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A party for party experts

Project Briefs | April 1, 2011 | By:

EventQuip brings back the glamour for chapter gala of National Association of Catering Executives.

When the Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey/Delaware chapter of the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) began planning its annual black tie gala, organizers needed a venue for cocktails, seated dinner and dancing for 200 guests. But what they wanted was a “Bring Back the Glamour”-themed bash that would help energize members as the industry climbs out of the recession.

The event had always been held in a ballroom, but event planner and NACE board member Karen Pecora, wanting something unusual, approached Ed Knight of EventQuip about the use of the company’s Lansdale, Pa., facility for the January 2011 gala.

“The [NACE] committee was inspired by the creative challenge of cocktails in our warehouse using the raw elements of tents and their fittings, steel shelving and industrial ceilings,” Knight says. “This, combined with dinner in a heated structure installed on a multilevel floor that provided the guests with the comfort of a traditional venue and the powerful impact of experiencing a unique setting created solely for the event, cinched the deal.”

For the dinner, EventQuip installed a 25-by-25-meter Losberger uniflex structure with white top and sidewalls in the warehouse parking lot. A 6-meter hex-ended Losberger multiflex with white top and walls and Fibertec doors was installed at the end of the warehouse farthest from the tent, converting an open 20-foot bay door to a sealed entrance. In addition, an Aztec 20-by-90-foot frame tent served as the kitchen.

While many elements contributed to the theme, the flooring configuration created the “wow” factor, Knight says. After cocktails in the warehouse, guests exited through loading dock doors over a clear floor with live decor underneath: a woman in a white dress and powdered wig lounging on a bed swirled with purple velvet linens. Lighting, scattered crystals and tiny mirror balls finished the look.

EventQuip used the loading dock height as an asset, creating a triple sunken floor for the dinner tent including levels for a bar and lounge area and dance floor. All floors were built using the Wenger STRATA® flooring system. An additional floor was built under the stage six inches lower than the dance floor.

“On this bottom floor we built a 10-by-21-foot wide by 6-inch deep box,” Knight says. “We fabricated a liner with coated tent vinyl and filled the box with water for a disappearing edge reflecting pond.”

Building the tent floor at dock height made load in easier for vendors and provided the opportunity for a vodka ice bar made by carpeting and draping a 24-foot box truck that backed up to doors installed off the edge of the tent, Knight says.

The vendors who volunteered their talent, time and products showcased their best work to the people who understand and appreciate it most: their colleagues in the industry, Knight says. “The bonus is that the guests were people who spend much of their year planning and producing events for other people. This was a chance for ‘party people’ to enjoy a party of their own.”

Watch the buildup and highlights for this event at:

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