There were two very different sides to The Special Event show, held January 8 to 11 in Orlando. Many sessions and discussions focused on the economy — of huge concern to this industry, which has been hard hit as companies either have decided to turn events into meals, or to “do something creative” at half the price.

Yet, the 1,100 attendees were also there to experience the hottest event trends, so the show (sponsored by Special Events magazine and ICP sister magazine Corporate Meetings & Incentives) went on in grand style, beginning with a “Rolling Thunder” HarleyFest at the Orlando Harley-Davidson factory, where guests donned special gloves to drink beer out of mugs made of solid ice.