Special Events editor Lisa Hurley recalls some of her favorite special events, including the 1999 Oscars Governors Ball and the 2002 Super Bowl halftime show.
It's poignant that as we're working on this issue—recapping all the excitement of The Special Event and featuring all the beauty of weddings created by you, our readers—I'm feeling melancholy. The last few days have brought sad news to the lives of some of my colleagues.
As always, such news reminds us how foolish we are to take the many joys in our lives for granted. And so I want to thank the event industry for some of the wonderful events you have shown me.
I am glad I saw my first Academy Awards Governors Ball—the press preview, anyway—back in 1999 from Sequoia Productions. I was impressed with the "enchanted romantic grotto" look achieved with 34,000 yards of special fabric—and even more impressed when I learned that the fire marshal demanded all the fabric be treated with fire-retardant shortly before the event. That's when I learned what crises event pros routinely overcome.
I am glad I saw the 2002 Super Bowl halftime show from Clear Channel Entertainment Special Events. U2 gave a stirring performance backed by a Kabuki drop revealing the names of those lost on 9/11. Only later did I learn that the original act refused to appear out of fear, but U2 stepped in to save the show.
I am glad I saw the Wedding Lunch, produced by Cheryl Fish at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas at The Special Event 2004. And the Wedding Dinner produced by Sean DeFreitas at the Tampa State Fairgrounds at The Special Event 2012. Both of these events were so beautiful that at each, wedding planners I know walked into the rooms and burst into tears.
And I'm glad I was sitting in the audience at The Special Event 2014 in January when Cheryl Fish won her Gala Award for Lifetime Achievement, and Andrea Michaels the Gala "Pillar of the Industry" Award, presented by the only and only John Daly.
Over the years I have watched this industry, I have been humbled and encouraged by the courage and fortitude I have seen in so many of you. You compete sometimes, collaborate others. Yet so very often, you support one another in time of need (think SEARCH) and never fail to salute the outstanding work of your peers.
Special events isn't the biggest industry, but it has the biggest spirit.