The 2011 Philadelphia N.A.C.E. Gala

Philly N.A.C.E. Gala 2011 Image

It’s been a few years since the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association of Catering Executives (N.A.C.E.) held a Gala for the folks in the event industry.

On January 16, 2011 they certainly made up for lost time.

This Gala – by far – was the most impressive industry event I have ever attended. As a matter of fact, it’s quite likely that this was the most impressive event I’ve ever attended period.

After valet parking, guests entered into the surreal, as they were treated to mouth watering hors d’oeuvres, and trapeze artists serving champagne from on high.  There was no shortage of eye-candy, both in the attire of the attendees and the lights and thematic décor, but the most impressive element was yet to come.

It was the infinite wisdom of Karen Pecora to assemble the team of event professionals that were to be involved.  Among many great and creative minds, she brought together the three “E’s”,  Eventions Productions, Evantine and EventQuip… and the rest is history.

Gala Philadelphia Image

“If you build it, they will come.”
~Field of Dreams

Ed Knight and his team at EventQuip did just that.  I’ve written about EventQuip in the past (click here), but to actually see them in action was something else entirely.  Truth be told, I wasn’t planning on even attending the Gala until Ed phoned me the week of, telling me I would be making a mistake if I missed it.  He was right, and I was significantly blown away, as Ed likely knew I would be.

Creative Juice Group Image

As I crossed over the glass floor (with a girl lying below), I beheld ‘the ballroom’.  I put ballroom in quotes because, in reality, it didn’t even exist, so to speak.  Ed Knight and the EventQuip team (props to Josh) ‘built’ the structure which sat 200 plus guests, and housed a lounge area, full bar (two bars if you include the appendage of the vodka bar), and a raised stage with a water pool beneath it (upon which Big Ric and his band rocked the house).

Big Ric Gala Image

Disco Knight Image

In short, let’s just say that all future events might need a limbo theme, because the bar has just been raised.

As Karen Pecora said in her opening remarks, “We couldn’t find a ballroom this cool in Philly… so we got Ed Knight to build it”.  And so they did.

Buiding a Ballroom Image


EventQuip Tent Image


To Brian Kappra from Evantine, Brian Toner from Eventions Productions, Sandy O from Creative Juice and Scott Barnes from Stephen Starr, my hat is off to you all, and to those I may have forgot to mention.  To Karen… Kudos for putting together such an all-star team, and lastly – in my humble opinion – the cake goes to Ed Knight and all the folks at EventQuip for building something from nothing.  And although even Ed will have a hard time out-doing himself on this one, I suspect the next big Gala may just be held in a ballroom built entirely of Lego blocks… Silly? Maybe, but if it could be done, EventQuip would be the company to do it.

Craig Sumsky
Cutting Edge Entertainment

Images (other than the before and after) courtesy of Barton Paul Photography

Catering by Stephen Starr –

Lighting by Eventions Productions –

Design by Evantine –

Magic and Pixie Dust (live performers) by Creative Juice Group

Tent Structure/Architect –

4 Responses

  1. Karen Pecora

    Craig – thanks so much for your feedback. It is NEVER easy to “WOW” our industry pros – I mean we do this all of the time. I am glad that you had a spectacular time! I myself thought it was total… FABULOSITY!!!

  2. Craig- I’m glad you were able to come out to the Gala and experience what everyone was able to put forth in making The Event such a huge success. It truly was a night you didn’t want to miss and I’m glad you were here to be a part of it. Now about those Lego blocks… hmmmm

  3. Pingback : A Year Later: Looking Back on the 2011 NACE Gala, An Event for Event Professionals | EventQuip Blog

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