENT MARKETING, COPENHAGEN

After the feisty CEO of the client company said “surprise me” for his three-day quarterly business meeting, the event team complied, creating a four-star, fully equipped “executive camp” on the grounds of a beautiful castle. The two-person sleeping tents inspired camaraderie among the senior-level executives while the seamless technological capabilities and top-quality catering service met their expectations.

BEST EVENT STAGED IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

34. E=MC2 EVENT MANAGEMENT, CALGARY, ALBERTA

The “One Power” event toured five cities in eight weeks to share the 100-year history and future of power company TransAlta. Although the event team was originally contracted to produce one event for stakeholders and four for employees, a fifth employee event was added without a budget allocation; the event team accommodated the extra work by relying on its lightweight, modular decor elements and its strong relationships with vendor partners.

35. JUNG VON MATT/RELATIONS GMBH, COLOGNE, GERMANY

To position a Cuban rum brand in Germany as essential for making mojito cocktails, the event team “Cubanized” Germany by spreading another mojito essential — mint — throughout the country. Some 52,000 mint plants sprouted on traffic islands, at bus stops and in “fields” in the middle of cities. Attached to the plants were cocktail recipes by celebrity bartenders.

36. METZLER: VATER GMBH, MUNICH

For the first multi-sports competition for amateur athletes by BMW, the event team staged events ranging from opening ceremonies to running, golf, skiing, mountain biking, driving, sailing and a closing gala, all in a variety of settings around Lake Geneva. The events reached out to a wide mix of international competitors — the target market of the BMW X3 car — which drew more than 15,000 applicants, leading to 156 contestants speaking 25 different languages.

BEST FLORAL DESIGN

37. A LEGENDARY EVENT, ATLANTA

For an L.A. bride who married in New Orleans, the design team mixed family heirlooms such as brooches and antique buttons into dramatic floral with the theme “shabby chic meets Cajun style.” The ballroom featured an 8-foot-tall tree made of magnolia branches tied with bottles, an old custom designed to ward off evil spirits; the bridal bouquet and groom's boutonniere were crafted from balls of cotton.

38. JANET FLOWERS WEDDING AND EVENT DESIGNS, ROCKVILLE, MD.

For an autumn wedding, the two grooms wanted a different, dramatic centerpiece for each of the 15 tables at the reception but all with a modern, architectural edge. The floral designer turned to a palette of reds, burgundy, terracotta, salmon, onyx and platinum, mixing metal rocks, crushed glass, wire and sisal with blooms including parrot tulips, ranunculus, sarracenia, hypericum, callas, orchids, anemones, protea, mountain berries and gerberas.

39. NEWBERRY BROTHERS INC., DENVER

The bride wanted a pretty wedding — the groom, a reception with a nightclub vibe. The event team gave them both, with a pink wedding ceremony featuring a chuppah crowned with mounds of pink and white flowers and hedges of pink hydrangeas lining the aisle; the reception included all-white centerpieces in a draped room lit in deep purple, blue and fuchsia.

BEST TENT INSTALLATION

40. EVENTQUIP, LANSDALE, PA.

For the opening gala for the new National Museum of American Jewish History building in Philadelphia, the tent team had only a 24-hour window to install a 17,000-square-foot heated structure with a leveled carpeted floor, all on a bustling city center street. Since staking was prohibited on the site, all tenting was secured with 160,000 pounds of concrete anchors.

41. EVENTQUIP, LANSDALE, PA.

To preserve the atmosphere of the wedding venue — a 19th century estate on the Delaware River — the event team constructed sailcloth tents on 10-foot legs atop a custom-made raw plank floor stained in various shades. The tent team installed 450 feet of plywood panels to protect the venue's lawns, creating a temporary road and parking lot for its trucks.

42. PROTEUS ON-DEMAND FACILITIES, AUSTELL, GA.

Some 1,200 guests at a VIP corporate hospitality event watched golfers on the 18th hole from the comfort of a 17,760-square-foot structure that sat on top of 30 feet of scaffolding. Horizontal glass panels provided panoramic views while a technologically advanced tensioned roof system minimized wind disturbances. The tent stood strong despite the shock from a 5.8 magnitude earthquake and the powerful winds from Hurricane Irene.

