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Special Events

Fun at Work

The Special Event always has been an opportunity for getting together. Vendors, planners, venue managers and representatives from every facet of the event industry return year after year to socialize and network, to interact and be entertained. The Special Event 2002, coming to Phoenix Jan. 9-12, is encouraging the spirit of cooperation more than ever before, with a brand-new interactive educational program, a promising partnership for sponsor Special Events Magazine — even a rock 'n' roll reunion extravaganza.


With 20 years in the special event industry, including three years as director of special events and sponsorships for The Special Event, Betsy Wiersma, CSEP, knows a lot about hands-on experience. This year, she brings the learn-by-doing approach to attendees with the Hands-On-Hundred Work Study Program.

Created in response to demands from show attendees who want to know what goes on behind the scenes of the show's large-scale events, Hands-On-Hundred is an “organized, systematic way for people who really want some work experience to get involved with the event part of the show,” according to Wiersma.

She recommends Hands-On-Hundred for both novice event professionals and industry veterans interested in getting a fresh perspective. She notes that the discounted program price, which includes a free education package, a free Welcome Party ticket and staff credentials, makes it a great choice for employers looking for an economical way to send staffers to the show.

One bit of advice: “It is really work,” Wiersma says. “It's about joining the event team and committing a minimum of 10 hours to actually working. Sometimes that 10 hours is going to conflict with other events, or ‘playing,’ or educational seminars.” For those willing to accept the challenge, “They're going to understand why we make the decisions we make, they'll understand how the sponsorships work, how the volunteer management system works.”


Also new to this year's show is the Corporate Meeting Planner Focus — a series of seminars geared toward professionals in the corporate arena. Sponsored by Special Events Magazine sister publication Corporate Meetings & Incentives, the series includes courses such as “Corporate Event Project Management,” taught by Phyllis Mikolaitis, president of Sterling, Va.-based Events Plus of Northern Virginia, and “The Marketing Plan: Creating Results-Driven Events,” presented by Ingrid Lundquist, CSEP, owner of Sacramento, Calif.-based The Lundquist Co.

Melissa Fromento, publisher of Corporate Meetings & Incentives, calls the partnership between her publication and Special Events Magazine “a good opportunity for both of us. The people that read our magazine are planning meetings, along with the special events associated with them.”

While corporate planners pick up information on event vendors and planning strategies, other show attendees “can look to corporate meetings professionals for information on destinations and facilities,” Fromento adds. “It's a great networking opportunity.”

For additional information about The Special Event 2002, call 800/927-5007 or 203/358-3751 or visit

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