- Audio, Lighting, Staging Frost
- Cocktail Reception Floral and Decor Into the Woods Inc.
- Cocktail Reception Liquor Sponsor William Grant & Sons
- Cocktail Reception Venue Bluprint Restaurant & Lounge
- Concierge Lounge Gift Sugar Cookie
- Concierge Lounge Gift Talbott Teas
- Concierge Lounge Invitation Pulp & Ink
- Concierge Lounge Spa Services
- Concierge Lounge, PR, Publicity Julie Darling
- Decor Kehoe Designs
- DJ Arlen Music Productions
- DJ Artists, Events & Entertainment Inc.
- DJ Magnificent Events Ltd. / Maggie Speaks Inc.
- DJ Stitely Entertainment
- DJ, Photography, Video Fig Media
- Education Sessions Audio Visual Sponsor Lakeshore Audio Visual
- Exhibitor Meals GoPicnic
- Exhibitor Reception Venue House of Blues Chicago
- Expo Production Paulette Wolf Events & Entertainment
- Expo Venue Merchandise Mart (The Mart)
- Food Service Catering Foodstuffs Catering
- Furnishings CORT Event Furnishings
- Internet Kiosks, Registration Equipment Abcom Computer & Audio Visual Rentals
- Radios BearCom Wireless Worldwide Chicago
- Registration E-vents Registration
- Signage Signs By Tomorrow
- Staging Nadeau's Ice Sculptures
- Transportation Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Company
- VIP Luncheon Catering Greg Christian Catering
- VIP Luncheon Linen BBJ Linen
- VIP Luncheon Tabletop & Furniture Tablescapes Party Rentals
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CHICAGO BizBash Chicago hosted its first Event Style Expo on August 20 at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. The Mart recently received U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certification. Led by company president Jodi Wolf, Paulette Wolf Events and Entertainment produced the Event Style Expo to stellar reviews.
The House of Blues hosted an exhibitor reception the evening before the expo. Inside the luxuriously appointed Foundation Room, which was filled with architectural artifacts and original folk art, exhibitors had the opportunity to wind down and mingle after a day of setting up their booths. Chicago Trolley Company provided trolley service, and Signs by Tomorrow created the signage for the reception and expo.
The expo offered special event and meeting planners a chance to connect, find new ideas, and get inspired. At the standing-room-only educational conference program, attendees heard from industry leaders on trends in event planning. The day started with “Building an Effective Event Team: What Every Planner Needs to Know,” with John Folks of Minding Your Business and BizBash Chicago advisory board members Martin Balogh of the American Bar Association and Susan Katz of the True Value Company. Caterer Greg Christian led a session on how to make events green. His company, Greg Christian Catering & Events, created a unique menu for the V.I.P. luncheon that included chilled peach soup served in an herbed ice bowl. Lakeshore Audiovisual (LSAV) provided all the AV equipment for the education sessions.
Upon exiting the elevators on the eighth floor, attendees were ushered into the registration area, manned by E-vents Registration. Kehoe Designs provided the unique glass and mirrored registration tables, and Abcom’s registration equipment provided a seamless registration process.
Right next to the registration area was the V.I.P. concierge lounge, managed by Darling Creative. The guest list included the planners of the Top 100 events highlighted in the summer issue of BizBash Chicago. Each planner received a mailed invitation designed by Pulp & Ink. The lounge was filled with flowers and furnishings provided by Kehoe Designs. Silken Tent Spa & Boutique offered massages, manicures, and makeup touch-ups to the more than 100 guests who used the lounge for the day. All guests received an exclusive gift bag filled with skin-care products, branded gifts from sponsors such as LSAV and Talbott Teas, and organic, handmade cookies supplied by sugarcookiestore.com.
The general session opened with the induction of BizBash Chicago’s first Hall of Fame. Frost designed a custom LC panel proscenium spanning a 20-foot-diameter rotating stage. Inductees were: Jonathan T. Howe, president and senior partner, Howe & Hutton Ltd.; Evelyn Laxgang, president, Laxgang Consulting Inc.; Deborah Sexton, president and C.E.O., Professional Convention Management Association; and Paulette Wolf, C.E.O., Paulette Wolf Events & Entertainment. Classic Party Rental was the expo’s official equipment sponsor.
