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Special Events

The Special Event 2013 is a Hit in Chicago

Event professionals from throughout the world gathered in Chicago last week for The Special Event. The show ran Jan. 15-18 at McCormick Place.

The week began with the annual Academic Event Professional conference. Protocol expert Chris Young of the Protocol School in Washington explained critical issues such as precedence in determining proper protocol.

Jan. 15 brought the first education sessions, along with the "TSE Starts Here" party at the House of Blues, where the Gold Coast All-Stars rocked the house.

At Wednesday's Opening General Session, Jan. 16, keynoter Seth Mattison of Speak Inc. helped attendees navigate the murky waters of generational differences in the workplace.

Produced by T. Skorman Productions of Orlando, Fla., the Opening General Session also saluted host city Chicago with a video mash-up of Chicago-based scenes from movies including the "Blues Brothers," "The Untouchables" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," along with a take-off of "Saturday Night Live's" "Bill Swerski's Superfans" starring T. Skorman's Paul Creighton, CSEP, customized to The Special Event.


Also at the Opening General Session, Special Events editor Lisa Hurley announced the winners of the Tabletop Gallery competition:

Tabletops Below $1,000 Each:
"Nature in Motion" by The Elegant Petal, St. Charles, Ill.

Tabletops $1,000 and Above Each:
"Nature in Motion" by McBride Events, Glen Allen, Va., and Mosaic, Richmond, Va.

For photos of all the Tabletop Gallery 2013 participants, click here.

At the Opening Night Celebration, chaired by Gwendolyn Y. McNutt, CSEP, of Comcast and Jack Scafide of Cort Event Furnishings at the Bridgeport Art Center, guests were treated to a Prohibition era speakeasy theme, with casino tables, dancing and hip flasks as take-aways.

Entertainment included DJ's in the elevator, dance act Maggie Speaks and Dueling Pianos.

For a video of Dueling Pianos, see below:


Thursday brought Michael Cerbelli's "Hot List" session, where the master showman ran through a bevy of event tools and acts, from Cupcake Pod Machines to wireless guest check-in systems to the Metal Mariachis—an act dressed like punk mariachis playing heavy metal tunes.

To view a video of the Metal Mariachis, see below:

Also on Thursday, the annual Master's Program and Brunch, held at Venue SIX10, was keynoted by Laura Schwartz, former White House director of events. At the luncheon, Sally Webb Barry, CSEP, was awarded the Steve Kemble Leadership Award.

Thursday also featured the Wedding Galleries and Wedding Dinner. (A photo gallery of both events will appear here shortly.)


The highlight of Friday was the Gala Awards and Celebration, held at the Park West Theatre.

The Gala competition—the oldest and most prestigious award in special events—this year brought in 340 entries in 34 categories from Canada, China, Columbia, Denmark, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Highlights of the ceremony including two Gala Awards for Lifetime Achievement, to Bill Pry of BBJ Linen, Chicago, and Leslee Bell of Décor & More, Oakville, Ontario.

For a complete list of Gala winners, click here.

The party segment, masterminded by David Halsey of Chicago's Meetinghouse Companies, featured catering by Chicago's Food for Thought and entertainment by the Larry King Orchestra. Carmel Music and Entertainment handled the awards segment.

To view a video of the Larry King Orchestra at The Special Event Gala Awards celebration, including the mega-hit "Gangnam Style" segment, see below:


The Special Event 2014 runs Jan. 7-10 in Nashville, Tenn.

All photos and video © Special Events.


Protocol Expert Keynotes Academic Event Professional Session

The Special Event 2013 Opens Today in Chicago

The Special Event Launches with Education, Exhibits

Galas Winners Named at The Special Event 2013

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