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BiZBash's Big Event Trade Show

November 7, 2001, 12:00 AM EST

At the BiZBash Javits Event Expo 2001--The Fresh Idea Show at the Javits Center, a stage for the education sessions and event town hall was decorated with a giant splash of BiZBash-y confetti and ribbons by Pink Inc., and Special Events Available Light placed Airstar lighting balloons on both sides of the stage.

BiZBash Javits Event Expo 2001--The Fresh Idea Show Javits Center Thursday, 11.01.01, 2 PM to 7 PM
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For those of you who were unable to make it, the BiZBash Javits Event Expo 2001--The Fresh Idea Show at the Javits Center was a good time (but of course we'd say that--we were the co-hosts). More than 150 special event industry vendors showcased their products and services to a crowd of 2,000 people who looked for new ideas and vendors, and listened in on two education seminars and the first town hall-style meeting for the New York special event industry.

Managed by Olive NY Inc., the event featured decor from Freeman Decorating (Javits' in-house supplier) and Pink Inc., whose “tree of life” decor installation soared to the ceiling of the trade show floor in a web of white tensile fabric. Pink Inc. also decorated the background of the education seminar stage inside the River Pavilion with a giant splash of BiZBash-y confetti and ribbons, and Special Events Available Light placed Airstar lighting balloons on both sides of the stage and at the entrance.

A few of the trade show booths that got a lot of attention: Was it a fishy coincidence that catering company Great Performances and the decor mavens at Eventstyle both employed live fish at their trade show booths, or are fish a new trend in event decor? Great Performances set up three tall vases full of water that contained tons of live, tiny goldfish against a wavy blue backdrop, and small containers full of candy Swedish fish were stacked in front with the company's literature. (We heard they were even giving away the live fish as they packed up their booth.) Fellow catering companies Match Catering and Eventstyles and Matthew Kenney Catering & Events also offered a taste of what they can bring to events. Match's petit fours were both attractive and delicious, judging from how often they had to replenish their supply. Matthew Kenney's booth offered three different kinds of ceviche. Another great booth: New York Fun Factory's Zen-like set-up with tall tables covered with silver tablecloths, white potted orchid plants, a shoji paper screen in the rear and a bubble machine that drew attention to its booth.

Walking the trade show floor also might have had a slightly surreal feeling, as look-alikes--some better than others--from Chez-zam Entertainment Group and Gina Lennon Associates had guests doing double-takes as characters such as Colin Powell, Cher, Austin Powers and Joan Rivers strolled by.

For the education sessions, the first panel about new roles for security and technology in events was moderated by Bryant Rousseau of MIM.com. Panelists Chuck Garelick of GSS Security Services and Anthony Poveromo of 21st Century Security stressed the importance of not scrimping on security costs, and of including security professionals in the planning process. “The security must be included from the start to the finish,” Garelick said. Both men agreed that security is important to both planners and their guests. “People attending events now are looking for security,” Poveromo said. “They feel better when it's in the room.”

Mary Ann Pierce of Events Digital said that while Webcasting and video conferencing demand did rise following the attacks, it won't entirely replace corporate gatherings. Pierce also said that in the wake of the recent anthrax scares and fears of contaminated mail from post office sorting machines, event planners should consider sending electronic invites via email.

Next David Tutera of David Tutera Inc. moderated a panel discussion about new changes in event style. Tutera repeatedly stressed that event vendors should tell clients the importance of going ahead with events. Panelist Karin Bacon of Karin Bacon Events, who has worked on large festivals as well as more traditional corporate events, spoke about the importance of special events as a way for people to cope with stressful times. She also suggested that giving guests an opportunity to actively participate in an event was a great way to help them deal with the helplessness they may be feeling in other areas.

Richard Blau of Chez-zam noted that the country's current patriotic feelings are influencing event decor and entertainment choices. BiZBash executive editor Chad Kaydo added that many event designers have been softening the tone of their events--avoiding harsh colors or designs in favor of creating a softer, more soothing feeling--while not necessarily creating less lavish events, or spending less money.

At the special event industry town hall meeting moderated by BiZBash president Richard Aaron, the hot topic was the impact of the World Trade Center attacks on the special event industry and the importance of event insurance. Susan Magrino of the Susan Magrino Agency said September was her company's biggest event month, and the impact of the attacks on September 11 hit her hard because many clients didn't reschedule their events.

Peter Hjelm of Event Insurance Brokers said that special event insurance will largely go unchanged following the September 11 attacks, and reminded planners who have been suffering from cancellations that planning for the unexpected is what insurance is for.

Lori Levine of Flying Television Productions pointed out that everyone, herself included, has been working harder for the same amount of money just to keep their businesses afloat. Her job as a celebrity booking agent has become significantly more difficult because celebrities, especially those on the West Coast, aren't willing to fly across the country for New York parties. She also added that future events are going to demand a purpose, and can't be frivolous, expensive parties with no meaning. Her advice was to give clients as many options as possible, not to overspend on unnecessary elements, and to remind corporate clients that there is a need for employee morale boosters now more than ever.

Myles McGrane of the Javits Center said that all of the trade shows and events that were planned to take place at the convention center were rescheduled, and none were cancelled. He also added that security was beefed up in the days following the attacks, but refused to elaborate on what measures have been taken.

BiZBash CEO and editorial director David Adler announced the formation of the NYC & Company Meeting and Event Coalition, which will start a viral marketing campaign next week to promote meeting and convention business in New York. The campaign will compile special offers and discounts from special event vendors in an effort to support the suffering tourism and hospitality industries.

The trade show was followed by a cocktail reception catered by Volume Services America, and featured sushi, a buffet of Chinese food and an assortment of other hors d'oeuvres.

--Suzanne Ito

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