BEST USE OF LIGHTING

43. BRITE IDEAS, FOOTHILL RANCH, CALIF., AND MEGAVISION ARTS, SANTA MONICA, CALIF.

For the gala opening of a major art gallery, the lighting team treated 1,000 guests in a 27,000-square-foot tent to a 360-degree, all-encompassing virtual tour of Venice, Italy, where gondolas sailed by and artworks such as the “Mona Lisa” drifted past. As the “sky” overhead turned from dusk to night hues, images of Venetian masks began to appear, and a projection of a portico dropped to reveal a performance stage where headliner Christina Aguilera sang.

44. RUSSELL HARRIS EVENT GROUP, NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIF., AND IMAGES BY LIGHTING, LOS ANGELES

To create both a beautiful setting and a branding opportunity for client Disney Media Distribution and the TV shows it was promoting, the design team made the most of a tight budget by using a raw soundstage accented with vivid lighting that drew buyers' attention to the stage. At the after-party, the team used circle-themed lighting on the white lounge seating pieces to break the area into synergistic spaces conducive to relaxing, making deals or a little of both.

45. WIZCRAFT INTERNATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT, MUMBAI

The opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Commonwealth Games required some 1,200 moving lights, a seven-minute laser show, and 2,700 shots of fireworks across the roof of Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The lighting team was charged with showcasing the parade of athletes, a display of eight martial arts forms, a performance by Delhi schoolchildren, and 1,000 dancers on five stages.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN TECHNICAL SUPPORT

46. AGGREKO, HOUSTON

For the World Equestrian Games, the event team distributed power generated from renewable sources for multiple venues across a 2,000-acre facility using 59 miles of cable, more than 2,000 tons of heating and cooling, and 17 megawatts of power — all without disturbing 752 horses and their riders. The event, held for the first time in the U.S., drew more than 500,000 spectators.

47. EVENTWORKS, LOS ANGELES

To help the client inspire 2,500 employees to strive toward the future, the event team pioneered the use of stadium technology in a hotel meeting room, projecting seamless visuals on a 450-foot screen equal to 13 high-definition images lined up side by side, all enhanced by 3D architectural scenery. The sophisticated presentation highlighted themes of courage, ambition, passion, adaptability and leadership.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN LOGISTICS

48. AGGREKO, HOUSTON

For the massive Lollapalooza outdoor music festival, this power supplier kept more than 90,000 concert-goers cool despite record heat by turning to more than 2,000 tons of heating and cooling, nearly 12 megawatts of power and 59 miles of cable. Not only was the team faced with taking care of audiences at more than 100 concerts, it also had to cool VIP bungalows and sponsor tents for such marquee brands as Google and Sony PlayStation.

49. EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS, SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.

For a high-profile entertainment industry event at Disney Studios, the event team juggled A-list panelists, more than 200 international exhibitors and three labor unions to assure the 2,500 attendees that their pricey participation was worth it. Even though superstar producer Harvey Weinstein fell ill at the last moment, the team managed to set up a satellite webcast for his presentation with less than 24 hours' lead time.

50. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

Five thousand Skoda car dealers from more than 100 countries met not just to see new models but to experience “the new power of Skoda,” including a new logo, new showroom design and seven prototype models. The ambitious “Big Bang” program included building a second floor in Prague's massive O2 Arena to accommodate the dramatic reveals, which had to be kept secret before they were shared with the general public.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN EVENT RENTAL SUPPORT

51. KOOL PARTY RENTALS, PHOENIX

To transform a ballroom from a traditional awards ceremony into an upscale, contemporary lounge environment for 500 guests, the rental team pulled in staff and inventory — including lounge groupings, lighted bars, specialty buffet tables and a lighted dance floor — from its offices in three cities. All 200-plus furniture items, the eight lighted bars, 30 lighted decor products and 24-by-24-foot floor were in place within 90 minutes.

52. MARQUEE TENTS, AUSTIN

The more than 80,000 guests attending the three-day Austin City Limits Music Festival enjoyed the high-end, “no waiting in lines” experience they have grown to expect thanks to a tightly coordinated rental team that put a premium on customer service. The installation included 220 tents, 20,000 square feet of flooring, 275 light fixtures, 1,308 tables, 2,733 chairs and 500 linens.

