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Editor's Page: 2017--Here We Come! Photo by Ashley Stalker/White Balance Photography

Editor's Page: 2017--Here We Come!

Do you like surprises? If the answer is yes, then you just might love the new year!

As anyone with a dime invested in stocks knows, the business world can deal with ups and downs—it's a sense of uncertainty that makes markets tremble. The seemingly endless U.S. presidential election finally did come to an end. But what the outcome means for the world of events is uncertain.

We kick off 2017 as we do every year, with our exclusive event planner forecast. Our research team polls the industry, and we ask for input from our Special Events Advisory Board. Patrick Cuccaro, managing of Atlanta-based Affairs to Remember Caterers, points out that the election presents us with us a "wild card outcome," as he puts it. It "could prove to be horrible, or it might provide a catalyst for business investment that could put us over the top after years of sustained, steady-but-slow growth. As a large luxury caterer, our fortunes are tied to the health of our economy."

The outlook for the industry is largely positive, the survey says. In an interesting twist, an "uncertain economy" is listed as a big challenge by only 21 percent of in-house pros this year. But a spooky 55 percent of independent pros are concerned about it, way up from the 33 figure from last year. See it all starting on page 8.

There's a lot more to see starting on page 14, where we have the great pleasure of presenting the nominees for the 2017 Special Events Gala Awards.

As usual, our nominees showcase thoughtful branding, thrilling entertainment, top-flight tech and to-die-for decor. But I have been intrigued to see what appears to be an emerging trend: incorporating zombies into your event. And that includes a wedding!

The winners will be named at the Gala Ceremony, Jan. 12 at The Special Event in Long Beach, Calif. I hope you will be there, because it will be a night of drama, joy and fun.

Of that, I'm certain!

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