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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

THAT Space is a Gymnasium? I Don't Think So!

Sometimes a special event is special because of the venue it is held in; sometimes you don't have a "party" space and transforming unusual space into a magical environment takes a bit of work. Here's three recent examples - all with good "bones" in school environments - all with very different results...

"Vintage Concordia"
The challenge for "Vintage Concordia" — a recent silent auction, dinner and fundraiser at Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana was not only to transform the entry through the hallway and into the gymnasium, but the gymnasium itself. This was a large event with over 400 guests and a variety of spaces to create. Hallways and entry ways became pathways to Italian wine country, complete with colorful backdrops of the Tuscany region. Wine barrels and grapevine arches created registration areas and check out tables. Silent auction displays surrounded and helped define an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere reminiscent of the Italian countryside, complete with candlelight, views, hanging chandeliers, billowy draping overhead, and the feeling of dining al fresco in a vineyard. La Dolce Vita! Click here to see more photos.

"Winter Wonderland"
Maple Leaf Farms, of Leesburg, IN, recently purchased and completely renovated the former Leesburg Elementary School into a modern world headquarters with offices for more than 80 employees. The $4 million renovation kept the former gym intact, painting only the walls and bleachers, and refinishing the floor. To transform this space into a truly "winter wonderland," we first protected the floor with carpet (thank you Hamm Event Services) to quiet the space (think how that first snowfall sounds late in the middle of the night). Next, all the lighting was turned off — creating atmosphere, intimacy and a big-city holiday feel for the 200+ guests using uplighting and gobo projectors of snowflakes. Lounge areas and cocktail tables around the lounge area were all lit with LEDs – creating a hip, clubby, upscale and "techy" vibe. The tables and chairs were "dressed" for the evening with glittery silver, pewter, and white; with glowing snow-white bright centerpieces. Guests were in awe and amazed that the space could be transformed so dramatically.

For the following weekend, carpet, tables and chairs were removed, and the space became party central for a 16th birthday party. The kids used the bar and lounge areas for snacks and beverages, and played basketball in one end of the gym. Not one, but two unique transformations — to satisfy all ages! Click here to see more photos.

"Red Carpet"
Homestead High School's 2011 winter dance was the talk of the town — if you count the backdrop paparazzi flashing cameras and the buzz of excitement from the "local" celebrities when they walked into the transformed space. Each year, A Party Apart comes up with unique themes for both the winter dances and Homestead's annual proms. This year's "Red Carpet Night" had all of the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood version — lights, cameras, action, the red carpet walk, a staging area for "celebrity" photos, and a trendy hot setting that rivaled any awards show. Be a "star" in your own setting! Click here to see more photos.