53. TOWN & COUNTRY EVENT RENTALS, VAN NUYS, CALIF.

For the third annual “Produced By” conference — a high-end entertainment confab that gathered exhibitors and attendees from throughout the world — the rental team had to load-in the show and 50,000 square feet of tenting without putting one stake in the ground. Another challenge involved the welcome event for 1,000 guests, which because of its location on the studio lot required the team to install the event the morning of the party and strike it that very night.

BEST NEW, INNOVATIVE EVENT PRODUCT/TECHNOLOGY

54. DAVINCI FUSION, SAN FRANCISCO, AND IN GOOD COMPANY, SAN RAMON, CALIF.

In a first, the team mixed Microsoft's “Deep Zoom” tech-nology with 3D-CGI architectural mapping to “paint” the dramatic interior of a former cathedral with color, pattern, gobos and “glamour shot” images of the 750 guests. Many of the images were sound-reactive, creating a multidimensional environment that was synched to the beat of the party.

55. PTE PRODUCTIONS, ORLANDO, FLA.

The new RGB1 wireless LED fixture, which debuted at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Inspiration Dinner last January, enabled the event team to work within a budget cut in half and reduced load-in and -out time by 80 percent, all while creating brilliant, floor-to-ceiling illumination in the ballroom. The new fixture allowed a single technician to set 36 lights around the perimeter of the room in under 40 minutes, without the use of unsightly gaff tape or electrical drops.

56. TWO LEFT FEET, ORLANDO, FLA.

The “Silent Party” high-end, wireless headphone sets enable guests to listen to music or a presentation without disturbing others; guests control their own listening experience by toggling between two separate streams of audio transferred via UHF technology. The phones can receive sound from up to 300 feet away and come equipped with a personal volume control and mute button.

BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT: BUDGET UNDER $25,000

57. CREATIVE JUICE, CONSHOHOCKEN, PA., AND PENDULUM AERIAL ARTS, PORTLAND, ORE.

Entertainment at a fashion exposition keyed on striking models incorporated into the event, including living buffets and human fountains. The highlight was a group of painted models who stood together to spell the word “Vivid” — the name of the event.

58. DESIGNS BY SEAN, DANIA, FLA., AND THE SPECIAL EVENT COMPANY, DURHAM, N.C.

For the opening of the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C., the team delivered the “wow” first impression the client asked for by placing an opera singer in a custom crimson dress with an 80-foot train atop the stairs leading to the entrance. The dress — which weighed more than 30 pounds and was 15 feet wide at the base — became the talk of the party.

BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT: BUDGET $25,000 TO $100,000

59. ALISON SILCOFF EVENTS, MONTREAL

The legendary Daffodil Ball keyed on a “Russian Romance” theme last year, with entertainment including 30 tutu-clad ballet students greeting arriving guests on the staircase as a string quartet played themes from “Swan Lake,” hostesses dressed in fur and posing in a sleigh à la “Dr. Zhivago,” and a trapeze artist singing “Lara's Theme” as she soared above guests. During dinner, a Russian contortionist from Cirque du Soleil performed, followed by the students demonstrating a lively Russian folk dance.

60. BRAVO ENTERTAINMENT, DALLAS, AND NEW CENTURY DANCE CO., MIAMI

For the annual “ArtPrize” competition in Grand Rapids, Mich., the winners were heralded with an entertainment production designed to salute the art community and award recipients and to relate the story of every artist's struggle for inspiration. The three vignettes broke up the lengthy ceremony and used both professional and amateur performers as well as a variety of production mediums.

61. THE PENINSULA CHICAGO, CHICAGO

Chicago's Peninsula Hotel celebrated its 10th anniversary with a blow-out party for 1,200 guests that included a twist on the “Shanghai circus” theme, using dancing Chinese lions, geishas on stilts and aerial artists. The bar became a quintessential “Chicago blues” club featuring legendary musicians while the hotel restaurant was transformed into a Parisian disco lounge.

BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT: BUDGET ABOVE $100,000

62. INSGLUCK EVENT MARKETING, BERLIN

Saddled with a 25,000-square-foot building too big for its 250-guest gala, the event team turned to a “room within a room” concept, using blue doors to symbolize transitions to new stages of life, a theme that resonated with the audience, which was drawn from the banking industry. Performances including acrobats from different stages of life, a choir of 65- to 92-year-olds, and a sand artist drew standing ovations.

