Hoopla is still big, but Florida's meeting planners say corporate branding events and philanthropic fund-raisers are more focused -- and more expense-conscious.
Dorene Collier (center), owner of Event Show Productions in Tampa, specializes in corporate events. [Photo: Jeffrey Camp]
Human bodies were the canvas for the artwork exhibited at an International Sales Group Marketing Reception in Miami. Andrea Sherman Events in Miami was the event planner. [Photo: Andrea Sherman]
Fog machine: $100 to $150
Bartender: $85 to $150
Costumed (or painted) actor to greet and mingle: $250 to $400
Hors d’oeuvres for 100 guests: $2,000 to $2,500
A Gimmick for Every Occasion
After 25 years as an event planner in south Florida, Andrea Sherman has seen just about everything. Airbrush-painted naked women? She’s seen hundreds. Human centerpieces? Old hat. Live animals? No big deal — usually. “We did a party in South Beach, and we had flamingos and then we had fireworks — and that’s when we learned that flamingos don’t like fireworks,” she says. The weirdest act she has seen recently was a woman dressed up like a fountain. “She’s literally a working water fountain,” Sherman says.
Orlando-based 2nd Nature Productions puts on Living Garden performances with human water fountains. [Photo: 2nd Nature Productions]
The state’s event planners are jockeying for a big payday Feb. 1, when Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium hosts Super Bowl XLIII. The last Super Bowl in the state — Super Bowl XLI in Miami — saw big parties that included 2,000 people in Miami’s American Airlines Arena for a Playboy magazine-hosted gathering. The NFL, which sponsors many of the events, “likes to partner with local businesses,” says Heather Wilson, an Orlando-based event planner.