It's not enough this year to just party on New Year's Eve--your guests will expect an event to remember. This has been the challenge for destination management companies, many of which have been making preparations for New Year's Eve 1999 for a couple of years now. We asked several DMCs to describe their most creative once-in-a-millennium themes.
Greatest Hits Harrah's Lake Tahoe tailors its timeline-themed millennium parties to a company's history. So for Colortyme, a furniture rental firm originating in the 1970s, the party began with "disco fever"; segued into the 1980s and '90s era of Michael Jackson, Madonna, and M.C. Hammer; and concluded with a Star Trek celebration. Meal courses and presentations were tucked between each entertainment era.
One Party, Five Time Zones Nature's Recipe pet foods will celebrate its acquisition by Heinz Corp. with a million-dollar bash for 500 people on December 31. A huge tent on a Corona, Calif., estate will be transformed into a plane flying from one millennial countdown to another, while guests party from 8 p.m. to midnight in five different time zones: St. Thomas, New York City, Chicago, Aspen, and Los Angeles. Highlights will include bigname entertainers and orchestras, videos simulating destinations, interactive entertainment, and foods from every region. The party is being produced by The Main Event, of Beverly Hills, Calif.
Back to the Future For a computer firm's party for 300 guests, Chicago's Adler Planetarium underwent a transformation, with space-age music, light beams, and servers in silver space suits. The futuristic theme, designed by Chicago-based Paint Me a Party Productions, went hand in hand with a blast from the past: Guests were transported to and from the event in antique cars and limos and on vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
A Blue Mood Tektronix themed its annual Meeting for 1,200 at the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas in multiple shades of blue--"the" millennial color. Bright blue mylar shimmer curtains on two stages and large urns with blue floral displays created contrast. Table decor emphasized the brighter blues, with rare blue orchids as centerpieces. The interactive entertainment included jugglers, mimes, and parrots. Guests were anything but blue at this party, produced by Spectacular OnSite Services Inc. of Las Vegas.
Club 2002 Kicking off 1999's new product push, a consumer products company filled the Anaheim Hilton ballroom with themed decor, entertainment, and foods from London, Singapore, Egypt, and New York. Three huge screens projected destination images, countdowns, and a blazing pyrotechnics finale. This futuristic night spot was produced by California Leisure Consultants, of Irvine, Calif.
Once in a Blue Moon To create a party that would be as special as a blue moon, Merestone, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based, made a time tunnel using a large cylinder, fog effects, and spinning lights to simulate the tunnel's end. The room was wrapped in fiber-optic drape so that guests felt as if they were floating in the stars. Glowing tabletops, logo ribbons embedded in ice, spiky shapes in ice globes, and Cirque de Soleil-style entertainment all contributed to the illusion of time travel.
Cosmic Bash Lit by wildfire black lights, 7-foot-tall galactic dancers moved to themed music in a Venusian landscape as 3-foot Mylar stars, moons, and asteroids floated rhythmically above and spandex tube sculptures changed shape to the beat. The good times rolled when San Francisco's Exploratorium hosted a party for 3,500 people, produced by Cappa & Graham Inc. of San Francisco, in April 1998.
Inside the Time Machine What way to better re-create the 10 decades of the 20th century than through music? A party being produced by New York City's Empire Force Events incorporates choreographed entertainment that feature dancers in period costumes who interact with guests as part of the entertainment. Three-dimensional centerpieces sit atop specially lit tables, each one made to represent a different decade. And just before midnight, an exploding balloon drop and a countdown to the millennium lead up to the concluding cannons, which blast confetti onto the dance floor.
Looking Forward, Looking Back Kathy Clarke Meetings & Incentives, Kamuela, Hawaii, will use a millennium theme for several clients early in 2000--to focus companies on the past as well as the future. In different areas all over the ballroom, corporate milestone events or popular incentives will be re-created thematically. But the biggest surprise will come when remote systems ignite fireworks within floral centerpieces, each of which stands nearly 3 feet tall.
The Morning After What do you do the day after the big parties? That's the question one automotive company asked when it started planning celebrations for its international dealers. New York- based Briggs Red Carpet Associates Inc. came up with the answer: a January 1 event that includes a noon-to-4 p.m. brunch and giant-screen TV for football enthusiasts. For other weary revelers, they've lined up masseurs to provide back rubs and massages--and even Tarot card readers for guests eager to know what the new year will bring.
"We turn into grinches about December 10," jokes Michael St. Germain, owner of Concord Camera, in Concord, N.H. Like so many others in the retail business, he can't afford to take time out for a holiday party during the busiest season of the year. So St. Germain hosts a "Christmas in August party" at a local lobster restaurant, a tradition he's upheld for the past 10 years to honor his employees and guests.
A lobster dinner would cost double in the winter what it does in the summer, so St. Germain spends the savings on gifts that, in the tradition of Santa Claus, he chooses himself. "It's a way to say thanks for a great year!"