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NEW YORK After a decade of producing Chase's annual holiday festival, Karin Bacon of Karin Bacon Events has the basics down pretty well. But every year brings changes, and this, the 11th year Bacon has been in charge of the event--an entertainment-filled spectacle for employees and their families--was no exception.
Example number one: This year the newly merged JPMorgan Chase scrunched the event, which normally spans two days, into one four-hour time span (a budgetary decision that caused much strife among employees who found out too late that the limited number of free tickets were a hot item). And example number two: the aftermath of September 11. The event is sponsored by Chase's diversity committee, and multicultural elements have always been employed (there were Kwanzaa dolls and twirling dreidel characters, in addition to Santa Claus). But this year, “we decided we needed to have some Arab characters, to understand [that] culture,” Bacon told us. “We'd never had an Arab performance group before, and Chase immediately embraced the idea.”
Those additions included Arabian songs and stories, and Moroccan Gnawa music and acrobatics. In fact, those were just two of 14 entertainment events taking place simultaneously during the festival, which took over the Chase MetroTech Center. In the building's lobby, the Bond Street Theatre Band performed jazzy renditions of Christmas carols, while elaborately costumed characters including a snow queen and a character called Jackie Frost entertained kids. Strings of multicolored lights were draped from the ceiling, and bright crepe paper snowflakes hung from the walls.
Upstairs, the hallways were filled with trees and wreaths, all decorated with candy-colored ribbons and ornaments. Kids crowded into the toy-making and holiday card-making sessions, and waited in line as long as an hour to have their faces painted. (Bacon is big on getting guests to participate actively at events, as she told us in an Impresario profile on her.) While crowded with nearly 5,000 people, the festival ran smoothly, thanks to the 264 people Bacon hired for the event.
Read our Impresario profile on Karin Bacon...