Larry Deutsch, senior vice president and managing director of Jack Morton Worldwide, led the morning’s keynote presentation with a session titled “Experience Matters: Making the Case for Events in Tough Economic Times.” Drawing on best-practice case studies and recent research, Larry showed the audience the best results stem from live experiences that drive sales and client loyalty.
The trade show floor opened at 11 a.m. The aisles were quickly crowded with planners checking out exhibitors’ fabulous booths. More than 80 exhibitors showcased their products and services, ranging from venues to event production to catering to floral design. Anchoring the east end of the show floor was a retreat for attendees, sponsored by Cort Event Furnishings (lounge and café seating), Abcom (Internet kiosks) and Foodstuffs (food service) with Fig Media manning the DJ area. A mini-session stage designed by Frost, who also provided the lighting and audio, anchored the setting for speakers and entertainment throughout the day. On the south side of the show floor, adjacent to the food-service area, was another lounge designed by Kehoe Designs. This seating area overlooked the Chicago River and the downtown skyline.
The mini-sessions, supported by three influential suppliers in the Chicago event industry, were well attended. Bill Pry of BBJ Linen showcased the latest trends in linen for 2009, and introduced styles like the Kyota and the Black Phantom. Colin Falco, owner of stationery and invitation boutique Pulp & Ink, demonstrated how he designs corporate special event invitations with personal touches. Wrapping up the mini-sessions was Dennis Remer from Frost, who extolled the virtues of LED and green technology in lighting design.
Midway through the day, BizBash Chicago hosted a V.I.P. luncheon. Attendees included the speakers and presenters from the day’s events and BizBash Chicago advisory board members. “Aspen Comes to the City” was Kehoe Designs’ inspiration for the luncheon. Evoking nature and the casual elegance of a mountain resort, the tabletop and room decor were highlighted with matsumota wood branches, cattle horns, and burled wood. Mango cymbidium and Isabel mokara orchids complemented Tablescapes tabletop appointments and chocolate suede chair covers. Espresso and beige bengaline cloths provided by BBJ Linen were placed on alternating linear tables. Classical guitarist Carlos Bendfeldt performed throughout the luncheon and later that day at the cocktail reception.
Numerous other musical acts entertained attendees. Leading into the morning’s general session were Ken Arlen’s Sirens, four leather-clad women performing rock ’n’ roll on violins. Two groups on Carmel Music & Entertainment’s roster appeared on the main stage. First was Los Lunares, featuring Fernandez + Kimball Spanish Guitars. This ensemble combined guitar with percussion, vocals, and flamenco dancing. Immediately following was Malik’s Ultimate Vocal Ensemble, performing Motown, soul, and contemporary party music. Maggie Speaks then took the stage, playing favorites from more than five decades of music. And then Swing Gitan, represented by Stitely Entertainment, grabbed the audience’s attention with its blend of Gypsy jazz. The vibrant sound of Mike Walter’s Jazz Quartet, presented by Artists, Events & Entertainment Inc., rounded out the day’s entertainment.
At the highly anticipated afternoon general session, Donald Trump’s original Apprentice, Bill Rancic, took center stage in front of a packed house. Bill spoke about how to succeed in business and life, describing his journey from small-business owner to author to TV personality.
At the conclusion of the day’s events, attendees were feted at a cocktail reception at Bluprint, a Blue Plate Restaurant. The planners packed into the sophisticated venue celebrated BizBash Chicago’s expo launch. Gorgeous floral arrangements designed by Into the Woods included miniature calla lilies and pin-cushion proteas in ceramic bird containers shipped directly from a corporate event in Greece. William Grant & Sons provided drinks, which matched beautifully with the food.
BizBash would especially like to thank Michael Ancheta and Nancy DeBiasi of the Merchandise Mart and their teams for their exhibitor and show management. They made it a dream venue to work in, and we look forward to hosting our next Event Style Expo at the Merchandise Mart on August 20, 2009. Our overwhelming gratitude goes out to our exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees, all of whom made our event such a smashing success. Please make sure to visit www.pictage.com/533117 to view all the event photos from Fig Media.