The 2012 Gala Awards competition opens today. The award, handed out by Special Eventsmagazine since 1986, recognizes the finest work in special events worldwide.

This year's competition is open to events that have taken place between Sept. 1, 2011, and Aug. 31, 2012. Events that place after Aug. 31 may be entered in next year's competition.

For last year's awards Gala Awards, the magazine received nearly 340 entries in 35 categories from Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Russia, Spain and the United States of America.

Entries are $99 each if received by 4 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday, Sept. 14. (The "late-bird" entry deadline is Sept. 21 at a fee of $125 each.)

The nominees in each category will be notified by Nov. 23, 2012.

The Gala Awards will be handed out at The Special Event 2013 on Jan. 18 in Chicago.

HOW TO ENTER

For entry forms and tips on creating your entry, click here. For a list of last year's winners, click here.

You are welcome to send questions here.