Over the Top Tents and Events makes events happen in the wild and magnificent Alaska terrain.
The largest state in the union is home to breathtaking landscapes. The mountains, rivers and glaciers provide stunning backdrops for unforgettable events—but along with the wild, untamed beauty of Alaska comes unpredictable climates and challenging accessibility for companies like Eagle River, Alaska-based Over the Top Tents and Events.
What began as a portable sanitation business eventually grew into a full-service tent and event rental company. “As leaders in our state for portable sanitation, we worked with many events throughout the state,” says Shelby Johansen, owner of Over the Top Tents and Events. “Clients appreciated our level of detail, reliability and ability to handle logistics in a timely and professional manner. Many asked us to provide more services and equipment, stating that they wished we could take care of all their equipment needs.”
After careful consideration and researching the field, which included traveling out of Alaska to learn from other leading event suppliers in the industry, Johansen launched Over the Top Tents and Events.
Say yes to the challenge
Johansen says his team takes pride in finding ways to say yes rather than no, which leads them into situations with unique challenges—and solutions. When a company wanted to host a retreat for its employees atop a glacier, Over the Top Tents and Events made it happen. “Working out the logistics was fun, and our crew enjoyed the experience of flying by helicopter to the top of the glacier,” Johansen says. “We had many concerns to consider, however, including the degrees of cant, the load-bearing ability for staking into the glacier, and ensuring that the client had a safe tent in the windy and icy conditions.”
From the number of daylight hours to extreme snow conditions, the crew is up for the challenge. “On summer solstice we have nearly 24 hours of daylight and during winter solstice, as little as five and a half hours, and other conditions vary greatly as well,” Johansen says. “There are the regular hurdles of Anchorage’s urban environment such as time restrictions and road closures, but for us those challenges can include things like working around snow being trucked in for the dog sled teams to run downtown in the Iditarod’s opening ceremony.”
A great time to be in the industry
Among Over the Top Tents and Events’ clients is Special Olympics Alaska. The event company partners with the nonprofit for its annual Polar Plunge, Freezin’ for a Reason, which benefits young athletes with disabilities by gathering pledges and plunging into the icy waters of Goose Lake in Anchorage. Over the Top Tents and Events provides a main warm-up tent equipped with flooring, lights, donated hot tubs, sectioned off dressing rooms, and a registration area, as well as a couple of small support tents for sponsors and emergency medical and rescue teams that are standing by. “It’s a great event that raises money for an even greater cause,” Johansen says.
“The industry is evolving before our very eyes, with challenges and solutions emerging with every new day,” Johansen says. “There are innovations industry-wide for new, exciting equipment and methods that continue to push the bounds of what is possible. This is a great time to be in the tent and event business!”