Guests at the Shedd Aquarium’s Sea Jelly Soirée had no idea the tent was erected under strict time constraints.
The Sea Jelly Soirée at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago showcased nearly a dozen species of sea jellies new to the aquarium, while raising money for area schoolchildren to learn about aquatic animals, environments and conservation—under a tent that needed to seamlessly “appear” and “disappear” in a popular tourist area.
Time to dance
The black-tie gala guests enjoyed themselves under a Partytime Productions Inc. tent, erected under strict time constraints in a heavily trafficked urban destination. The Shedd Aquarium and Partytime Productions, Addison, Ill., began planning the event in early 2011, which resulted in the inclusion of a 60-by-180-foot Anchor New Century® tent with 10-foot sides for post-dinner, dancing and cocktails. The event also included installation by Partytime of a 60-by-180-foot Bil-Jax floor covered with black turf and a 1,800-square-foot custom white dance floor with a 16-by-32-by-4-foot stage.
Talk to me
The museum campus, as a heavily visited tourist area and per the Chicago Park District, dictates no deliveries to the event site from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The restrictions affected both installation and takedown, and the success of both relied on strong communication between Partytime staff, Aquarium staff and the Chicago Park District personnel, largely facilitated by Partytime’s account executive Bill Spilker.
The installation began on June 8 and was competed on June 10. Removal began early morning on June 12 and was completed on June 13—on time—in spite of the need to cease work due to a soccer game in the area with an attendance of more than 60,000 and a daily attendance at the Shedd Aquarium of more than 25,000 guests.
First do no harm
The Chicago Park District also had concerns about staking and anchoring. The Park District required that Partytime not drill into and damage concrete—something they had experienced with past installations done by other companies. Partytime addressed those concerns by staking on three sides and using weighted anchoring on the east 60-foot end, along with a few areas along the north and south sides.
The event raised awareness and money as Partytime invisibly erected and took down the tent that sheltered the event. One of two large events and several small events on the company’s docket during the same week, Partytime chalked it up to a typical season, as many tent renters do. All in a day’s work.