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Boston strong

Project Briefs | August 1, 2014 | By:

Peterson Party Center provides tents for the 2014 Boston Marathon.

One year after the bombings that killed three people and injured hundreds of others, nearly a million spectators gathered to watch the 118th running of the Boston Marathon® in April 2014. The number of spectators was an all-time high and the event’s registered participants—36,000—tallied second in the event’s history. Peterson Party Center Inc. (PPC), Woburn, Mass., provided tents along the route and at the race’s finish.

Produced by the Boston Athletic Association under the direction of Interstate Rental Service Inc. of Boston, Mass., the marathon required multiple vendors to provide for its needs, including tables, chairs, bleachers, crowd barricades, paper cups, rope, radios, heat, light, sound, trucks, lifts, private security, trash bags, trash containers, toilets and tents. “To provide the right product mix, as well as the service response necessary to satisfy the demand of the race and cities and towns involved, Interstate relies on multiple local vendors,” says Ed Jacobs, president of Interstate Rental Service and technical producer of the event.

For the tenting needs along the course and at the finish Jacobs contracted Peterson Party Center. Tents at the race’s starting point were provided by J.G. Willis Inc., Watertown, Mass. PPC has been involved with the marathon for several years and each year has had an ever increasing role.

First aid

PPC began planning for the marathon in February 2014; staff spent between 15 and 20 hours every week on the project until the event. Most of the tents PPC installed were used as medical tents, including a 66-by-222-foot Losberger uniflex structure as the main medical tent and a 30-by-345-foot Anchor Navi-Trac® Lite structure for the back-up medical tent. The VIP tent was a 74-by-98-foot Losberger uniflex structure; four 40-by-100-foot Anchor
Navi-Trac structures were used for baggage checks; and more than 50 small frame tents were used for security, medical, storage and sponsors.

Installation began a week before the marathon. “The event site is the entire marathon route, including all of Copley Square and the Boston Common so one of the major challenges for us was the distance between tent installation sites,” says Sean Deacy, project manager for Peterson Party Center. “We resolved the distance challenges by breaking everything up into sections and treating each section like its own event.”

Tents could not be staked and therefore required ballast, which meant PPC staff trucked 650,000 pounds of concrete anchors in and out of Boston.

Finish line

PPC’s crew installed the final tent for the marathon on a bridge 20 feet above the finish line. The tent spanned Boylston Street and required custom design work and special engineering from Anchor Industries. Made from a profile that normally expands to 50 feet wide, the tent’s expanse was increased to 60 feet wide because of the client’s requirement for extra space.

“This is an event that is near and dear to us, especially after last year’s tragedy,” says Jennifer Iovino, marketing director for PPC. “We had many of our team at the finish line when the bombings happened and many assisted in the first response. It is an honor to be a part of this beloved and now somewhat sacred event.”

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