63. INSGLUCK EVENT MARKETING, BERLIN

For the opening ceremony at the big Hannover industrial technology show, the event team turned to a cutting-edge mix of live artists and 3D mapping, surprising spectators when the artists interacted in real time with projections on the three-tier stage structure. Nearly 3,000 people followed the ceremony live via the Internet, and more than 21,000 watched online videos of it afterward.

64. METZLER: VATER GMBH, MUNICH

The event team staged a series of presentations in Munich for the Bavarian State Opera and its main sponsor, the Mini car brand. Acts ranged from a Mini Fashion Theater with a moving runway to special edition cars presented inside oversized jewelry boxes to a drive-in movie screening, where spectators sat in Mini cars to enjoy the films.

MOST OUTSTANDING SPECTACLE

65. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

Five thousand Skoda car dealers from more than 100 countries met not just to see new models but to experience “the new power of Skoda,” including a new logo, new showroom design and seven prototype models. The ambitious program included building a second floor in Prague's massive O2 Arena to accommodate the dramatic reveals, which had to be kept secret before they were shared with the general public.

66. WIZCRAFT INTERNATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT, MUMBAI

For the opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, spectators were treated to a three-hour program showcasing the history of the “new India,” stressing both technological innovations and traditional cultural values. The closing ceremony displayed pyro, 14 military bands, a seven-minute laser show, and 1,000 dancers on five stages on the field.

67. WIZCRAFT INTERNATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT, MUMBAI

Spectators at the opening ceremony for the 2011 Cricket World Cup saw a far more elaborate production than in years past, including 14 customized remote-controlled LED kites in the colors of the participating nations, which flew into the stadium synchronized to techno music. A 3D animation of the cup itself projected onto a wall transformed into an “aerial cricket” game as acrobats in LED costumes suspended from the top of the building “played” with a projected laser ball.

BEST EVENT FOR A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL: BUDGET UNDER $1,000 PER GUEST

68. ALL OCCASIONS EVENT PRODUCTIONS, LEXINGTON, KY.

The event team created a little bit of Texas on the Kentucky farm of a young woman turning 21 by converting a down-at-the-heels barn into a Texas-style dance hall for 250 guests, complete with the neon signs, margaritas in Mason jars and a mechanical bull. Special touches included wooden invitations and the honoree's “brand” on t-shirts and beer koozies.

69. KBY DESIGNS, RISHON LEZION, ISRAEL

Six-hundred guests at a “1,001 Nights” bat mitzvah held in a desert canyon celebrated with a 900-square-foot dance floor, a custom performance of fire drums, and a group of 24 musicians playing high-energy music. Instead of keying on decor, the event team used lighting to showcase the stunning vistas.

70. SOMEONE'S IN THE KITCHEN, TARZANA, CALIF.

The event team turned a former yoga studio into a glamorous lounge for the retirement party of “Brian,” a major entertainment industry executive who has an interest in beekeeping. The “Big B” party included a 16-by-16-foot walk-around bar, a “library” area saluting the honoree's professional accomplishments, and a “Beehive Lounge” decked out in bright yellow with black stripes.

BEST EVENT FOR A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL: BUDGET $1,000 AND ABOVE PER GUEST

71. COAST CONCIERGE SERVICES, COSTA MESA, CALIF.

A client determined to prove that “50 is the new 30” celebrated her birthday with a '70s theme event titled “Sally's Studio 50.” Decor included a purple lounge with shag carpet and a “Sally” logo'd bar while the dining room featured walls draped in smoky black taffeta, suspended disco balls and dance cages; an after-party lounge let guests collect their own personal “stash” — a stash of candy, that is.

72. KBY DESIGNS, RISHON LEZION, ISRAEL

For a bat mitzvah that fell on the festive Purim holiday, the event team keyed on a Venetian masquerade theme. A color scheme of bold fuchsias and violet accented with touches of gold and black played against the rich interior of the venue — a century-old former opera house — which the team capitalized on by using the main stage as a projection screen that morphed into a live performance with the honoree as the star.

