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"Hot" Ideas, Mega-Event Experts and Wedding Dinner Shine at The Special Event 2012

Veteran event producer Michael Cerbelli showcased hot acts and cool event elements at "Michael Cerbelli's Hot Event and Entertainment Ideas 2012," a highlight of Day 3 at The Special Event, the industry's premier trade show and conference. The event runs though Friday at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla.

Cerbelli, who also announced his new partnership with Go West Creative Group, presented his "hot list" of event products, including a "Juice Bar" charging station from Pink Inc., cost-effective Austrian-style curtains from Atomic Design, and the Fuji Instax camera system, which produces instant color prints akin to the old Polaroid instant cameras.

A range of lively acts included "The Company Men" from About Entertainment. See the video of their performance here:


The conference's education program continued with sessions including "Hybrid Events: New Trends from Europe, the Middle East and Asia," "The Seduction of Philanthropy" and "Top Five Marketing Design Secrets that Help You Get Noticed."

At the annual Masters Brunch, held at the historic Fletcher Lounge at the University of Tampa, guests enjoyed an elegant meal and a panel presentation from high-level managers of mega events in the area.

Darrell Stefany, who oversees Tampa's famed Gasparilla Festival, shared his techniques for dealing with pushback in recent years from locals upset at the bad behavior of some drunken attendees. His team launched a big ad campaign in 2010 to combat the problem, which has since been given awards for its effectiveness. And when his team finds images of objectionable behavior at Gasparilla posted on social media, he fights back by uploading a host of positive images.

Krista Soroka, with the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee, shared the process of how the committee works to partner local businesses with the client—here, the NFL—to create a successful event.

Mike Miller, chief operating officer of the Republican National Committee, gave attendees a preview of the big media and security issues his team will face when the Republican National Convention comes to Tampa in August.


In a departure from past years, when TSE's annual Wedding Event was a luncheon, the event team created a dinner party in the massive Tampa State Fairgrounds.

Team leader Sean DeFreitas won repeated standing ovations from the guests, who were impressed by the transformation of a space that had hosted a livestock show only two weeks earlier.

The entryway featured beautiful floral trees while the reception area was dominated by an opera singer with a two-story floral train. The huge dining room itself was encased in walls of sheer white drape, while stunning drape boxes with crystal accents were suspended from the ceiling.

DeFreitas emphasized the value of a loyal, professional team and took pains to thank his many vendor partners.


The day concluded with the annual SEARCH Foundation fundraiser, which aids event professionals in crisis.

Friday will feature more classes, a "Breakfast and Bubbly" reception on the exhibit floor, and the Gala Awards and Celebration.

Photos © Special Events


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