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Best of 2010: 10 Miami/South Florida Event Industry Highlights

Equinox Fitness Club's morning yoga sessions at the Hotel Thrillist promotion

Photo: Nick McGlynn

As part of our Best of 2010 look back at the last year, we’ve asked our local editors to share their—admittedly subjective—take on the most important things to happen in their markets this year. Here’s what made waves in South Florida this year.

1. Hotel Thrillist
In an effort to create a more grounded presence in one of its 16 markets, New York-based men's lifestyle email newsletter Thrillist created the inaugural Hotel Thrillist in Miami Beach in June. The company ran national and local online sweepstakes for readers to win a room at the Fontainebleau—which Thrillist rebranded with signage and designated activity areas for the weekend—and access to its sponsored events. About 200 people from around the country, plus 100 locals and national media, attended the three-day event.

2. Unique Use of Staging
For TD Bank’s annual C.E.O. Wow! Leadership Awards dinner, which takes place in a different city each year, on March 15 the company headed to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. Jennifer Savica, TD’s vice president of event management, used the Knight Concert Hall in an unconventional way by hosting the 425-person cocktail reception on the hall’s permanent stage and dinner at tables on a graduated platform covering the theater seats. 

3. Celebrity Integration at ESPN the Magazine’s Next Super Bowl Party
On February 5, ESPN the Magazine hosted its annual Super Bowl event, the Next Big Weekend party, at the Fontainebleau for nearly 2,800 athletes, celebrities, sponsors, and ESPN executives—nearly twice as many as in 2009. After walking the 65-foot red carpet, select celebrities and athletes stopped by the Samsung Interview Tent for a chat with rapper Nelly. ESPN’s digital media team coordinated the on-site interviews, which aired that night on ESPN.com.

4. Hornitos Tequila’s Mischieve in the Garden of Agave Party
The brand hosted a late-night party at the Sagamore during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in February. Evoking a sexy Garden of Eden theme, the company had a costumed entertainer, among other roaming performers, regale guests from inside a bar at the far end of the hotel’s pool.

5. Creative Catering Display
Mayors Jewelers celebrated its 100th anniversary on November 19 with a dinner gala for more than 200 of the brand’s jewelry vendors and guests at the Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove. Hotel chef Michael Finizia created the menu with an intermezzo course of white peach gelato served inside an ice sculpture carved with the Mayors logo.

6. Cute Branding at Tide’s Athlete-Focused Detergent Launch
Leveraging the many sweaty athletes in town for Super Bowl XLIV weekend, Tide launched its new Tide Plus Febreze Freshness Sport laundry detergent with an activity-filled party atop the W South Beach. BMF Media Group produced the event, staging four sports activations—a football throw, three-hole putting green, basketball shoot-out, and tennis target practice—each branded with the new detergent's logo on the hotel's rooftop tennis and basketball courts. Nearly 500 people attended the four-hour event, which spokeswoman Venus Williams hosted and featuring entertainment from DJs Irie, Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy, and Solange Knowles.

7. Bud Light Hotel’s High-Rise Staging
Bud Light rebranded the Doubletree Surfcomber Hotel as the official Bud Light Hotel during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLIV in February, including the addition of a high-rise stage erected over the entryway between the hotel courtyard and pool deck. The stage served as the focal point for the nightly parties and entertainment acts, which included rapper T-Pain.

8. Heineken's Dome
The Heineken Dome Experience, one of the four new arenas at the Ultra Music Festival in Bicentennial Park in March, provided the 100,000 guests—double the attendance of 2009—with an unconventional concert experience at the primarily outdoor event. Inside the dome, Heineken used green lighting and video projections on the ceilings and hosted consecutive DJ performances throughout the two days.

9. City-Inspired Art Event
During Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 earlier this month, the title art organization partnered with Creative Time for its “Oceanfront Nights” exhibit. Throughout its four-night run, the event showcased one of four cities—Detroit, Mexico City, Berlin, and Glasgow— through film, music, and video presentations as well as live performances. The Fish Box and gastroPod were a couple of the food trucks stationed at Collins Park to serve guests a variety of small meals during the event.

10. Nespresso’s Coffee-Infused Hors D’oeuvres
Nespresso celebrated the grand opening of its third boutique and café in the United States with a party for 500 in April at the new Lincoln Road location. To tie itself to the Miami market, the Swiss company tapped five local chefs to create small plates incorporating its Grand Cru coffee blends. The company gave each of the chefs a Nespresso machine and samples of the Grand Cru coffee blends to choose which to use in their dishes. The result included Nespresso and chocolate-braised short ribs from Jonathan Eismann of Pacific Time, buffalo tenderloin steak with chili Roma Grand Cru rub from Meat Market’s chef Sean Brasel, and Nespresso bittersweet chocolate toffee bread pudding from Hedy Goldsmith of Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink.