Show & Sell
Hoopla is still big, but Florida's meeting planners say corporate branding events and philanthropic fund-raisers are more focused -- and more expense-conscious.
A living table display by Event Show Productions.. [Photo: Brion Price]
Florida’s economy hasn’t slowed down fund-raising events and, in fact, many non-profits have to put more emphasis on fund-raisers. The Pier Aquarium in St. Petersburg, for example, lost $90,000 in outside funding this year, says Executive Director Howard Rutherford. The aquarium is counting on its annual Fish Head Ball to raise $35,000 this year to help fund educational programs and summer camps. This year’s version, with an “underwater ruins” motif, attracted 400 people.
Chameleon Designs created a water wall above a koi pond that displays one of the sponsors of the Headdress Ball in Orlando last month. [Photo: Event Show Productions]
Florida remains a major party state, behind only New York and California in the number of major events, says Channing Muller, editor of BizBash Florida, a magazine that covers the state’s event industry. She expects this year’s party season, which starts about now and runs through April, will be a little slower than last year — but still plenty active.
“People always have a reason to meet, good times or bad,” Wilson says. “If it’s a good time, you need to celebrate your success. If it’s a bad time, you need to regroup and think about where you’re going to go in the future.”