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Special Events Blog

Bask in the Sunshine: Show Preview Part 1

Catersource + The Special Event head to Orlando, March 27–30

Catersource + The Special Event is the best place to expand your network, learn from industry veterans, and get inspired about your career. This year will be bigger and better with several additions, including the new MeetingsNet track for meeting planners. Get ready to grow as an event professional as we celebrate the incredible world of events!

Don’t miss a moment! Arrive early Monday 3/27, depart Friday morning 3/31

Arriving early? On Monday, kick off your week by attending a Venue Tour around Orlando, then head to Connect Live, held at Big Fin Seafood Kitchen at 7:30 p.m. and ending at 10:30 p.m. End your week by joining us at the Closing Night Celebration at ICON Park. In between, you won’t want to miss a thing. Here’s a look at all that will be offered!

Take a Venue Tour to see the magic of Orlando

Arriving on Sunday or very early Monday? Here’s how you should start your experience! On Monday, March 26 at 1:00 p.m., we’ll hop aboard buses to tour some of the stand-out venues of Orlando. It’s a perfect way to gather inspiration, see some magical spaces, and start networking for the week! Venues will include USTA, The MEZZ, Vu, and ICON Park.

See Marcy Blum LIVE

Photo courtesy The Collective You

At the Opening General Session on the Keynote Stage, Marcy Blum will kick off the 2023 Catersource + The Special Event conference and tradeshow with her session, “The Old Razzle Dazzle: Tips on Reaching the Next Level of Hospitality.” Blum is an expert in entertaining, etiquette, food, and wine. She has been producing creative, magical, and personal events for over 30 years, launching Marcy Blum Associates in 1986 and is frequently noted as an innovator in the events industry. Blum infuses her culinary arts background with her humorous and sane approach to entertaining, to create extraordinary memories for her clients. The highly renowned, self-deemed New York City “eventista” will discuss her philosophy for presenting clients with unforgettable events on Wednesday, March 29th at 9:00 a.m. The Opening General Session is included in the purchase of any pass, from All Access to tradeshow only.

Click here to read a full profile on Marcy Blum.

See Art Smith LIVE

SmithA_Photo .jpg

At the Closing General Session on the Keynote Stage, renowned chef and humanitarian Art Smith will take the stage on Thursday, March 30th, at 9:00 a.m. for his session “Creating a Brand,” where he’ll discuss how he became a chef and give advice on planning, creating trademarks, financial success, and more.

Smith is the executive chef and co-owner of Blue Door Kitchen & Garden in Chicago, Southern Art & Bourbon Bar in Atlanta, Art & Soul in Washington DC, Art Bird & Whiskey Bar at Grand Central Terminal in New York City, and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen & Southern Shine Bar at Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort. He has received two James Beard Foundation awards, is the author of several books, and is the founder of Common Threads, a non-profit organization teaching low-income children to cook wholesome and affordable meals since 2003. The Closing General Session is included in the purchase of any education pass or tradeshow plus pass.

Click here to read a Q&A with Art Smith.

New Voices 

Michael Israel, Artist, Entertainer, Speaker, Fundraiser, Michael Israel Inc 
“High-End Interactive Virtual Events with 3D Stage Entertainment & Live Auctions” 
8:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 28 

Gabriela Siebach, Conference Interpreting Services Manager, Cesco Linguistic Services 
“The Ultimate Guide to Flawless Multilingual Events” 
10:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 28 

Heather Rogers, Co-founder/Speaker, Curated Entertainment 
Velia Amarasingham, Co-founder/Speaker, Curated Entertainment 

“Top Ten Tips For Proposals That Pop!” 
11:15 a.m. Tuesday, March 28 

Justin Ball, CMP, President & Founder, Bespoke Event Group LLC 
“Five Wellness Trends Meeting Planners Need to Follow” 
11:15 a.m. Tuesday, March 28 

Kawania Wooten, Principal Consultant, Howerton+Wooten Events and The Enlightened Creative 
“Emergency Preparedness for Creative Pros: What to Do When ‘Stuff’ Hits the Fan” 
11:15 a.m. Tuesday, March 28 

Shaun Gray, Managing Member, Shaun Gray Events, LLC 
“5 Tips For Showing Up On Short Form Video” 
11:15 a.m. Tuesday, March 28 

Alexis Amato, CEO, Manifest with Alexis 
“Posting for Profit!” 
1:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 

Jen Salerno, CMP, DES, Host & Moderator, JTS Connect, LLC & The Room Block Podcast 
“Five Hacks to Ensure Your Conference (Emcee) is a Hit!” 
1:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 

Rolando Espinoza, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Champagne Creative Group 
“Adventures In AR: Adding the WOW Factor with Smartphones” 
2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 

