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Tent shelters trees at fundraising event

Project Briefs | December 1, 2009 | By:

A party, a purpose and a plan come together to raise funds in Virginia.

Each year, the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) hosts a fundraising event, which features cocktails, a seated dinner, a benefit auction and dancing, at a different historic property in the Piedmont region of Virginia. For the past several years, Skyline Tent Co., Charlottesville, Va., has worked with the PEC to make the event a seamless celebration of natural beauty, targeted event planning and goodwill.

For this November 2008 event Skyline incorporated the PEC’s vision of protecting and preserving natural spaces from development. To achieve a seamless transition from inside to out, the company connected the tent to the home—offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside to its guests.

However, one of the challenges for staging the event included a major drop-off created by a stone retaining wall situated in the event area. To compensate for the drop-off, Skyline constructed an 8-by-108-foot deck to run level with the stone retaining wall. The deck was floored with plywood to bridge the uneven transition from the deck to the main area of the tent. The company used an 80-foot-wide pole tent and decking, which allowed for installation of safety railings.

A further challenge—and aesthetic bonus—resulted from two small trees, approximately 15 feet tall each, that were nestled under the tent dome. Keeping in mind the client’s fundraising purpose for the event, Skyline avoided using a more expensive structure by incorporating decking and lifting the 80-by-100-foot pole tent over the trees. To that end, the Skyline team created a custom scaffold shell over each tree and hand lifted the tent over the scaffold towers. Because the space was limited, the stage for the band was constructed around one of the trees, and both trees were uplit, creating dramatic shadows—gifts from the outdoors—inside the tent.

The company also provided additional support equipment for this 2009 IFAI Tent Expo Award of Excellence winner, including two kitchen tents, a restroom trailer, a power distribution tent and a generator.

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