As the 800 guests arrive at event site, they walk down a red carpet and are met with "paparazzi" snapping photos.
Wow start with 6-foot 'astronaut'
Adding to the dramatic entrance, guests listen as the 15-piece Harry James Orchestra plays and are wowed by a custom gold-coasted, 6-foot statute of an astronaut at the entry tent.
The entry tent leads guests into the museum atrium and galleries for the cocktail hour.
Formally dressed staff offer hors d’oeuvre, and premium bars serve a variety of libations.
Guests mingle in the galleries under the wings of magnificent aircraft.
And into the 24,000-square-foot dinner tent
A trumpet call sounds, then the orchestra plays "Up a Lazy River" as guests enter the the 24,000-square-foot dinner tent.
Dinner tent close to runway
The view of the dinner tent--only 20 yards from an active runway!
Dramatic dinner environment
Th stunning tent is fully surrounded in 16-foot-tall cream drape and offset with a red, gold, and black color scheme that took the feel of the environment back to the glamor days of Old Hollywood, complete with tiered platforms 27 feet wide by 72 feet long and 30 feet high that allow a great view of the stage.
On each table sits a unique and dazzling centerpiece that was custom designed and 3-D printed for this event, each adorned with a commemorative plaque.
'Astronauts' 'float' in space
Each statue is placed in a bed of brilliant red floral, and pin-spot lighting makes the "astronauts" look as though they are floating in space.
An 'Academy Awards' look
The centerpieces "tied the whole evening together with regality reminiscent of the Academy Awards," the Tolo team says.
Big golden 'box' chandeliers overhead
Overhead, 20 shimmering, golden square chandeliers cast undulating drops of soft light reflections throughout the room
Guest tables dressed in gold and black
Guest tables are dressed in a variety of gold and black textured linens that alternate throughout the room, surrounded with chiavari chairs topped with black cushions.
Salutes to notables
The gala features a robust entertainment program.
Steve Pool, the evening’s emcee and popular Seattle weather anchor, welcomes guests (above) and introduces the museum chair for short remarks and salutes to notable patrons and VIPs whose influence and passions had helped establish the legacy of the museum.
Other moments included recognition of Mrs. William Boeing, whose husband had passed away earlier in the year, and comments by auctioneer Fred Northup Jr.
Neil Armstrong's son helps with auction
The son of famed astronaut Neil Armstrong (above)--the first person to walk on the moon--helps with the auction.
Solving venue challenges
A view of the pre-event setup.
The event team helped the client solve a big problem--how to get to the venue from the museum.
"Normally, guests had to walk down a grassy slope or they had to walk a long way around, which was prohibitive from an experience perspective," the Tolo team says. "To provide a solution, we worked with the flooring crew to build out a platform over the top of the grassy slope with steps that went right into the parking lot and into the tent. Doing so provided a solution for what the museum saw as an obstacle to the guest experience. It was a challenge that the museum hadn’t known how to solve, and we were able to provide them with a solution."
Sudden heat in Seattle and how to cope
A pre-event view of the dinner tent.
"It’s rarely hot in Seattle, and never in June," the Tolo team says. "This year the thermometer reached the 90s. Guests were supposed to be in a tent--that results in a sauna. With the U.S. Open Golf Tournament just ending, we were nervous about the availability of HVAC units when the client finally made the decision three days before the event. We did find them, and were able to cool down the tent, but without this installation, the temperature inside the tent consistently hovered over 100 degrees."
Surprise guest David Foster
Surprise guest David Foster--the famed musician/composer/producer--takes the stage to kick off an entertainment extravaganza accompanied by a photo montage of 350 significant moments in the museum’s history.
Musical guest Brenda Whittaker performed "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." Winding between his guests and friends, Foster interacted with people from the audience.
The soulful Kenny G and “Babyface” Edmonds crooned, while Sinbad served a healthy dose of laughter.
Building toward the finale
A stage performance.
In addition, opera singer Marcus Shelton, a hip-hop performer, and a jazz artist created magical moments during a 90-minute musical soiree that ended with all musical guests and the Total Gospel Choir in a mash-up of the finale piece "I Believe I Can Fly"--an ideal theme for the Museum of Flight.
All told, the event raised $1.7 million and netted $1.35 million for the Museum of Flight.