500 Festival Staff members Travel to New Orleans Event to Gather Ideas for May in Indy

By Sara Adams (Event & Program Manager)

The Special Event Show was a dream to experience! It was a dedicated time for event professionals of all facets to join together to share, learn and experience both what is time-tested and new and shiny in our industry. It is always inspiring to be in a room full of people who all share a passion, and it was three days filled with rooms, halls, convention centers, parties and restaurants of the kind of people who plan a “good time” for a living.

The Special Event Show boasts itself as the largest tradeshow and conference for event professionals, filled with three days of educational seminars and workshops, two days of a tradeshow, and parties noon and night to see it all in action. As a first time attendee, I was eager to absorb anything and everything that I could! I took classes about integrating technology into events, how to use today’s top design trends at all budgets, how to “Refresh, Reboot and Re-engage!” events that are annual, a “Geeky Girls’ Guide to AV,” and a really interesting course on music licensing for events. People were eager to help one another and to share their experiences for the greater good. Some classes I took had 20 people in them, and some had over 400 and were standing room only! All of the classes left me with some sort of nugget of knowledge or inspiration to bring back to the 500 Festival.

Once you were revved up by the mentors and keynote speakers of each class, it was time to go see it all in action on the tradeshow floor. Linens, floral, tablespace design, rentals, the newest audio visual gadgets, entertainment booking, and fireworks in a box, it was all there for exploring! We made great connections with vendors and other people in the industry. There was a lot of energy encouraging great conversation and business talk, and there was no shortage of people excited to hear about what the 500 Festival does!

A unique part of The Special Event Show is their showcasing events. These events are meant to invigorate guests through the display of the latest and greatest spectacles in the event industry. Michael Cerbelli ’s: The Hot List went through a rapid-fire list of entertainers, design trends, artists and rentals. He showed everything from a company that burns your photo onto a macaron onsite at your event, to mechanisms that can make your centerpieces levitate.

We also had the opportunity to attend the Closing Night Celebration at Mardi Gras World, a unique venue that is a museum of Mardi Gras Floats and props, as well as a massive blank canvas event warehouse. Inside this warehouse, Wink Design and Events (the committee chairs for this event) transformed the space into a trip through Mardi Gras and New Orleans traditions all with a Wizard of Oz spin. There was endless eye candy to enjoy and so much to learn as we followed the yellow brick road.

The Special Event Show had infinite opportunities to offer its attendees. The classes provided the chance to learn from a variety of other professionals’ experiences. The tradeshow was the perfect place to share the 500 Festival mission, and discuss how companies could help us bring visions to life. And finally, the Closing Night Celebration was the over the top culmination for a bunch of event professionals needed to cap off the experience! I am eager to share what we learned with the 500 Festival and to see how the team can bring some of it to life!

Be sure to look for some of these amazing new ideas and exciting displays at the following events:

Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by Midwestern Engineers, Inc.  |  #BrickyardBreakfast

500 Festival Corporate Member Program, presented by Fifth Third Bank  |  #500CorpMem

KeyBank 500 Festival Snakepit Ball  |  #SnakepitBall