Fresh Dinner Serves Up Fresh Event Ideas #IMEX15

Fresh ServerEvent industry professionals can always count on the The Meeting Design Institute, with its creative event ideas and approaches, for inspiration. This year's Fresh Dinner during IMEX America 2015 was no exception.

The event took place at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas. Funds from ticket sales went to support Merlin's Magic Wand, a charity that delivers magical experiences to seriously ill, disabled, and disadvantaged children around the globe.

Here were some take-aways:

  1. You can deliver a fresh event experience without changing the venue.
    Two years ago, The Meeting Design Institute hosted a reception with light finger foods at Madame Tussauds. The event started up pretty much the same with a fresh touch: instead of passed hors d'oeuvres, a server wearing a table moved around the room serving guests.
  2. Provide lots of space and seating configurations to maximize networking.
    There were round tables, high tops, and opportunities to sit around the wax figurines. Guests mingled and traffic flowed smoothly with no congestion.
  3. Maarten Vanneste"Bring it" with the element of surprise.
    Guests who had attending the event 2 years ago were expecting a reception. After mixing and mingling, Maarten Vanneste welcomed guests and introduced representatives from the museum and the charity.

    It appeared that the event was going to wind down after that. Instead, came the surprise. The event was a dinner and guests had just enjoyed the appetizer course. Each course of the meal was served in a different room in this multi-level, wheel chair accessible venue.
  4. Variety IS the spice of life...and great events.

    Dessert SkirtEach room delivered a fresh event experience. Just when you thought you had seen them all, another surprise awaited.
    • Among figures of Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, and James Brown, light salads and shrimp ceviche were served in plastic shot glasses. (Guests with allergies could have salads made to order.) The entertainment consisted of karaoke and a few brave guests gave it a try. At the end of my performance of a Bob Marley number, the voice of Simon Cowell said "That was a terrible performance."
    • There was a carving station among wax figures of modern and classic TV icons from Lucille Ball to Oprah Winfrey.
    • A chili station was in a different venue and fried potato skins, in which creamy mashed potatoes were served, was in another.
    • Downstairs, cake balls, s'mores, and pastries were served, surrounded by classic wax figures of iconic Las Vegas entertainers like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Elvis, and Liberace. A live band performed.

Carving StationJames Brown and Gerrit

Deep fried PotatoesDesserts

More Desserts

Once again, the Fresh Dinner was a memorable event. Event planners walked away inspired with many ideas for their own events.

Photos: Anne Thornley-Brown, Executive Oasis International

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