BEST FAIR/FESTIVAL

  1. HUKA ENTERTAINMENT, NEW ORLEANS

    The three-day Hangout Beach, Music and Arts Festival (in photo), now in its fourth year, treats crowds of up to 120,000 a day to music, food and fun directly on the white, sandy beaches of Gulf Shores, Ala. Event management strives to provide the best guest experience — this year, the team created an “oasis” on a private beach to pamper head-liners, and boosted the site footprint by 40 percent to improve the guest experience.

  2. SEAFAIR, SEATTLE

    Seafair, Seattle's hometown tradition since 1950, is an eight-week festival that brings the community together with more than 75 events that touch more than 2 million people. Signature events include the Torchlight Parade with more than 1,000 walkers, Fleet Week, a marathon with 27,000 runners, and the Pirates Landing, where more than 10,000 locals descend on Alki Beach to watch the famed Seafair pirates land and take over the city.

  3. UTOPIA ENTERTAINMENT, STUDIO CITY, CALIF.

    The annual “Growing the Park” event for the Great Park in Orange County, Calif., showcases the park's progression over the past year as it evolves into a community resource of natural beauty, recreational activities and cultural opportunities. This year's event drew 30,000 guests to enjoy a day of aerial acrobatics, games, fireworks and music; the event team used social media to help manage crowd flow.

    BEST INVITATION
  4. DRAGONFLY CUSTOM DESIGN, ORLANDO, FLA.

    To entice high-end wedding planners to visit a high-end resort for a “wedding weekend,” the design team created a “functional floral topiary” in the shape of a handbag that opened to reveal the invitation. A thick satin ribbon was worked into the “handbag” sculpture and held a removable rhinestone brooch, which many of the wedding coordinators wore to the event.

  5. HANNAH HANDMADE, EVANSTON, ILL.

    A multimedia invitation saluting the pop culture, glamour and kitsch of the 1940s invited more than 1,100 guests to an “As Time Goes By” summer party on an estate. The centerpiece of the invitation — a vintage-style radio/CD player — arrived complete with a custom CD featuring a '40s-style radio announcer providing party details and a rendition of “As Time Goes By.”

  6. JOBE AND ASSOCIATES, DUBLIN, OHIO

    To show respect for the client's budget restrictions while still offering an enticing invitation honoring invitees to an annual incentive awards program, the team created more than 400 handcrafted invitations pairing eco-friendly appeal with a rugged design matching the vibe of the incentive destination. A stair-stepped booklet was housed in printed specialty SuedeTex stock with jute wrapping; all guests received a personalized card with their own user name and password to register for the conference.

    BEST DINING TABLE DESIGN
  7. DECOR AND MORE, OAKVILLE, ONTARIO, AND YVES CHENIER DESIGN, SAINT-ROCHE-DE-L'ACHIGARS, QUEBEC

    The design team used vivid color and bold design to create the “Alice in Wonderland” theme for the venerable Daffodil Ball. A total of 12 tabletop designs mixed linens, chairs and centerpieces, which included towering teacup candelabras, custom flamingoes and hedgehogs, teetering stacks of china, and giant pocket watches.

  8. EMERALD CITY DESIGNS, FARMINGTON HILLS, MICH.

    The wedding couple greeted guests from a 6-foot sweetheart table adorned in an ombré design of the wedding's palette of pink, blush, ivory and smoky gray created from roses, hydrangeas and cymbidium orchids. Above the table, the couple's initials, created in floral, floated in ornate wooden frames while white organza curtains framed the moss backdrop.

  9. SOMETHING NEW EVENTS, CANFIELD, OHIO

    To seat all the wedding guests at one romantic table, the event team designed and built a king's table — 4 feet wide by 28 feet long — for 25 guests in the style of the couple's home, which echoes turn-of-the-century East Coast estates. The table was dressed with custom linens, chairs with custom covers, unique china patterns for each course, and four silver candelabras brimming with roses, orchids and dusty miller.

    BEST OFF-PREMISE CATERED EVENT
  10. FAIRMONT THE QUEEN ELIZABETH, MONTREAL, QUEBEC

    The quirky, out-of-the-box menu for the annual Daffodil Ball was inspired by the surrealism, where nothing is as it seems to be, of “Alice in Wonderland.” Guests enjoyed a Humpty Dumpty first course — with blown-out eggs filled with foie gras crème brulee, broccoli and cauliflower mousse topped with caviar, and fish pâté — along with “lobster in a pool of tears” — a whole lobster accompanied by a seashell filled with blue agar-agar; the sauce came in a bottle marked “DRINK ME.”

  11. SOMEONE'S IN THE KITCHEN, TARZANA, CALIF.

    The groom's family loves a good party while the bride's family is made up of nondrinking vegetarians. The caterer suited both sides with a double-duty menu featuring both vegan and non-vegan selections. Entrees ranged from roasted Atlantic cod and braised beef to pan-roasted carrots with barley risotto; the dessert buffet included cheesecake lollipops and caramel toffee cream puffs along with English trifle with fresh berries.

  12. SOMEONE'S IN THE KITCHEN, TARZANA, CALIF.

    This three-parties-in-one destination wedding reception offered a “fun house” welcome reception and an elegant dinner in a tent on an estate, followed by the “After Glow” party in a club atmosphere. Despite the tight load-in schedule, the catering team offered a menu including an antique candy station, dim sum from carts, signature cocktails, “lollipies” served from a giant pumpkin, an elegant dinner of miso-glazed sea bass and grilled filet mignon, a dessert buffet featuring mini crèmes brulees, chocolate soufflés and macarons, and after-party treats such as mini milkshakes and grilled cheese sandwiches.

    BEST CATERED EVENT PRODUCED BY A HOTEL BANQUET DEPARTMENT
  13. FAIRMONT THE QUEEN ELIZABETH, MONTREAL, QUEBEC

    The 700 guests at the annual Daffodil Ball enjoyed an “Alice in Wonderland” theme event that included a menu of “Bee-yoo-tiful Soup” — rabbit consommé served from silver teapots and accompanied by puff pastry “pocket watches” — and Humpty Dumpty eggs — some 2,100 eggshells with three different fillings including foie gras crème brulee. Other highlights included a towering “hat” cake, petits fours “sandwiches,” and liquid-nitrogen maple “popsicles.”

  14. SAVOR, CHICAGO

    For the first time in history that the United States hosted a NATO summit outside of Washington, the catering team showcased the cuisine of the hometown of the U.S. president — Chicago — by creating bite-size portions and easy-to-eat selections such as slider-size Italian beef sandwiches, mini Chicago-style hot dogs, Eli's cheesecake bites and house-made chocolate cups filled with Garrett popcorn for more than 2,000 delegates and foreign ministers and 2,000 members of the media. Working with a tight timeline and rigorous security, the team sourced as many menu items as possible from local suppliers.

  15. VENETIAN/PALAZZO HOTEL, LAS VEGAS, AND TKO ART, IRVINE, CALIF.

    The landmark Venetian Hotel cel-ebrated the Year of the Dragon with a 47-day event, which started on the first week of January and ran through Feb. 18, 2012. Highlights included the event's mascot — a 128-foot fire-breathing dragon — and a six-course gala dinner for 2,000 guests.

    BEST FUNDRAISING EVENT
  16. CATALINA ISLAND CONSERVANCY, LONG BEACH, CALIF.

    The Catalina Island Conservancy's 40th anniversary gala faced extreme winds, which grounded all boats and helicopters serving the island venue the morning of the event. Quick thinking rallied members in the community to get involved, which ended with a gala that netted $507,000, making it the most successful event in the organization's history.

  17. SOMEONE'S IN THE KITCHEN, TARZANA, CALIF.

    Despite a rough economy, some 500 guests attended the Rock for Teens event at a private estate. The event raised more than $2 million to aid children with cancer, thanks in part to live performances from legendary rockers Roger Daltrey of the Who, Led Zepplin's Robert Plant and Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl.

  18. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Berlin's Jewish Museum, the event team developed large, asymmetrical projection screens that not only echoed the famous profile of the museum — a stylized Star of David — but also suggested an X — the Roman numeral for 10. Additional projection screens showed pictures and stories of the museum's historical highlights, making the stage a display of both the past and future development of the museum. Dignitaries attending included German chancellor Angela Merkel.

    BEST EVENT PRODUCED FOR A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION
  19. ALISON SILCOFF EVENTS, MONTREAL

    Some 700 guests helped the Canadian Cancer Society net $1.67 million at the 2012 Daffodil Ball. A surrealistic “Alice in Wonderland” theme included a children's orchestra and choir, virtuoso electric violinists, “Alice” characters performing sleight-of-hand tricks for diners, and Kristalleon — a musician playing ethereal music on crystal glasses.

  20. MELISSA KRAUSER EVENTS, HOUSTON

    For the grand opening of the Asia Society Texas Center, the event team created a mix of events, from a high-ticket gala to a midpriced “young professionals” event to a free-to-the-public two-day festival. Both menus and entertainment were carefully curated to showcase the cultures spanning the spectrum of the society's global reach.

  21. NATIONWIDE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, COLUMBUS, OHIO

    This pediatric hospital celebrated its grand opening weekend with a series of six events in 96 hours, including an opening gala that raised more than $3.8 million. More than 14,000 staff, physicians, scientists, donors, local residents and elected officials experienced the new 12-story hospital, a research building and a green space.

    BEST WEDDING: BUDGET UNDER $1,000 PER GUEST
  22. CHRISTINA CURRIE EVENTS, BARRINGTON, ILL.

    The elegant estate of the bride's grandparents was transformed into three experiential environments: an outdoor wedding beneath a floral arch in the front yard, a dinner reception poolside with an acrylic bridge over the pool in the backyard, and — after the flip — a nightclub in the front yard with LED bars and tables, truss lighting and a branded dance floor.

  23. EVENTS OF DISTINCTION, SAN FRANCISCO

    For a fashion-conscious couple, the event team staged a wedding overlooking San Francisco Bay that gave sly nods to fashion and clothing themes. The invitation resembled a fashion “look book,” food stations were constructed from vintage sewing machines, and escort cards were made from thread spools.

  24. NEWBERRY BROTHERS, DENVER, AND FAYE GARDENSWARZ, DENVER

    At this distinctive, rose-themed wedding, guests sat at the dining tables to watch the ceremony, which took place beneath a chuppah crowned with handmade paper roses. To signal the beginning of the celebration, a curtain behind the chuppah dropped kabuki-style, revealing the band standing in front of a wall of custom handmade paper roses.

    BEST WEDDING: BUDGET $1,000 AND ABOVE PER GUEST
  25. FRANK EVENT DESIGN, CHICAGO

    A New Year's Eve wedding showed plenty of Hollywood glam thanks to a palette mixing black and teal accents with a wealth of crystals and peacock feathers. To compensate for an unsightly pillar in the ballroom, the wedding coordinator installed a custom stage and dance floor around it, with a custom chandelier dripping with crystal strands suspended above.

  26. LAVISH WEDDING PLANNING AND DESIGN, CALGARY, ALBERTA

    This Western-theme wedding met the requirements of both the bride — who wanted sophisticated design and romantic decor elements — and the groom — who asked for unique, surprising entertainment. The coordinator kept her hands-on clients apprised of the planning process by creating a “virtual workroom” online, showing a live timeline, images and descriptions, and a shared calendar.

  27. SOMETHING NEW EVENTS, CANFIELD, OHIO

    For a couple who wanted only their closest friends at their wedding reception, 25 guests dined at an elegant, 28-foot-long custom table set with custom linen. The Joe Augustine trio played a specially chosen piece of music to go with each of the eight courses, which were presented on a different china pattern with coordinating flatware.

    BEST MULTIPLE-DAY INCENTIVE EVENT
  28. EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS, SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.

    With a small budget and a group of guests who had been to the Caribbean many times before, the event team created a three-day customized incentive showcasing the hidden delights of Aruba. Activities including a day of shooting photos under the guidance of professional photographers for a custom book of the island's vistas, a private event in the home of a local artist, and dinner at sunset in a thatched-roof restaurant perched on stilts above the water.

  29. FOURTH WALL EVENTS, NEW YORK

    Some 500 honorees of a Fortune 100 company's top incentive program enjoyed the stunning views and exciting buzz of Monte Carlo at an incentive sandwiched between two Grand Prix events. Guests were treated to a cliff-top welcome reception overlooking the harbor (including Prince Albert's yacht) and a gala evening event at the Grimaldi Forum convention center.

  30. JOBE AND ASSOCIATES, DUBLIN, OHIO

    An 18-month marketing campaign built excitement for this two-wave incentive at a posh retreat at the foothills of the El Yunque rain forest in Puerto Rico. Activities included tours and shopping in Old San Juan, hiking in the rain forest, riding ATVs through the foothills, paddle boarding, and exciting evening events with specially selected entertainment.

    BEST MULTIPLE-DAY EVENT PROGRAM
  31. PURE PERFECTION EVENTS AND INCENTIVES, WIESBADEN, GERMANY, AND AUDI AG, INGOLSTADT, GERMANY

    Journalists served as brand ambassadors to the Chinese public in this driving experience, which saw four waves of 160 journalists total drive the new Audi Q3 through tough terrain in the heart of China. Hurdles for the event team included acquiring special driver's licenses and visas, and developing courses offering suitable hotels and other amenities in rural China.

  32. SHOWTIME EVENTS, NEW DELHI, INDIA

    A first-of-its-kind for India, the nine-day “BMW Xperience” involved a specially built 10-acre obstacle course to showcase the X3's off-road capabilities to prospective customers, along with a launch event that took place in a 60-foot-deep excavated site. More than 1,000 VIPs, owners and potential buyers and 10 Facebook contest winners joined in the main launch event.

  33. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    To launch Nespresso's smallest, fastest coffee-maker, the event team built the largest coffee-maker ever, which served as a traveling billboard and tasting station that, for a 48-hour period, took over some of Germany's busiest city squares. The program included events designed for both trade and consumer audiences; the team sent visitors photos of themselves enjoying cups of coffee, making it easy for the visitors to share their experiences on social media.

    BEST EVENT STAGED IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
  34. JUNG VON MATT RELATIONS, COLOGNE, GERMANY

    The “Brainwaves” campaign drew the attention of young people — most all of whom love music — to a private university system by measuring the brainwaves of 1,000 students on five campuses as they listened to various lectures. Two DJs converted the brainwave patterns into music tracks — on topics ranging from architecture to mechanical engineering — which were shared via live streams on social media.

  35. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    To engage the target audience — primarily young adults — in a campaign to spread the word about the benefits of aluminum cans, “Fresh Up” kiosks popped up at a beach volleyball tournament that travels all over Germany. Also, rickshaws served as rolling sampling stations for top drink brands such as Coca-Cola. The kiosks not only offered a place to relax and enjoy entertainment but also invited guests to join in discussions about the importance of recycling to the environment.

  36. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    The event team brought the Nespresso coffee-drinking experience to consumers in major German cities with an outdoor lounge that traveled to city centers in Cologne, Hamburg and Munich over the course of three days. To perk up interest of 500 trade representatives, launch parties were held in industrial venues in trendy neighborhoods in the same cities, all featuring Pop Art decor riffing on the iconic Nespresso cup.

    BEST FLORAL DESIGN
  37. EMERALD CITY DESIGNS, FARMINGTON HILLS, MICH.

    The wedding couple greeted guests from a 6-foot sweetheart table adorned in an ombré design of the wedding's palette of pink, blush, ivory and smoky gray created from roses, hydrangeas and cymbidium orchids. Above the table, the couple's initials — fashioned in floral — floated in ornate wooden frames, while white organza curtains framed the moss backdrop.

  38. THE MEETINGHOUSE COMPANIES, ELMHURST, ILL.

    For a bridal client who wanted a “vision in white with the smallest hint of pink,” the event team designed a range of floral treatments for the wedding venue — a sprawling private estate. The bride's favorite flowers — Gerbera daisies — were incorporated throughout, along with large floral orbs of white cushion mums and arches of white miniature calla lilies, roses and freesia in sparkling crystal vessels.

  39. NLC PRODUCTIONS, SANTA BARBARA, CALIF.

    For a bride with million dollar taste but not a million dollar budget, the event team mixed high- and lower end floral elements — daisies with Dutch peonies, for example — to create a look both glam and hippie chic. The cake table was a thrift-store desk painted gold with floral spilling out of the drawers.

    BEST TENT INSTALLATION
  40. ABC SPECIAL EVENT RENTALS, MUKILTEO, WASH.

    To help the University of Washington celebrate its 150th anniversary, the tent team installed a 100-by-150-foot structure on the campus' famed Red Square, a red brick courtyard atop a parking lot. The team designed and manufactured base plates for the 3,500-pound ecology blocks to protect the brick surface from the rough concrete and to disperse the weight of the blocks over a wider area.

  41. A1 PARTY RENTAL, COVINA, CALIF.

    The annual A Midsummer Night's Dream Party at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles took on a bold new look thanks to an 80-by-120-foot clearspan and a 60-by-120-foot pole tent that housed a “fertile forest” party. Due to the wide range of constraints on the installation, the crew used pulleys anchored near the roof of the mansion to hoist the beams high enough for a single scissor lift to pull them upright.

  42. BLUEPRINT STUDIOS, SAN FRANCISCO

    The event team treated 165 guests to a temporary “restaurant” — a tent sitting atop the vegetable and herb garden at the famed French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, Calif. The team created an elegant event space with accents including French-style crystal chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling custom draperies designed to resemble French tapestries from the Louvre Museum in Paris; dining tables were fashioned of reclaimed wood and featured centerpieces of white and yellow roses and peonies.

    BEST USE OF LIGHTING
  43. BRITE IDEAS, FOOTHILL RANCH, CALIF., AND MEGAVISION ARTS, SANTA MONICA, CALIF.

    For the official opening of the biggest art exhibition ever staged in southern California, the lighting team used five buildings at L.A.'s Getty Center as the canvas for a seven-minute story describing the local art scene from 1945 to 1980. In the final moments, the lighting turned skyward to create a canopy of light over the Getty, then the buildings lit up with directional arrows to guide guests inside to view the art.

  44. RUSSELL HARRIS EVENT GROUP, NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIF., AND IMAGES BY LIGHTING, LOS ANGELES

    Lighting served not only as decor but also a messaging tool and “wow” factor at the annual Disney Media Distribution international upfront. Not only did lighting play up iconic Disney characters on a building façade but it also functioned as a unifying element in the reception area, which had been carved out of a plaza, parking lot and driveway.

  45. WARNER BROS STUDIOS SPECIAL EVENTS, BURBANK, CALIF., AND BART KRESA DESIGN, LOS ANGELES

    What began as a lively “Ginza” street scene attended by 1,500 members of the international broadcasting community underwent a dramatic transition when it was “blown up” via extensive pyro, lighting and digital video mapping. In its place arose a sensuous, colorful interpretation of a tribal environment creating a vision of a post-apocalyptic world; intelligent lighting guided attendees to four stage areas featuring performances based on fire and electricity.

    BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN TECHNICAL SUPPORT
  46. EVENTWORKS, LOS ANGELES, AND TANDEM DIGITAL, CALABASAS, CALIF.

    Topping its own 360-degree, 3D projection presentation of the year before, the event team upped the ante for the latest sales meeting with a 4D, 360-degree animated presentation that morphed videotapes of superstar sellers into superheroes. Using in-audience effects including pyro, CO2, and flame and wind machines, the presentation likened the client's business approach to Formula One race car driving.

  47. POP KOLLABORATIVE, CALGARY, ALBERTA, AND MEDIACO, CALGARY, ALBERTA

    The event team helped Shell Canada celebrate its 100th anniversary with a presentation keying on “time.” The show included a 24-foot-tall aluminum marionette who narrated the company's history and a custom 105-foot curved screen displaying imagery of Shell milestones over the past 100 years.

  48. WELCOME EVENT MARKETING, COPENHAGEN, AND NORDIC RENTALS, COPENHAGEN

    Some 900 participants in an “in the round” experience sat in swivel chairs and used 3D glasses to view a 360-degree projection presentation enhanced with quadraphonic sound. After the presentation, the auditorium was transformed into a dining room for dinner, then served as a performance area for a stirring act by dancers and drummers.

    BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN LOGISTICS
  49. EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS, SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.

    This holiday party in a 44,000-square-foot stadium wowed its more than 5,000 guests with a “God Bless America” theme featuring 40- to 60-foot vignettes including the Statue of Liberty, New Orleans, San Francisco and Las Vegas. To keep the theme a secret from eager media, the mammoth sets were built in Los Angeles and then driven in unmarked trucks to the event site in Phoenix.

  50. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    To launch Nespresso's smallest, fastest coffee-maker, the event team built the largest coffee-maker ever, which served as a traveling billboard and tasting station that, for a 48-hour period, took over some of Germany's busiest city squares. The program included a range of events designed for both trade and consumer audiences; the team emailed visitors photos of themselves enjoying cups of coffee, making it easy for the visitors to share their experiences on social media, thus becoming brand ambassadors.

  51. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY, AND MINDACT, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    The theme “breaking free” ran through the dealer launch event for the new Porsche Boxster, exemplified in the setting — a volcanic island off the coast of West Africa — and a spectacular reveal show, which simulated a volcanic eruption in an open-air amphitheater. Attendees tested the car on winding mountain roads, coastal roads and a race track.

    BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN EVENT RENTAL SUPPORT
  52. CHIC EVENT FURNITURE RENTAL, ORLANDO, FLA.

    Not only did the rental team face challenges such as tight turnarounds to outfit the host hotel — from ballrooms to the bus loop — into a customized destination, but freak accidents including broken water sprinklers added even more headaches. In the end, however, 2,700 employees and partners from around the globe celebrated the 50th anniversary of famed retailer Kohl's with an entire wing of the hotel transformed into the destinations “Fire,” “Ice” and “Zen.”

  53. KARL'S EVENT SERVICES, OAK CREEK, WIS.

    To mark the famed Frieze Art Fair's first foray in the U.S., the rental team designed a massive clearspan structure from both existing and custom components. The project involved six 50-by-60-meter (164-by-197-foot) standard clearspan structures that were attached by triangle-shaped wedges to create a snake-like design; the structure was installed over a rented stage made up of 18,000 Biljax flooring pieces.

  54. PANACHE A CLASSIC PARTY RENTALS CO., POMPANO BEACH, FLA.

    The rental team supported the four-day Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival, which brought 25,000 guests to Miami, with its work on the “North Venue” — a 100,000-square-foot space that offered four exciting events featuring culinary stars from throughout the world. Meeting the goals of the high-end event sponsors meant creating a small city on the sand, as well as changing out the first night's event for the second's while the first event was still in progress.

    BEST NEW, INNOVATIVE EVENT PRODUCT/TECHNOLOGY
  55. MIX ON WHEELS, ORLANDO, FLA.

    The Mini Cooper Xtreme Clubman is a compact, self-contained indoor/outdoor event entertainment package featuring built-in DJ/PA systems, LCD screens for custom digital media playback, LED lights and a customizable exterior — all in a small footprint to suit events of any size. The unit can send a feed to a master system, providing the ability to entertain thousands of guests from a compact unit.

  56. VDA PRODUCTIONS, SOMERVILLE, MASS.

    The “charging valet,” offered to more than 14,000 attendees at EMC World 2012, provided a secure drop-off station for the event's attendees to charge their electronic devices. Using a USB adapter, the station was outfitted to offer cubbies capable of charging a wide range of devices, while security cameras and a sophisticated registration system ensured that the devices were returned to their rightful owners at the end of the day.

  57. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    To raise awareness of the benefits of beverage cans, the event team keyed on the theme of “creativity” to prompt its target group — young people — to dream up new uses for cans, from creating music via a Facebook app to using empty cans to build things, including a foosball table. A kiosk traveled around the country, offering places for people to relax, enjoy a canned drink, and discuss recycling's impact on the environment.

    BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT: BUDGET UNDER $100,000
  58. ALISON SILCOFF EVENTS, MONTREAL, QUEBEC

    Guests at the renowned Daffodil Ball entered the topsy-turvy world of “Alice in Wonderland” complete with a strolling Mad Hatter performing sleight-of-hand magic at tables, Alice taking a turn with the White Rabbit on the dance floor, a children's orchestra playing music from different “Alice” scores, and Kristalleon, a German musician playing ethereal music on an array of crystal glasses. A mini croquet game was set up in the men's restroom for the gentlemen to enjoy.

  59. EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS, SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.

    The entertainment at a casino's New Year's Eve party not only enticed guests to gamble the night away, generating record revenue for the property, but also persuaded them to put a return trip to the casino on their calendar for the following year. The event keyed on the theme of the struggle between good and evil, personified in a Clark-Kent-turned-Superman, who jumped up from a table to save the day after huge screens announced that the nefarious villain the Riddler was trying to rob the casino.

  60. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    For the Auto China show in Beijing, the event team took care to develop entertainment that would be familiar enough to attract the attention of the local audience while being distinctive enough to make the Vokswagen brand stand out. A rich mix of live drummers, dancers and performers interacted with oversize LED projections of city imagery to drive home the message that Volkswagen is commited to China's venerable heritage as well as to its dynamic future.

    BEST EVENT ENTERTAINMENT: BUDGET ABOVE $100,000
  61. BC EVENT MANAGEMENT, NORTH VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA

    The multilayered entertainment experience for the IBEW gala treated 4,500 guests to cirque performers and aerialists at the reception, followed by video saluting the industry and a percussion extravaganza. Guests moved outside for fireworks, then returned to the ballroom, which had been flipped to a dance party venue. The reaction? The next morning, the local host committee received two standing ovations from the general assembly.

  62. LUMINOUS EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS, HONG KONG

    Macau's Sands Cotai resort opened to VIPs, the media and the public in grand style, with two days of events including a 40-minute opening ceremony highlighted by a 1,700-foot “sky walk” by the world's best sky-walkers. The pair “walked” across the Cotai Strip between the roofs of the Sands Cotai Cental and the Ventian Macao, some 500 feet above the ground.

  63. WARNER BROS STUDIOS SPECIAL EVENTS, BURBANK, CALIF.

    From the latest in projection mapping to a primal celebration with tribal warriors and voodoo tarot card readers, this presentation for 1,500 international TV buyers featured more than 100 professional performers and four main stages offering constant visual stimulation. Highlights included a guitar face-off with the company's CEO and lead guitarist Alex Grossi from Quiet Riot, aerialists, a fire-walking station, and an 18-foot voodoo doll, on which guests could pin messages before the doll was remotely donated and burned.

    MOST OUTSTANDING SPECTACLE
  64. EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS, SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.

    This holiday party in a 44,000-square-foot stadium wowed its more than 5,000 guests with a “God Bless America” theme featuring 40- to 60-foot vignettes including the Statue of Liberty, New Orleans, San Francisco and Las Vegas. After performances by headliners Dierks Bentley, Trace Atkins and Kid Rock, the stadium's roof retracted to reveal fireworks.

  65. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    To raise awareness of the benefits of beverage cans, the event team keyed on the theme of “creativity” to prompt its target group — young people — to dream up new uses for empty cans, from creating music via a Facebook app to using cans to build things, including a foosball table. A kiosk traveled around the country, offering places for people to relax, enjoy a canned drink, and discuss recycling's impact on the environment.

  66. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    Visitors at the Frankfurt International Motor Show experienced the Volkswagen brand via a 29,000-square-foot “cloud” exhibition space where they chose whatever products and activities they liked, from music performances to test drives. The booth featured 54 vehicles along with 228 hosts and 80 Volkswagen employees to provide a personal touch.

    BEST EVENT FOR PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL: BUDGET UNDER $1,000 PER GUEST
  67. KBY DESIGNS, RISHON LEZION, ISRAEL

    Color was king at this cheerful b'nai mitzvah for 300 guests, which overcame budget limitations by keying on a mix of vivid hues against white furniture. To personalize the event, blown-up versions of the mitzvah boy's personal photographs and the mitzvah girl's fashion sketches served as decor elements.

  68. WALTON EVENT DESIGN, CHARLOTTE, N.C.

    A mother treated her bride-to-be daughter with an engagement party for 150 featuring vintage carnival games such as the milk-bottle toss and knockdown dolls, all custom-built for the event. Classic carnival food got an elegant spin, such as mini burgers of beef tenderloin with blue cheese aioli and leek frizzle, and ice cream sandwiches of bourbon cherry ice cream and macaroons.

  69. WILKINSON RHODES, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

    The guest of honor celebrated her 50th birthday with three different events within a 24-hour period. Guests enjoyed a formal masquerade ball in a hotel ballroom followed by dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and a tropical brunch — back in the flipped ballroom — the next morning. The Venetian ball included liveried footmen, masked stilt-walkers and a “red carpet” that guests discovered was actually the train of the honoree's gown.

    BEST EVENT FOR PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL: BUDGET $1,000 AND ABOVE PER GUEST
  70. COSMOPOLITAN EVENTS, COSTA MESA, CALIF.

    A wife helped her husband turn 40 in style — 18th century style — with a “Let Him Eat Cake” party at an el-egant Beverly Hills mansion for 350 guests in period dress. When news that the honoree had just sold his company for $1.2 billion leaked the day before the party, threatening to taint the event as an example of the excesses of the rich during a recession, the event team reacted quickly — taking down the event's website, tightening up security, and hiring actors to warn guests (in exaggerated French accents) that posting photos to social media would result in a trip to “za guillotine.”

  71. KBY DESIGNS, RISHON LEZION, ISRAEL

    To pull off a 50th birthday-party weekend for 160 guests in the Maldives Islands, the event team brought in 14 containers of event supplies, six landing craft boats, 75 workers and 70,000 Thai orchids as part of the massive effort. Events including a reception with local performers, an “Iron Chef” brunch, afternoon mojito party, and gala dinner were developed to be exciting without compromising or clashing with the natural beauty of the setting.

  72. SHOWTIME EVENTS, NEW DELHI, INDIA

    A businessman celebrated his 80th birthday on a specially built island venue where superstar Shakira entertained. Even the 10-minute ride from the hotel jetties to the venue had its surprises: The lake was populated with huge “swan” balloons, dancers on floating pianos, and aerial balloonists who skimmed the water's surface.

    BEST EVENT MARKETING CAMPAIGN
  73. EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS, SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.

    To build brand awareness of a big solar energy company in the San Francisco Bay area, the company kicked off its five-year sponsorship of the San Francisco Giants baseball team with two immersive waves. The sell-out crowds of more than 43,000 fans on each of the two game days saw the company's brand throughout the ballpark and received giveaways from brand ambassadors; on the second wave, fans could take advantage of free solar cell-phone charging stations.

  74. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    To raise awareness of the benefits of beverage cans, the event team keyed on the theme of “creativity” to prompt its target group — young people — to dream up new uses for empty cans, from creating music via a Facebook app to using cans to build things, including a foosball table. A kiosk traveled around the country, offering places for people to relax, enjoy a canned drink, and discuss recycling's impact on the environment.

  75. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    Visitors at the Frankfurt International Motor Show experienced the Volkswagen brand via a 29,000-square-foot “cloud” exhibition space where they chose whatever products and activities they liked, from music performances to test drives. The booth featured 54 vehicles along with 228 hosts and 80 Volkswagen employees to provide a personal touch.

    BEST THEATRICAL ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTION
  76. JUNG VON MATT RELATIONS, COLOGNE, GERMANY

    Journalists and VIP photographers at a Nikon camera event were treated to a wild “wedding,” where guests could either “pause” life or rewind time in order to get the best photo. The production, staged at 50 events in 13 cities, showcased live staging with actors in 3D pop-up scenes, including “church,” “just married” and “party”; some 500 guests took 250,000 photos total.

  77. MARK JOSEPH CREATIVE, ELK GROVE VILLAGE, ILL.

    Twelve-thousand guests cheered as a live show with nearly 50 performers — and two horses — shared the history of the host company for its independent distributors at a sales incentive conference. Traditional Chinese dancers, acrobats and stuntmen performed, including aerial fight sequences staged 60 feet above the audience.

  78. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    For the Auto China show in Beijing, the event team took care to develop entertainment that would be familiar enough to attract the local audience while being distinctive enough to make the Vokswagen brand stand out. A rich mix of live drummers, dancers and performers interacted with oversize LED projections of city imagery to drive home the message that Volkswagen is commited to China's heritage and its dynamic future.

    BEST DECOR: BUDGET UNDER $50,000
  79. THE ART OF TENSION INC., BROOKLYN, N.Y.

    With only a three-hour window, the team installed decor for a choreographed music performance that split a 3,3395-square-foot space into sections, creating four seating areas at different angles facing the center of the room. The design used some cues from the music, such as the repetition of simple forms to create movement.

  80. 5TH ELEMENT EVENTS, MARKHAM, ONTARIO

    A palette of yellows, greens and metallics brought out the beauty of the rustic interior of Toronto's 150-year-old Fermenting Cellar for an industry networking event. To tie the disparate decor elements together, the design team used copper-colored metals as unifying details in chair legs, rivets, etc.

  81. OCCASIONS BY SHANGRI-LA, ORLANDO, FLA.

    A summer evening wedding saw a young Indian bride and groom married in traditional style beneath a mandap designed to resemble a lotus blossom; in keeping with the lotus theme, the mandap seemed to float in the middle of a reflecting pond. The wedding reception took place in a luxurious gold- and peach-tone environment.

    BEST DECOR: BUDGET $50,000 TO $99,999
  82. DECOR AND MORE, OAKVILLE, ONTARIO, AND ALISON SILCOFF EVENTS, MONTREAL

    The whimsical world of “Alice in Wonderland” came to life at the Daffodil Ball, with a cocktail reception styled like the Mad Hatter's tea party and entry into the ballroom via two giant keyholes fashioned from boxwood hedges. The dining room featured 12 different madcap tabletops set beneath huge chandeliers made from oversize playing cards.

  83. POP KOLLABORATIVE, CALGARY, ALBERTA, AND DECOR AND MORE, OAKVILLE, ONTARIO

    The event team helped Shell Canada celebrate its 100th anniversary with the design scheme “It's Time,” keying on the company's brand colors — red and yellow — accented with metallic gold, silver and bronze, all of which suggested the inner workings of timepieces.

  84. RUSSELL HARRIS EVENT GROUP, NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.

    For the party celebrating the 500th episode of the irreverent cartoon series “The Simpsons,” the event team took over the entire first floor of the legendary Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and turned it into “Simpsons Land.” Children among the 800 guests could play skee ball and go bowling to win Simpsons' memorabilia while adults enjoyed casino games, huge screens playing the 500th episode, and bars and lounge furniture in the appropriate “Simpson yellow” for the full cartoon-land effect.

    BEST DECOR: BUDGET $100,000 TO $250,000
  85. E=MC2 EVENTS, CALGARY, ALBERTA, AND DECOR AND MORE, OAKVILLE, ONTARIO

    “Art Fusion Holiday” transformed a large, nondescript space into an interactive art gallery for some 2,200 guests, where “Masters” (classical art) dueled with “Modern” (contemporary art). The event space was divided into two distinct areas via decor, with luxe seating, Persian textures, and a red and gold color scheme in the “Masters” area, and modern art, lounge seating, and a silver and gray color scheme in the “Modern” area.

  86. FOURTH WALL EVENTS, NEW YORK

    The highlight of a weeklong incentive program to Miami was a “South Beach Sizzles” party, which transformed a hotel ballroom into a glittering ice castle. Square tables seating 12 each featured a 75-pound ice block centerpiece, which was wrapped with a crystal band and encased a single red rose.

  87. L'AUBERGE CASINO RESORT LAKE CHARLES, LAKE CHARLES, LA.

    The “Comics, Cupcakes and Cocktails” New Year's Eve event persuaded some 1,700 guests to stay put at a casino's gaming tables with its timeless theme of good versus evil. Decor immersed guests in a world of superheroes and villains, with “good” tables showcasing the likenesses of Batman and Superman while “bad” tables let Catwoman and the Joker hold court.

    BEST DECOR: BUDGET ABOVE $250,000
  88. MGM RESORTS EVENTS, LAS VEGAS

    A husband who turned to this design team five years ago to throw his wife a 30th birthday bash came back to ask for help for an unbelievable 10th wedding anniversary. The “deep love/deep blue sea” theme included pirates welcoming guests to a “shipwreck” cocktail reception followed by an underwater fantasy world complete with oversize coral sculptures and stilt-walker sea creatures.

