This week, Canadian event industry professionals gathered in Toronto for Canadian Special Events EXPO14 when some of the hottest event industry trends were unveiled.
On Tuesday evening, guests for Indigo, the opening event, were directed to the backstage entrance at the historical Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. Gilded Live, a duo presenting music and creating a decadent painting with chocolate, provided a relaxing atmosphere.
After a couple of hours of mixing and mingling the show began with a ballet by Hit and Run. The curtains were raised and guests were delighted to discover that the reception had been taking place on stage.
For the rest of the evening, guests sampled everything from Chef Stephen Lee's beef strip loin and mashed potatoes served in parfait dishes and presented like sundaes, to mini-tacos and mini-tortillas from the food stations in the lobby and the lounge areas of the mezzanine.
Dessert included a cotton candy bar, popcorn and candy-coloured macaroons.
Entertainment, which was staged throughout the 2-level area, included a flash mob with Counter Measure singing 1950s tunes acapella and Shuga performing funk favourites.
Canadian Special Events Expo
The next morning, Idea Hunter, Janice Cardine, presented the opening breakfast keynote. The event trends she highlighted included:
- Man Caves
- Creative Furniture including LED furniture and blow up furniture
- Articulture including sparklers and vertical garden walls
- Formset Backdrops (Affordable at $4 a square)
- Couple Seating
- Fruit and Vegetable Flooring
- Pixel Performance
- Globots and Glow Ladies
- Diva Dresses
- Interactive iPad DJs
- Virtual Presenters
- Talking Mannequins
- Projection Mapping (Currently viewed nightly on Canadian Parliament)
- Sky High DJs
- Lord's of Lighting
- Hunted Down
- Bande Artistique
Canadian Special Events EXPO14 not only presented content about event trends but they came to life on the trade show floor at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre that had been transformed into a colourful circus midway celebrating and showcasing the hottest special event trends in Canada. Jugglers, giant stilt characters, dancers, the Mad Hatter, and even a captivating contact juggler skillfully manipulating a clear crystal interacted with attendees.
There were performances on the stage throughout the day showcasing innovative Canadian entertainers.
Food and Beverage
In keeping with the theme, refreshments, served from food trucks, included tasty gourmet tapas, and scrumptious salads. Snow cones, popcorn and cotton candy rounded out the circus theme.
Social Media and Event Technology
The Engagement by Gamification presentation by Jon Garner of Cvent highlighted the importance of integrating games into events. To counter the perception that games aren't a good fit for executives, he presented the statistics that 61% of senior executives surveyed indicated that they take game breaks during the course of their workday and 1 in 4 professionals over 50 indicated that they are game lovers.
See yesterday's blog post Social Media Landscape: Figuring Out Where to Focus for select highlights from my presentation about social media lingo.
Appstravaganza, a full day devoted to event apps, took place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. It was an opportunely to preview and try out apps and software and get real-time answers from the developers. Content focused on hackathons, gamification, microsites, and virtual venues.
Photo Credits: Leblond Studio, Jean Mao, Peg Gall