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Special Events
The Special Event 2008

The Special Event 2008

The soul of Southern hospitality — Atlanta — treats the international event community to four days of education, exhibits and outstanding events.

Tony is tops: Tony Conway, CMP, snags the Gala Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Don't blink or you'll miss something …

The Special Event is always a hot ticket — even though this year's event brought a short, surprising snowfall! But the 6,920 industry professionals on hand Jan. 15-18 at the Georgia World Congress Center and Omni Hotel generated plenty of heat all their own ….

“TSE Starts Here”

The Special Event 2008 makes a splash with its first showcasing event: “TSE Starts Here.” The party takes place at Atlanta's famed Georgia Aquarium, the largest in the world.

Opening General Session

The Opening General Session, spearheaded by Dynasty Productions, starts the show off with a mix of great acts, stirring speeches and I-can't-believe-I-just-saw-that magic.

All revved up: Special Events Magazine group publisher Melissa Fromento (on motorcycle, left) and group show director Sharon Morabito roar in to welcome show-goers.


Event professionals eager to sharpen their skills could pick from more than 100 sessions in eight tracks — from business development to design to wedding work — taught by experts in the industry. “The expertise and knowledge of this year's slate of speakers complemented the quality of the event industry's premier conference and trade show,“ says Tara Melingonis, The Special Event's conference manager.

No free seats: A sold-out session draws an appreciative audience.

The Show Floor

A sold-out show floor treats attendees to a dizzying array of products and services that make special events super-special.

Give her a hand: Andrea Liss (left) accepts the award for Best Display of Product from The Special Event's sales manager, Wanda McKnight.

The Wedding Luncheon

The Wedding Luncheon — one of the most popular events at The Special Event — shows that special Southern charm this year thanks to the Atlanta event community.

Tons of pretty tables: The ballroom features four vignettes — “Dahlin',” “Breeze,” “Sizzle” and “Cosmo” to show the many sides of wedding design.

Welcome Party

The Welcome Party — sponsored by the National Association of Catering Executives — packs a tent in Centennial Olympic Park with food, entertainment and fun. And that's not all: The New World of Coca-Cola is open next door, with even more in store.

You move me: A saucy statue gets familiar with a party guest.

Tabletop Gallery

A highlight of the show floor, the annual Tabletop Gallery competition displays an astounding array of stunning designs. (Look for the May issue of Special Events Magazine, which will feature interviews with all the designers.)

"Violet Urban Landscape” by Mosaic, Pittsburgh

"Green with Envy” by Deco Productions, Miami

"By the Sea” by Designs by C.P. Ross, Fayetteville, N.C.

"Green Picnic” by Gary Jones Presents, San Antonio

"Geisha Visions” by All Over Miami, Miami

"Rainy Days” by Planning Factory International, Wilmington, Del.

“Broadway on Tour” by Markei Events and Productions, Coral Springs, Fla.

“What a Girl Wants” by Dressed Up Tables and Events, Palmdale, Calif.

“Origami” by Joanne Hulme's Creativity Inc., Philadelphia.

This year's winners were “Rainy Days” (Tabletops $1,000 and Above Each) and “By the Sea” (Tabletops Under $1,000 Each).

Leadership Brunch

One of the newer traditions at The Special Event, the Leadership Brunch honors the profession's visionaries and pioneers who show us the way to our own future.

SEARCH Cabaret

Where to find late-night fun, food and philanthropy? That's the annual SEARCH Cabaret, benefiting event professionals in need. A mix of acts, auctions and high spirits, the event is packed again this year.

Gala Awards

The most prestigious honor in special events, the Gala Awards showcase the finest event work from throughout the world. And the Gala goes to …

Gala Celebration

The Gala Celebration is just too big for one venue; this year, it's split between cocktails at the Omni Hotel and dinner in a sleek tent.

Toasty tabletop: A band of white fur gives an elegant edge to frosty blue table linen from Wildflower Linens.

Photos by Catch the Moment/

Exhibitor Sponsors

Aggreko Event Services
Gary Meador, 281/985-8290
[email protected]

American Turf and Carpet
Walter Clyne, 562/944-9510
[email protected]

Classic Party Rentals
Michael Miner, 310/966-4900
[email protected]

Colortime Crafts
Michael Platt, 800/500-0770
[email protected]

Cort Event Furnishings
Linda Perez, 702/531-2200
[email protected]

Event Flooring Professionals LLC
Walter Clyne, 888/697-9101
[email protected]

Grosh Scenic Rentals
Jane Copeland, 323/662-1134
[email protected]

Kohler Rental
Stephanie Dlugopolski, 920/457-4441
[email protected]

Moss Inc.
Laura Powell, 207/341-1557
[email protected]

National Association of Catering Executives (NACE)
Bonnie Fedchock, 410/290-5410
[email protected]

Nextalgic Designs
Awny Khashoggi, 407/852-5665
[email protected]

Pink Inc.
Debra Roth, 212/253-6666
[email protected]

Holly Phillips, 828/210-4754
[email protected]

Room Service
Beco Byers, 305/757-7500
[email protected]

Unique Option Event Furniture & Decor
Joe DiBlasio, 407/852-5665
[email protected]

Start planning now for next year

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