2019 Star Awards Nominees & Winners

Best Corporate Event


Celebrating 30 Light Years - 2019 WINNER

Char Mason, Mason Creative | Todd Pinzuti, B6 Design & Events

For this lighting company's 30th anniversary celebration and product showcase, we infused light into every facet of this event. Bubble tea served in "light bulbs", dramatic room lighting, and a stunning lighted ice luge with lit martini glasses were just the start. A Nobel prize winner in LED technology spoke, winged lighted dancers performed and servers and entertainers wore custom LED animated shirts & bow ties. This was no ordinary trade show. The client and their guests were thrilled.

 
Geotab CONNECT 2018
metroConnections

Geotab – a Toronto-based telematics company – was looking to take their annual CONNECT Conference to the next level. Geotab knew it was an opportunity to impress their more than 800 attendees, including Geotab users, corporate customers, exhibitors and prospects. We transformed their hotel ballroom space into both a general session and exhibition space, featuring a carefully designed Geotab Smart City—a connected community where attendees could interact with one another.

 
Eye Care Leaders ONE User Summit
metroConnections

Eye Care Leaders (ECL) – an industry leader of ophthalmology practice management and performance solutions – was looking for help to execute its inaugural ONE User Summit, a three-day learning and networking opportunity for nearly 600 client attendees across the eye care community, including ophthalmologists, optometrists, administrators, techs and other staff. They wanted the experience to be unique, enriching and reflect the brand’s top-notch reputation.

 
Winter Party: Nocturne
Alla Ilushka, Carmichael Lynch

This event was for an ad agency’s annual winter party. The theme was 1920s, and we turned a downtown venue into a modern speakeasy – including a doorman who asked guests for the password, a roaming “detective” who gave clues to a secret drink, and party favors of cash and custom liquor hidden in crates that guests had to pry open. Entertainment included contortionists, flapper dancers, a girl in a champagne dress for a special agency toast, and a trumpet player who accompanied the DJ.

 

Best Culinary Innovation and/or Solution


Flannel Fling2019 WINNER

Christie Altendorf, D'Amico Catering

An innovative menu is not about creating delicious food. An innovative menu recognizes that while incredible fare is the cornerstone of a great culinary experience, to be truly inventive, the menu must also have the ability to elevate the client’s mission, delight the guest’s with pioneering presentation and, in the case of the Flannel Fling, entice guests to engage in both technology and philanthropy. How’s that for a menu mix?

 

Best Entertainment Production


Moulin Rouge
Enticing Entertainment

An evening of sexy, alluring, and over the top spectacle that encompassed all aspects of the classic Moulin Rouge cabernet! Bold, elaborate decor, sensational food stations complimented with entertainment installations, and wild, dynamic performances immersed guests in this vibrant, edgy, Parisian world!

 
Arabian Nights
Enticing Entertainment

An enchanted evening that introduced guests to a land of magic, mystery, and intrigue with mesmerizing belly dance performances, interactive characters and installations, and a captivating fire show filled with dancers and acrobats!

 
Beastly Bash - 2019 WINNER
Enticing Entertainment

Beastly Bash was a playful evening that celebrated the wild and exotic nature of the Minnesota Zoo and all of its fantastic creatures! This unforgettable fundraising event was a spectacle filled with “wildly chic” acrobats, contortionists, dancers, and aerialists!

 

Best Event Design/Décor – Budget $25,000 & over


Curtain Call Ball
BeEvents

“Out with the Rageous!” was our theme for a gala event to benefit a local children’s theater. We invited guests into a world of glamour, juxtaposed with hand-drawn artwork. Creating an opulent world fit for Marie Antoinette, where things aren’t always what they seem, this was truly one outrageous party to remember.

 
UNVEILED - The Ultimate Wedding Planning Event - 2019 WINNER
The Wedding Guys

UNVEILED - the Ultimate Wedding Planning Event would set a new standard for bridal show design and decor. Utilizing strategic design, two event producers created a boutique department-store-style environment by breaking up a vast 100,000 square foot exhibit hall. Filling the space with luxury decor, the producers created an intimate shopping experience for couples to curate their dream weddings.

