WHETHER they help keep guests dry or give a more permanent appearance to temporary structures, the latest accessories add style and functionality to special event tents.
MAKE AN ENTRANCE
Due to stricter safety codes and a desire for more upscale looks, manufacturers are seeing greater demand for glass doors and walls for tents.
Pat Moughan, national sales manager at Losberger U.S in Frederick, Md., notes an increased interest in products such as doors and glass panels that help enclose tent structures, making them more secure and allowing for temperature control. “This is a very big deal for trade show use,” Moughan says. Additionally, glass walls “can create a ballroom feel and a comfortable environment inside the tent while maintaining a great view to the outside.”
It's not only large-scale tents that benefit from such accessories. Losberger recently adapted technology from its glass and cassette walls for use in its small, lightweight 20-to-40-foot-wide frame tents. “This really took smaller tents to the next level,” Moughan says.
At Tentdoors by Stookey Glass in City of Industry, Calif., the company's doors and glass walls have been used to enhance tents at events such as the Kentucky Derby. In addition to creating an elegant entryway, the modular doors — available in French, roll-up and solid-door styles — are easy to install, take down, ship and store, says president Scott Stookey. The company has introduced a single-door model, available with features such as panic hardware, colored glass, and aluminum panels for solid versions of the door, for use in smaller tents.
When it comes to what her clients want in accessories, “Tent companies are looking for ease of setup,” says Sue Wolf of Santa Clarita, Calif.-Based Central Tent. Accessories such as interchangeable fittings and bracings “provide some flexibility to tent installations.” The company's new quick clamps can be used for applications such as attaching flagpoles and doors, as well as for rafter and leg support. The rafter crossbar and leg brace quick clamp allow users to put up tent braces without removing poles from fittings and strengthen leg support on tent frames, Wolf notes.
While tents do a good job of keeping guests dry, they also have a tendency to drip along the edges. Demco Ltd. in Austin, Texas, introduced its new Modular Gutter System in July. The system, which attaches to tent edges, is the first gutter system offered to the industry that works “whether the tent is free-standing, against a building, or in tent-to-tent installations,” says general partner David E. Mathes. The system, which can be used to prevent drips at entrances or along the entire length of the tent, is available in kit form in 10-foot or 15-foot gutter lengths with installation hardware. The kits come standard for 2-inch pipe frames, although gutters capable of fitting other tent frame sizes can be custom-ordered. The company also has introduced a pipe-and-clip kit to the gutter system to “roll the [tent] scallop and secure it so it will remain in the gutter even on the windiest of days,” Mathes explains.
DRESS IT UP
“Tent accessories are the elements that make or break an event, and also where a great deal of money can be made by the renter,” says Brandy Spainhoward, marketing manager at Anchor Industries in Evansville, Ind., which manufactures accessories such as liners, leg skirts and vinyl walls. “These add-ons are hard to resist for brides and party planners.” The company's popular cathedral window walls are made of vinyl, which means they offer the look of glass windows but still are affordable, Spainhoward says. Tent liners are another economical way to create ambiance in a tent. While Anchor offers the liners in many colors, gathered white styles remain the most popular, she notes.
Given the wide range of tents available to rental companies and planners, “Make sure when you are looking into a tent structure that it is capable of accessorizing,” Moughan says. “Even if the budget may not allow for something like glass walls at the time you initially purchase the tent, there will be definite opportunities, so your frame needs to be designed to accept glass or other accessories.”
Anchor Industries, 812/867-2421; Central Tent, 800/997-8368; Demco Ltd., 888/934-6478; Losberger U.S., 800/964-8368; Tentdoors by Stookey Glass, 866/330-5215