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A mono-pitch tent sets the stage for the Breakthrough Prize gala

Installation Spotlight | April 1, 2018 | By:

The tents for the Breakthrough Prize Gala were installed alongside Moffett Field’s “Hangar One”—one of the largest freestanding structures in the world. Photos courtesy of Celebrations! Party Rentals.

Celebrations! Party Rentals sets the stage for the Breakthrough Prize Gala with a mono-pitch structure.

When you are celebrating the world’s leading innovators, your event venue needs to be innovative.

Established in 2012, the Breakthrough Prize Gala honors top achievements in physics, life science and mathematics. The “Oscars of Science” attracts a star-studded lineup of presenters, entertainers and high-profile Silicon Valley sponsors, while awarding millions of dollars to leading scientists. That adds up to a crowd that’s not easy to impress. Celebrations! Party Rentals, Roseville, Calif., has taken on that challenge the past four years.

“Absolutely, there is some pressure to continue to impress and push the envelope with this event,” says Michael Wright, Celebrations! Party Rentals general manager. “Because we fabricate a lot of our own vinyl in-house, we generally will practice alternative options at our facility to prepare for any obstacles prior to installation. We do our best to keep up with any new products and tenting trends to see where the direction of custom, large-scale tenting is going. Employing some of the very best and brightest in our industry allows us to feel confident that we will deliver on our promise and do so on time and in a safe and complete manner.”

For the most recent awards, in December 2017, organizers requested a structure that was “different and exciting”—something that attendees had never seen before, Wright says. With a different tent layout than past years, the company installed a mono-pitch structure and other tents at the Ames Research Center at Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View, Calif. Wright described it as a “huge hit.”

The 40-by-45-meter structure included custom leveled floors with carpet and custom, clear vinyl with black trim and an HVAC package. For the press tent, the company installed a 15-by-30-meter structure with a liner that was half black and half white. This structure also featured a leveled flooring system with carpet.

The cocktail tent was a 15-by-25-meter structure with a mix of glass and solid walls, a leveled flooring system and carpet.

Jumbotrac® tents from Aztec Tents were installed for kitchen, catering and connecting tents.

Even with all of that square footage, the tents were dwarfed by the historic structure on site—NASA’s “Hangar One.” Covering eight acres, the navel airship hangar is one of the world’s largest freestanding structures.

The installation required three weeks, which was sufficient for the job, Wright says, but it would have been preferable to start the permit process earlier. Thanks to a strong relationship with its engineering firm, the company was able to push the permits through.

“We used a combination of large stakes and bolts to achieve the proper anchoring required for successful execution and to fulfill the permitted plan,” he says. “We had to work with the engineering and permit departments to appropriately apply our temporary and custom installation to permanent code practices.”

Hosted by actor Morgan Freeman, the event aired live on National Geographic, Facebook and YouTube.

“The customer was thrilled, and the guests were blown away,” Wright says.

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