73. PEPPERMILL RESORT SPA CASINO, RENO

A couple celebrated 50 years of marriage with a “golden gala” that included two gold “Glamazons,” a 12-foot-tall ice bar bearing a gold monogram, and a kabuki drop that revealed the dining room. The dining area featured gold linen, a gold dance floor and a gold “tufted” cake.

BEST EVENT MARKETING CAMPAIGN

74. EXHILARATE, ORLANDO, FLA.

To ensure that attendees at a travel conference didn't sneak out of a luncheon but stayed for the client's presentation, the event team used the run-up to the conference to promote the client's new initiatives and offer prizes via social media. At the luncheon, 15 guests received special champagne glasses, which awarded them a trip on the client's cruise line.

75. GLOBAL EVENTS GROUP, MADRID

The event team used a film festival based in one Spanish city to broaden the appeal of a beer company based in another, “rival” city. To woo the target city, the event team handed out 10,000 flower pots with the city's signature red geranium — red also the beer company's signature color — and logo'd banners, which residents proudly placed on their balconies, underscoring the “red carpet” of movie premieres.

76. INSGLUCK EVENT MARKETING, BERLIN

The client's exhibition booth at CeMAT 2011 featured dramatic architecture designed to emphasize the brand's core values, including performance, innovation and versatility. Six 15- to-20-minute demo videos played each day, offering bilingual presentations on the features of the company's vehicles.

BEST THEATRICAL ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTION

77. CORPORATE MAGIC, DALLAS

Following a $200 million restoration in the wake of Nashville's catastrophic floods of 2010, the landmark Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center celebrated with a three-day extravaganza for a select group of 400 meeting planners, travel executives and media. With only 90 days to prepare, the event team created a series of multimedia presentations including opening ceremonies, public and private concerts, and the lighting of a Christmas tree.

78. LUMINOUS EMC LTD., HONG KONG

For the grand opening of a prominent resort, the event team paired the event with the opening of a museum — a big media draw. Events included a celebrity chef press conference, the hotel opening, the museum opening (with a Genghis Khan theme), the “Wonder Full” light and water show, and a gala dinner.

79. T. SKORMAN PRODUCTIONS, ORLANDO, FLA., AND RAY RAMSAY AND ASSOCIATES, ORLANDO, FLA.

To motivate more than 1,200 hotel general managers, the entertainment producer created a 40-minute custom musical — based on the hit TV show “Glee” — that showed the hotel's general managers how to meet management's goals. Instructive 3D videos were inserted in the live production, which spectators viewed using 3D glasses.

BEST DECOR: BUDGET UNDER $20,000

80. AOO EVENTS, LOS ANGELES

Eighty top performers were treated to dinner at a restaurant on the 24th floor of a hotel overlooking the downtown L.A. skyline. To make the most of the view, the event team moved out the existing furniture, replacing it with three 24-foot-long tables with arrangements of red roses down the center and clear Louis XIV Ghost chairs; cherry blossom branches attached to chandeliers overhead created a canopy of light and floral.

81. EVENTWORKS, LOS ANGELES

A “Las Vegas legends” theme with a black, white and red color scheme helped make the 186 guests at a final-night awards dinner at a casino resort feel honored. The event team made the most of a tight budget by draping the room in white velour, flanking the stage with two tall black urns topped with white floral, and lining the walls with oversize images of Las Vegas legends such as entertainer Wayne Newton in big black frames.

82. WILKINSON RHODES, SAN ANTONIO

For a Sweet 16, the honoree was treated to a hotel ballroom transformed into a Venetian palace, where the “masquerade” theme included costumed stilt-walkers serving “Mask-tinis,” a pre-function area flanked with topiary trees filled with gold and copper butterflies and gold Venetian masks, and a ballroom festooned with hundreds of yards of dupioni silk and butterfly masks.

BEST DECOR: BUDGET $20,000 TO $49,999

83. AOO EVENTS, LOS ANGELES

For a fundraiser-plus-fashion show, the event team saluted designer Salvatore Ferragamo with a dramatic stage in midcentury modern style. A gleaming white runway changed colors over the course of the show, and two 5-foot-wide, 7-foot-tall red chandeliers complemented the red of the Ferragamo logo as well as the red floral and chair accents.