  89. SOMETHING NEW EVENTS, CANFIELD, OHIO

    The design team worked hard to develop a sports theme rendered in an elegant way for this “Sports Mania” bar mitzvah. Decor elements included 11-by-20-foot banners of the honoree playing sports, a custom dance floor with a water motif (saluting his love of wakeboarding), basketball chandeliers, and a dessert “locker room” with treats served on custom printed Frisbees, which guests could take as souvenirs.

  90. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    The Jewish Museum in Berlin celebrated its 10th anniversary with a decor theme keying on a dramatic stage design. Large, asymmetrical projection screens emulated the design language of the academy building — a stylized Star of David. All dining tables were individually lit with golden beam spots with violet accent lighting in the lounge area — two support colors holding significance in Jewish and Christian symbolism.

    BEST EVENT FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION: BUDGET UNDER $100,000
  91. JIGGEE, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

    The annual ING Insurance Malaysia gala awards dinner keyed on a masquerade theme to promote next year's grand prize trip to Italy. To create an Italian mood in the event venue — a German microbrewery in the heart of Bangkok — the event team created a rich mix of experiences, including a photo booth in the reception area that placed guests in Italian backgrounds and a team of Roman centurions, who carried award winners to the stage to collect their trophies.

  92. JOKE EVENTS, BREMEN, GERMANY

    To help build public support for uniform national guidelines for health measures to prevent premature birth, the event team keyed on a simple truth: A parent's voice is a primary connection between a parent and a newborn. On World Prematurity Day, “singing mobs” of small groups of singers serenaded people in public spaces with a capella lullabies and explained the issues of prematurity, giving a voice to premature infants.

  93. LORI PARKS CORPORATE EVENTS, SIMSONVILLE, S.C.

    Some 30 companies — all potential lead sources — were invited to participate in a huge chili cook-off the Friday before a big college football weekend in Dallas. More than 500 guests participated as 30 teams began cooking at 8 a.m., with judging — including celebrity chef Dean Fearing serving as a judge — taking place at 1 p.m.

    BEST EVENT FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION: BUDGET $100,000 TO $249,999
  94. PODEGIKI, MOSCOW

    Brewer Efes staged a creative team-building event that saw employees competing to build a huge beer pipeline. Each of the 450 participants could choose the task he or she felt most comfortable with, and the reward was — of course — delicious beer.

  95. PODEGIKI, MOSCOW

    Volkswagen's Russian operations group staged a lighthearted team-building exercise where employees from across all company brands — from VW to Bentley — built soapbox cars for a race. Employees who rarely interact — such as call center staff and line workers — collaborated to build the cars.

  96. THE WAKEMAN AGENCY, WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.

    A company saluted its recent acquisition by another firm and its corporate learning program — which focuses on music instruction to encourage team building — by staging a battle of bands. Six novice bands — all made up of employees — performed for a panel of music enthusiasts; attendees could get temporary tattoos and buy commemorative T-shirts, with the proceeds going to charity.

    BEST EVENT FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION: BUDGET $250,000 TO $500,000
  97. EVENTWORKS, LOS ANGELES

    The event team juggled nine clients to create the final-night party for 4,000 guests at the International Travel Association's Pow Wow in Los Angeles. The “Hooray Los Angeles” event created “neighborhoods” — such as Santa Monica, West Hollywood and downtown — within the venue and offered nonstop entertainment, including live concerts by Josh Vietti, Nikka Costa, and Earth, Wine & Fire.

  98. FORBES MEDIA, NEW YORK

    The Summit on Philanthropy brought together some of the world's greatest business and social entrepreneurs for a daylong event with the lofty goal of effecting change in the world. The three-part, three-venue event included presentations, meals and a last-minute duet with billionaire businessman/philanthropist Warren Buffet and rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

  99. RUSSELL HARRIS EVENT GROUP, NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.

    The event team used the theme “More Stories” at Disney Media Distribution's annual upfront for more than 800 major international buyers. The mix of reception, presentations and networking moved at a brisk pace and led to commitments for more than $2.3 billion in sales for the studio — the best results to date.

    BEST EVENT FOR A CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION: BUDGET ABOVE $500,000
  100. MGM RESORTS EVENTS, LAS VEGAS

    More than 1,500 VIPs entered the red-hot “Rosso” New Year's Eve party — a surrealistic fairy tale set in crimson. Event elements included an “enchanted forest” of floor-to-ceiling red LED trees, a “rose queen” dressed in a red gown with a 30-foot train serving as the red carpet, “chandeliers” that dropped from the ceiling to serve as centerpieces, and four high-energy production numbers.

  101. NU SKIN ENTERPRISES, PROVO, UTAH

    This massive event brought together some 20,000 business partners for three days of speeches, stage performances and recognition ceremonies to inspire future success. The event, which required 18 months of planning and a staff of more than 1,000, saw the creation of a 170-meter (560-foot) stage and a 28-meter (92-foot) DNA model.

  102. VOK DAMS GROUP, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY, AND MINDACT, WUPPERTAL, GERMANY

    The theme “breaking free” ran through the dealer launch event for the new Porsche Boxster, exemplified in the setting — a volcanic island off the coast of West Africa — and a spectacular reveal, which simulated a volcanic eruption in an open-air amphitheater. Attendees tested the car on winding mountain roads, coastal roads and a race track.