Event professionals from throughout the world have gathered in Nashville, Tenn., for The Special Event 2014, which opens officially today at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. The event runs through Jan. 10.

The slate of education programs launched yesterday, with a seminar slate including "Are You Leading the Way in Food Trends," "Learn the Secrets from Hollywood's Top Award Show Producers" and "How to get the Most from Your Rental Company."

The Spotlight Event—"Music, Moonshine and Moonpies"—took attendees to the legendary Country Music Hall of Fame and the new Omni Nashville for a moonshine tasting and a visit with some of Nashville's song writers.

The day closed with "TSE Starts Here: Whatever Makes you Feel Like a Rock Star" at the Gaylord Opryland hotel. Guests met Nashville superstars—at least their impersonators—including "Dolly Parton," "Kenny Chesney" and "Fat Elvis." They also had the chance to take the stage with the band for karaoke versions of "Strawberry Wine" and other hits.

The band played cover hits from top bands including Guns 'n Roses and Joan Jett; see a video clip here.

N TAP FOR TODAY Today will bring the Opening General Session, with a "TED"-style series of speakers. The session, produced by T. Skorman Productions, will also announce the winners of the 2014 Tabletop Gallery competition.

Other highlights today will be the opening of the trade show floor, more education sessions, and the Opening Night Party, themed "South of Somewhere" at Tequila Cowboy.

For more information about education sessions, showcasing events and exhibits, visit The Special Event.

Photos © Special Events