Event Profile: Annual Sojourn Gala
Creating an Italian wine-country experience with décor, lighting and foodPublished in April 2010 event profile | Departments
Creating an Italian wine-country experience with décor, lighting and food
The Sojourn Gala is the biggest fundraiser for WEDU, the Public Broadcast System affiliate in West Central Florida. Each year the theme of the gala is to take a “sojourn” (a short stay) in a different wine-producing part of the world. For 2010, this was Italy.
“It was no particular region, just the feel of Italy,” says Frank Clemente, director of event design for conceptBAIT in St. Petersburg, FL. “The design is always very culture-rich.”
The gala was held at the A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa, with 18,000 square feet of flexible event space. Event details that helped create the sense of being in Italy included.
Audio-visuals. “Being PBS, they have all of this wonderful footage available,” says Clemente. “It was as if you were soaring, looking down on Italy.”
A street festival. Outside the main ballroom, Clemente set up décor that felt like an Italian street festival.
Art. Clemente wanted the room to look like a museum, with a classic Italian feeling. Table settings, florals and room décor looked as if they had just been imported.
Menu. From antipasto skewers to Ciabatta bread to a salad of shaved fennel and blood orange with aged pecorino—not to mention entrée of Butter and Marjoram-Poached Sea Bass and Fiorentina Sirloin resting on Garlic-Seared Spinach. The meal was served Italian style, with the insalata (salad) following the secondo (entrée) and before the dolce (dessert).The appropriate wine and liqueur was served with each course.
The room was set up lengthwise and divided by a dance floor that was set up to look like a runway. During the evening, Saks Fifth Avenue presented a fashion show on the runway. Rounds were used for guest tables on the outside edges of the room, with “feasting tables” that seated 15 near the stage—and reserved for premium donors.
Lighting reflected Clemente’s inspiration, says Nicole Justo Carballa of Bay Stage Lighting. “Frank has this crazy kind of starburst effect he wanted. I think we really did a good job of recreating that inspiration.”
BEHIND THE EVENT
Production Team: conceptBAIT
Venue: A La Carte Event Pavilion
Menu: A La Carte Event Pavilion
Lighting: Bay Stage Lighting
Photography: Limelight Photography