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The Special Event Soars

The Special Event made its triumphant return in Miami

The Special Event made its return this past July in Miami, after essentially closing the city of Las Vegas in March 2020 as one of the last large-scale live events. Originally scheduled for March 2021, the event was pushed to July, holding hopes that an effective vaccination would allow us to gather once more. Success! 

“There is a sun rising on the horizon for us because people are ready to celebrate,” said Michael Cerbelli. “This is the start of something new for all of us. Live events are here, and they’re here to stay.”

Over the next few pages, you will have the opportunity to relive the inspiration, memories, and Miami vibes that were over a year in the making. But first, we’d like to take this opportunity 

Registration will open on Nov. 12  for Catersource + The Special Event’s co-located conference in Anaheim, CA, May 2–5, 2022. Go to for more information and for updates on speakers, sessions, and events.

to not only thank this year’s attendees for bringing their enthusiasm, but also express our sincere appreciation to our speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors for providing the conference with top-notch offerings for 2021.

Back together & it feels so good  

One of the overarching themes throughout the week during The Special Event (co-located with sister show, Catersource) was togetherness. Not only was the week about reconnecting with friends and colleagues, but it was also about the unified struggle and support that the industry encountered during the past year. We networked, we celebrated achievements, we learned in the classroom, and shopped on the tradeshow floor. It felt good to be with our colleagues, peers, and industry inspirations.

It’s time to celebrate! 

The feeling of togetherness was no more evident than during Catersource + The Special Event’s evening Showcasing Events where every single one was filled with smiles, hugs, and celebratory cocktail toasts. Starting with Connect Live on Monday evening and ending the week with the Leadership Lunch and Closing Night Celebration on Thursday, there were many opportunities to enjoy the company of others in Miami Beach.

Get inspired

Three days of education sessions covering various event-forward tracks offered hours of learning opportunities. The popular Bridge stage allowed attendees of both conferences to come together and learn on topics such as diversity, leadership, and event trends. Plus, with most sessions audio and/or videotaped, attendees who purchased a full education pass can continue their learning back in the office through December 31. 

We’re back in the event groove

Inspiration could also be found on the combined Catersource + The Special Event tradeshow floor, where attendees could experience innovative products and services to help them transition their businesses into the next phase. Everything from décor to entertainment to technology solutions were on hand to prepare attendees for the onslaught as events return once again. 

A hot list

Every year Michael Cerbelli’s: The Hot List™ highlights the best event trends through performances, demonstrations, and onstage displays. This year, however, Cerbelli focused on conversations with industry partners (Jordan Kahn, Rob Barber, David Lombardo, and others) discussing what they did differently over the past year, as well as the future of the industry. 

Ever-popular comedian Harrison Greenbaum presented a virtual routine that left the audience in stitches, and despite the early morning, everyone in the audience wanted to try the spectacular cocktails presented with finesse by Justin Pasha of The Cup Bearer. Bret Culp opened and closed the show with a follow up to his 100 Million Moments video of 2020. Finally, a live performance from viral sensation Dr. Elvis Francois (the ‘Singing Surgeon’) stunned the audience with its beauty and reminded us all how much our frontline caregivers gave of themselves during the worst of the pandemic. A subdued Michael Cerbelli? Yes. A beautiful and transformative event? As always.

All photos courtesy WTA Photo via SpotMyPhotos unless otherwise noted. 
Kathleen Stoehr also contributed to this article.

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