Hurricane Irma aftermath 2017 Photo by Karl Spencer / © Getty Images
Flooding in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Yes, There is Happy Hurricane News for Events

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, here is some good news for the event industry.

In the dark days caused by Hurricane Irma, Special Events wants to share some good news stories. And yes, your help is still needed:

Feeding those in need: “Our employees have been and will continue to be of aid for pre-and post-storm preparedness and recovery,” says Kelly Murphy, founder of Events on the Loose, Deerfield Beach, Fla. The team has delivered cooking equipment to Broward Outreach Center in Pompano Beach, Fla., at the Hollywood Commissary to help feed the needy.

Miami-based caterer A Joy Wallace Catering Production and Design set up kitchens in Miami—despite the lack of power--and dished up to 30,000 meals a day.

The wedding is on: “Calling all wedding professionals: I am providing assistance for displaced couples from Hurricane Irma, the ultimate wedding crasher. If you would like to offer your services, please go to the newly created Facebook page ‘Hurricane Irma Crashed My Wedding!’ We need planners, photographers, videographers and venues. Let’s pull together and help these couples.” JoAnn Ferraro Gregoli, Southhampton, Bermuda.

Happy campers: The teams from Tents Unlimited and Peachtree Tents and Events, Atlanta, have been at work supporting Disaster Resource Group, which builds 1,000-person base camps for linemen.

Your Help is Still Needed

There are still many opportunities for you to help--read more here.

The Story on the Ground

From the teams on the ground, travel updates:

HOUSTON, TEXAS: According to the Harris County Flood Authority, 75 percent of Houston was not directly physically impacted by the storm. Key tourism destinations—the downtown area, Galleria, Museum District and the Texas Medical Center—did not flood or lose power, and "are currently operating at 100 percent capacity." 

JACKSONVILLE, FLA.: Jacksonville’s meetings and conventions facilities are open following Hurricane Irma, and the Visit Jacksonville sales and services team “is ready to assist groups looking to book their next event in our destination.”

MIAMI: Greater Miami and its beaches are open to all visitors, says the the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Nearly all hotels in the destination suffered minimal to zero damage, the bureau says. "The City of Miami Beach reports that 90 percent of Miami Beach hotels are open for business. Many hotels are extending special rates in the wake of the storm. Please check with individual hotels for more information."

TAMPA, FLA. All hotels are open, according to Visit Tampa Bay. “Irma is gone. And she left behind very little damage to Tampa Bay. So now's the time enjoy the beautiful weather that followed Irma into town.”

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. "The Palm Beaches has recovered from Hurricane Irma, especially as it relates to the groups and meetings industry," according to Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO for Palm Beach County’s tourism marketing organization, Discover The Palm Beaches. “The destination is continuing to welcome meetings, conferences and events,” he said. “While being sensitive to those areas that were hardest hit, we want to portray an accurate picture of the minimal storm impact here in The Palm Beaches. This area is ready and open for business, and we are welcoming visitors and major convention groups.”

AND THE BAD NEWS …

The famed Florida Keys are still working to come back from Irma’s ravages. And at press time, Hurricane Maria has pounded Dominica with "widespread devastation," according to CNN, as it barrels toward St. Croix and threatens “catastrophic damage” to Puerto Rico.

Do you have hurricane news to share with us? Please send it here: [email protected].

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