84. EVENTWORKS, LOS ANGELES, AND KUONI DESTINATION MANAGEMENT, SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.

For the client's awards ceremony, the event team designed a surreal “Alice in Wonderland” party complete with a chessboard entryway lined with oversize flowers, a “Red Queen” reception area with red velvet couches, and 6-by-8-foot gilded picture frames with images of famous characters from the story, including live “Cheshire Cat” performers. Dinner tables were customized to various characters, such as the “Mad Hatter” table, with a wild mix of floral and hats suspended overhead, and the “Red Queen” table, featuring a dazzling display of red roses.

85. MGM RESORTS EVENTS, LAS VEGAS

A VIP hotel guest was treated to a Moroccan-style birthday bash in a posh nightclub that had been transformed into three distinct experiences: a street bazaar cocktail area, a “sultan's feast” dinner, and a high-energy dance floor placed among billowing nomadic tents. Decor highlights included rich textiles, detailed ottomans, a hookah lounge, a zigzagging dining table crowned with umbrellas, and the honoree's initials inscribed on the dance floor.

BEST DECOR: BUDGET $50,000 TO $150,000

86. BLUEPRINT STUDIOS, SAN FRANCISCO

For the San Francisco Symphony's centennial anniversary, 1,800 guests enjoyed a progressive event that took them through San Francisco landmarks including the War Memorial Opera House and the City Hall rotunda. Highlights included a walk through a “time tunnel” with a photo montage of the symphony's history, and performances by virtuosos Itzhak Perlman and Lang Lang.

87. EVENTWORKS, LOS ANGELES

For a multi-day incentive, the event team created a special “Food and Wine Experience” showcasing four internationally renowned chefs in the resort's ballroom for 800 top-tier attendees. To give guests the sense that they were visiting four different restaurants, each chef had his own “open-air kitchen” food station in a corner of the ballroom, which featured a huge “Bubble” wine and champagne bar dead center.

88. HELLO FLORIDA! INC., ORLANDO, FLA.

The deft event team took only two hours to turn a ballroom and pre-function area used for a general session into a blow-out pirate party for 1,300 insurance brokers and their guests. For maximum visual impact, each buffet and bar was created from functional decor items — for instance, a decorated center bar not only dispensed drinks but also served as the stage for a sword fight and a dance number.

BEST DECOR: BUDGET ABOVE $150,000

89. MGM RESORTS EVENTS, LAS VEGAS

Techy met sexy at this New Year's Eve party. Guests entered the event space by walking down a hot-pink carpet past oversize graphics of women's eyes and lips, finally coming to the “boudoir ballroom” where 16-foot-diameter video chandeliers and “LED wallpaper” displayed video content.

90. MGM RESORTS EVENTS, LAS VEGAS

A “Las Vegas Then and Now” party kicked off the PCMA annual conference, immersing 3,500 guests in a journey from Vegas' rowdy beginnings to its sophisticated style of today. Decor elements included a “wedding chapel” with an “Elvis” officiant, “Liberace” beneath a glittering piano chandelier, and a “Twitter Lovers Lounge” featuring chairs shaped like lips and a backdrop of 10-foot-tall 3D letters spelling “LOVE.”

91. SYZYGY EVENT PRODUCTIONS, GAITHERSBURG, MD.

A gala for 400 guests helped National Geographic honor deep-sea explorers by transforming the cafeteria at the society's headquarters into the sea floor. Thanks to thoughtful elements such as 180-foot-long video screens showing undersea life, mirrored tables that bounced light around as though guests were under water, and centerpieces suggesting coral reefs, even veteran undersea explorers were impressed.

BEST EVENT FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION: BUDGET UNDER $100,000

92. EURO EVENTS LTD., DUBLIN

For the press preview of BMW's electronic concept car — a vehicle worth $4 million — the event team hosted 200 media and VIP guests at Dublin's Aviva Stadium for receptions and the reveal. Bringing the car into the stadium required construction of a custom platform that enabled a crane to lift the car onto a balcony and then into the stadium.