Jordan Heller, Owner, Suncoast Wedding & Event Leaders (SWEL) 
“Networker, He Wrote” 
4:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 

Adam Kahan, Senior Vice President, Empire Entertainment, Inc. 
“Carpe Per Diems! A Close (& Fun) Look at Managing Speaker & Entertainment Contracts” 
1:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 29 

Alan Katz, President, Great Officiants 
“How to Get Your Business on TV & Promoted in the Media” 
1:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 29 

Annette Naif, Event Producer/Business Coach, Naif Productions LLC 
“How to Start an Event or Wedding Business” 
2:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 29 

Tiffany Rose Goodyear, CEO, Scentex  
“Elevate Guest Experience with the Power of Scent”  
2:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 29 

Zohe Felici, Owner, Felici Events & Zohe Felici  
“Book Additional Five Figures Per Month with a Simple 5 Step Strategy”  
2:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 29   

Christopher Shelley, Celebrant, Illuminating Ceremonies 
“Ceremony Magic: How Wedding Ceremonies Can Launch the Party”
11:15 a.m. Tuesday, March 28 


Event sessions to get the ideas flowing

Wellness presentation.jpg
A session from David Merrell and Jaka Jaiteh (AOO Events) last year called Designing Events
in this New COVID Reality covered the latest health and wellness trends.The session included
a sound bath meditation for extra oomph. Photo courtesy WASIO Photography

Get ready to be struck with creative ideas for 2023 and beyond. This year’s lineup features classes that will spark creativity in all aspects of your business. With topics focusing on sustainability, trends, branding, professionalism, company culture, event tech, magic and wow-factors, wellness, and weddings (and much, much more) you’ll leave The Special Event full of ideas and be ready to innovate!

Competitive cooking

Who doesn’t love a good culinary competition? Watch DICED on Wednesday, March 29th at 11:00 a.m. to see chefs create the latest food trends right before your eyes (while they compete for a cash prize!). Impress clients with the “I saw it first” pitch you’ll be able to give after seeing the best in the industry whip up inspired dishes.

Or, if you want to learn about cooking competitions and why your clients love them, join Chef/Owner Lee Anderson of Sugar Beach Events, Hawaii, as she leads randomly selected attendees through the workings of setting up a cooking competition for clientele. In her Creating Cooking Competitions for Corporate Team Building Experiences (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m.) you can learn from a master chef how she assists planners in setting up competitions for their clients, and then watch it live—how it all unfolds, and the team building and actionable skills your clients will enjoy.

Certified Catering Consultants

Need a quick consultation about the catering aspects of your events? We have you covered—the Certified Catering Consultants (CCC) are experts in many applicable areas. They will offer free half-hour appointments on site to address your hospitality-related challenges, identify your highest value opportunities, and/or help you improve your business and ROI. Head to Honeybell Boardroom W233 to sign up for a free consultation during show hours Tuesday through Thursday.

Discover new ideas on the tradeshow floor

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Tables came to life at Pzazz, Inc.’s 2022 spot on the tradeshow floor. Photo courtesy WASIO Photography

This year’s tradeshow floor will look a bit different—we’ll be mixing The Special Event exhibitors with Catersource exhibitors for less of a “church and state” feel. After all, we are family! You’ll be able to browse, learn, taste samples, and buy from a plethora of trendsetting and relevant exhibitors, who are here to help you grow your business and recognize potential.

The excitement of the Opening and Closing General Sessions will also take place on the tradeshow floor with keynote speakers Marcy Blum and Chef Art Smith.

The tradeshow floor will also host a lively happy hour on Wednesday afternoon starting at 4:00 pm. First, enjoy the lively and cocktail-filled session for inspiration, Cocktail Trends with Pasha & Jeff on the Keynote Stage, starting at 3:15 p.m. and then move onto the exhibit hall floor to enjoy libations while chatting with exhibitors.

Want to know how to build a beautiful tablescape incorporating lush florals? You’ll want to be on the tradeshow floor at 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday. Join expert Las Vegas florists Michelle Joy Howard and Mylo Lopez for a fun and interactive way to express your creativity. Four to six teams will be tasked to create a fabulous tablescape with all the trimmings. In the fashion of a TV reality series, each team will be assigned a table and an overall client request. They will then have timed phases to design, choose products, and produce a tablescape. Tables will be available for photography afterward!

Finally, the Ignite stage on the tradeshow floor will offer a variety of business-forward intel. Join companies such as Instawork, Polaris Leasing, Kenect, Nowsta, and AllSeated as they present state of the industry-style information crucial to your business building needs.

Click here for Part 2 of the Catersource + The Special Event Show Preview!

  • Leadership lunch
  • Evening events
  • Awards ceremony
  • Event Escape
  • and more!

Register Now!

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