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The Industry Event of the Year: The Special Event 2023!

Quarter 1, 2023. In less than three short months, we will all be together in sunny Orlando, Florida for The Special Event! There’s a lot happening that last week in March and we are here to break it all down for you and why you need to clear your calendar and book a flight—STAT!


The Special Event: It’s all here!

The Special Event continues to be the premier gathering for professionals who have built their careers in the events and catering industries. Three days of conference sessions coupled with two full days of tradeshow exhibitions, an opening and closing general session, awards ceremony, a leadership luncheon, and three evening events will keep attendees invigorated! All the major industry associations will be in attendance, conference sessions will allow attendees to keep their accreditations current, and “surprise and delight” installations are in the works to keep your social posts snappy. It’s all here in Orlando March 27–30. Here’s a look at a few details!

Opening general session speaker: Marcy Blum

Photo courtesy The Collective You

An “eventista,” Marcy 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.

A graduate of the Performing Arts High School and the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Blum produces events where the entertainment and décor are elegantly theatrical, the food is delicious and creative, the wines are thoughtfully chosen, and the service is beyond spectacular.

Blum is the author of the best-selling "Wedding Planning for Dummies" and "The Wedding Kit for Dummies". She has been named a top international event planner by VOGUE, Harper’s BAZAAR, and Martha Stewart Weddings, and is named one of the country’s five best planners by The New York Times. Blum has been a featured guest on Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly and has been named a ‘tastemaker’ for Homegoods. Blum has produced the weddings of Savannah and LeBron James, Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Gates and Nayel Nassar, Tamiko and George Soros, Kevin Love and Kate Bock, Rickie Fowler, Billy Joel, Katie Lee, Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent, and Padma Lakshmi and Salman Rushdie. Some of her event highlights include Donny Deutsch’s 50th birthday, several of the original marketing events for Comedy Central, the five-story opening of Société Générale in New York, parties for Regis and Joy Philbin, and celebrations for the Rockefeller family.

The Special Event is delighted to welcome Blum to the stage to discuss her philosophy for presenting clients with unforgettable events.

Wednesday, March 29, 9:00 a.m., Keynote stage

Closing general session speaker: Chef Art Smith

SmithA_Photo .jpg

Chef Art 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.

Smith has received two James Beard Foundation awards, the culinary profession's highest honor, and has cooked for some of the world's most famous celebrities. In 1997, Smith became the personal, day-to-day chef to Oprah Winfrey, a position that lasted 10 years and was personal chef to Michelle Obama during her book tour. Smith now coordinates and cooks for special events all around the world. He is frequent guest on the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, and Bravo.

Chef Smith is the founder of Common Threads, a non-profit organization teaching low-income children to cook wholesome and affordable meals since 2003. He believes that through hands-on cooking and introducing children to fresh foods we can help prevent childhood obesity, reverse the trend of poor eating habits, and learn about diversity and tolerance through the celebration of our cultural differences and our commonalities.

In 2015 Smith launched a non-profit organization, Reunion, Florida Garden and Kitchen School, in Madison, FL at the historic Wardlaw-Smith House near his childhood home in Jasper, FL. At Reunion, students of all ages receive free classes on Southern cooking traditions, horticulture, and weather forecasting via Weather Stem systems.

Smith lives in Chicago, IL and Jasper, FL with his husband, renowned artist Jesus Salgueiro. The Special Event is delighted to have Chef Smith onstage at its closing general session on Thursday morning, March 30.

Thursday, March 30, 9:00 a.m., Keynote stage


The Special Event complete: We are family!

The backbone of this event, of course, is the stellar education presented each year and the exhibit hall floor offering the latest in catering and event equipment, supplies, and tastes. This year, expect over 100 classes to choose from via the TSE-only pass just in the conference area alone, Tuesday through Thursday, March 28–30. With a combined Catersource pass, you double your opportunity for learning. Want a look at the conference schedule? Click here and get your look. After January 06, most sessions will be scheduled into their final time/date. You can also search by track, conference, association, and accreditation.

On Wednesday and Thursday, head to the exhibit hall floor for opening and closing general sessions plus classes on the Ignite stage–and more surprises and networking opportunities along the way.

As for the exhibit hall, 2023 will tout a combined show floor, mixing The Special Event exhibitors with Catersource exhibitors for less of a “church and state” feel. After all, we are family—events and catering are hand and glove. We are a perfect fit and stronger together!

Meeting planners!
We have something for you!

Special Events magazine’s sister brand, MeetingsNet, focusing on meetings and incentives, now has its own track at The Special Event! Your pass to The Special Event also includes the opportunity to attend anything within the MeetingsNet track, which includes sessions on speaker contracts, event negotiations, negotiating AV services, and more. Go to and click on TSE-MeetingsNet to find these specific sessions.

Registration is open!

If you are reading this article prior to January 06, quick!, click here and register now for the lowest prices available. After January 06, we start our Early Bird rate (still a great deal). Hotel and travel information can also be found via the navigation bar at the top of the screen.

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