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Full-service fête

Project Briefs | June 1, 2014 | By:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach, Calif., takes
an anniversary fundraiser out of a ballroom
and into an “amazing” tented space.

Permits are a typical hurdle for tented events. But when Choura Events prepared for a high-end installation at Marine Stadium in Long Beach, Calif., for the 75th anniversary gala of Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach, the company found itself having to request additional permission—directly from area homeowners.

“Because Marine Stadium is in a residential area, we had to go door-to-door to get residents’ signatures and approvals, which was challenging the week before the event,” says Ryan Choura, CEO of the Torrance, Calif.-based event rental agency. “We also had to comply with strict noise requirements, including a 10 p.m. curfew.”

The biggest challenge, however, was creating an unforgettable event on a budget for a repeat client, Choura says.

“[The client] wanted to put their event on the map this year for the 75th anniversary, so we took it out of a ballroom and created a space no one has ever seen in Long Beach,” he says.

Choura Events installed a 100-by-170-foot Midbeam™ structure by Aztec Tents with one clear 50-foot round curve and one white gable end. The structure functioned as a dinner reception for 580 guests, followed by a concert area with staging, VIP lounges and a dance floor.

Six weeks of planning prior to the event was sufficient for the company, but flexibility and ingenuity were necessary as the guest list grew from 250 to 580 in two weeks.

“We added 20-foot middle sections to increase the size of the tent as the guest count kept rising,” Choura says. “We also work with great partners, so we were quickly able to communicate changes to outside vendors.”

The main tent was installed in a day. Remaining tents, furniture, lighting, sound and decor were set up the following day, leaving the day of the event for finishing touches. Because the site also serves as a launch ramp, emergency access had to be figured into the setup.

“Wind was a problem as [the site] was right on the water, so we built 10-by-20-foot festival cabanas to create a barrier around the silent auction items, which worked great,” Choura says. “We also brought in heaters for the outdoor area. However, the tent was still large enough to accommodate any small chance of rain, so we would have adjusted accordingly.”

The space under the tent was divided into two areas. The first was a formal dining space with banquet and round tables, chiavari chairs and 16-foot crystal chandelier waterfalls. The second area, under the 50-foot round clear end, was decked out with VIP lounge furniture, bars, a dance floor and LED columns.

“The main stage was central for use during the dinner program and also the live concert by The Spazmatics,” Choura says. “We also utilized lighting washes to fill the tent with texture and color.”

Choura Events handled all rentals, planning and production, working in conjunction with Powertrip Rentals and Pageantry Event Services. The fact that Choura Events was able to offer a full-service package from vision to execution, allowing the client to communicate with only one vendor, cinched the deal.

“[The client] said it was ‘the most amazing event since they can remember,’” Choura relays. “At the end of the day, our goal was to provide a platform to raise money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach. In the end, over $850,000 was generously donated—the most in BGCLB history.”

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