93. EURO EVENTS LTD., DUBLIN

To create the “rural setting in an urban location” that the client required to showcase the off-road features of the new Mini Countryman, the event team created a “country space” in the parking lot of a downtown Dublin hotel. Decor elements included a genuine lawn “floor,” painted backdrop scenes and colorful benches; attendees could drive the cars from the hotel to a country estate.

94. POP KOLLABORATIVE, CALGARY, ALBERTA, AND CALGARY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, CALGARY, ALBERTA

For a speaker series designed to challenge assumptions, the event team challenged the conventional gala by upending floral in vases, serving a dessert that mimicked a breakfast of eggs and toast, and using young ballerinas not only as dancers but also as food servers. The simple decor included signs attached to mirrors posing questions to guests.

BEST EVENT FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION: BUDGET $100,000 TO $249,999

95. EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS, SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.

To underscore BMW's commitment and importance to South Carolina, the opening ceremonies for a new plant in the state included a time-lapse video showing construction of the plant, IMAG projections of the BMW CEO and state governor, a parade of hundreds of factory workers, and a reveal of the first car from a new model off the assembly line.

96. MDN PRODUCTIONS, DENVER

A client-appreciation event treated 1,000 guests to a “Fairy Tale After Dark” party, including an Enchanted Forest featuring aerialists, stilt-walkers, contortionists and belly dancers, and the Twilight Tavern, where a werewolf and a vampire played dueling pianos and a food station featured a talking pig. When more guests than expected tried to board the first run of shuttle buses to get to the party, the event team quickly rerouted the buses to pick up guests as efficiently as possible.

97. SOMEONE'S IN THE KITCHEN, TARZANA, CALIF.

For the gala celebrating winners of the Oscars for foreign language films, guests enjoyed a contemporary lounge with a retro vibe. A color palette of teal, pomegranate and platinum added to the glamour of the lounge setting, while a custom-built buffet structure showcased spectacular floral along with a lavish “all-caviar” station.

BEST EVENT FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION: BUDGET $250,000 TO $500,000

98. E=MC2 EVENT MANAGEMENT, CALGARY, ALBERTA

A home-builder celebrated 50 years in business with a “block party” that included a reception decorated like a backyard barbecue and dinner in a ballroom divided into five decades, each with a large framed façade of a period home and accompanying vignette. The 1960s vignette included lava lamps, shag carpet, bead curtains and wood paneling while the home of today featured a sectional, an entertainment center and a large plasma screen.

99. ON STAGE PRODUCTION AND CONSULTANT LTD., HONG KONG

To help an international insurance company launch a new logo and brand identity, some 2,000 salespeople enjoyed a “colorful future” party with mascots in the new corporate colors, an illuminated dragon dance and a pyro display. As the CEO announced the big prize of the night, a Mercedes-Benz suddenly rose from an elevator stage, adding a big “wow” moment.

100. POP KOLLABORATIVE, CALGARY, ALBERTA

The “MindJam” event — celebrating the opening of a new building in Toronto — was designed as a “smart” event that defied guest expectations. The invitation included a USB drive with a video about the building, arriving guests were greeted by name thanks to a carefully coordinated alert system, the menu consisted of dishes not seen before in the city, and the entertainment finale included performers who materialized from the audience and “flew” overhead.

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

101. ALISON SILCOFF EVENTS, MONTREAL

The event team parodied the image of Canada as a frozen land with the July “Frostbite” event. Some 1,300 guests at the Montreal Convention Centre traveled through an ice tunnel — complete with stalactites and howling wind effects — to reach a 50,000-square-foot space featuring an 8-foot-tall ice bar, “shimmerliers” dangling from the ceiling, buffets dressed in sparkling linen, and performers skating on a “glice” rink.

102. BBDO LIVE, BONN

Some 2,000 guests celebrated the 125th anniversary of tool and technology company Bosch and the 150th birthday of founder Robert Bosch with a gala that turned employees into the main actors. A symphony composed for the event was played by 125 Bosch musicians, and a multimedia show saluted the company's worldwide workforce.

103. THE PENINSULA CHICAGO, CHICAGO

Chicago's Peninsula Hotel celebrated its 10th anniversary with a blow-out party for 1,200 guests with the theme “The Peninsula: Past, Present, Future.” Environments included a blues club and a Parisian discotheque, and entertainment ranged from a geisha on stilts and aerialists to popular musicians.

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