 
Vikings House
Debbie Seabloom, Festivities

We had the opportunity to embark on a partnership with the hosting NFL team of Super Bowl LII. Together we created their hospitality house that ran for ten days. For this venture, we designed a complete take-over of Randle's Restaurant & Bar, a downtown Minneapolis restaurant. We designed each level to stay on brand with the NFL host team which included  minor renovations and enhancements, execution of sound, floral, lighting, branding, and furniture to completely transform the location.


Best Event Design/Décor – Budget under $25,000


Party Like It's 1999

Entourage Events Group

Our client presented us with a challenge to create a cohesive, sophisticated event design that was bright, amusing, and nostalgic. We dove into the project and emerged with a dazzling color palette, geometric seating pods, luxurious lounge arrangements, retro arcade games, and strategic lighting. It was a creative masterpiece and a brilliant display of our team’s talent that left guests smiling from cheek to cheek (while they partied like it was 1999!)

 
Modern Twist on Tradition - 2019 WINNER
Lacie Dehn, BLOMMÖNSTER

A new take on tradition. Ellora and Ishan wanted to honor their Indian heritage and embrace their modern American lives for their wedding. We literally went halfway across the globe to source the perfect items and teamed up with local vendors to create a one-of-a-kind design.

 
Super Bowl Brunch
Hanson, Ryan, BeEvents

The ask: Design a Super Bowl space to feels like an intimate brunch in the CEO’s living room. Transforming a striking office lunch room into comfortable breakfast space took ingenuity and smart design as we decorated with football memorabilia, stadium art, old-school Atari game, live edge tables
 and pigskin-upholstered chairs.  This over the top brunch was casual, memorable—and very football.

 

Best Event Filmaking


Minnesota Sports Awards - 2019 WINNER
metroConnections

The second annual Minnesota Sports Awards celebrated the state’s best in sports over the past year. Winners from the inaugural year attended, as did some of Minnesota’s most famed athletes, sports teams, sponsors, families and friends who have collectively shaped the state’s successful sports scene. Our film crew successfully captured every aspect of the event in order to produce a summary video that conveyed both the fun spirit of the award ceremony plus the high-end nature.

 
GEotab CONNECT 2018
metroConnections

Geotab was looking to take their annual CONNECT Conference to the next level. Geotab knew they had to impress their more than 800 attendees, while also attracting even more attendees to next year’s conference, including Geotab users, corporate customers, exhibitors and prospects. Our film crew was present for every aspect of the event and embedded in the planning process, as well, to make for a seamless filming experience in order to produce an impressive event summary video.


Best Event Photography – Non-Wedding


Peak Performers Conference - 2019 WINNER
Joe Szurszewski, Joe Szurszewski Photography LLC

Peak Performers is an annual business and incentive conference that rewards top-performing salespeople for a leading company in the insurance and annuities industry. The 2018 conference for 1500 people was held in San Francisco, CA, and the photography of the conference captured the wide range of entertainment, volunteer activities, and business sessions, including keynotes from Mel Robbins and Gary Sinise, and national acts Rick Springfield and Train.

 
Great Clips Biennial Convention
Joe Szurszewski, Joe Szurszewski Photography LLC

I led a team of three photographers and an assistant as we photographed the 2018 Great Clips biennial convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center. With extensive planning and preparation, we captured thousands of photos across the four day event that satisfied all of this new client's goals.

 
Bell Museum Opening Week
Joe Szurszewski, Joe Szurszewski Photography LLC

The Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota celebrated the grand opening of its new location with a week of activities in July, 2018. The photography of these events captured the excitement and wonder as visitors came face to face with many aspects of our natural world, and it especially focused on the experience of children, many of whom were encountering woolly mammoths, snakes, and the immensity of space for the first time.
 


Best Event Photography – Wedding


Winter Wonderland with Indoor Snow
Andrew Vick, Vick Photography

What happens when you dream up a winter wonderland wedding and there’s no snow? Bring the snow indoors, of course! With the genius inspiration from the planner, we brought Alyssa and Garron their winter wonderland and all in the comfort of their venue, no snow boots needed! Their entire day sparkled and shone as if it was plucked right out of the Frozen fairytale, with elegant white branches donning the ceiling, glittering table settings, all light by hundreds of candles and twinkle lights.

 
Tim & Alyssa Merritt Wedding - 2019 WINNER
Mark Fierst, Mark Fierst Photography

Rustic Chic Barn Wedding at Bloom Lake Barn on July 7, 2018.  Tim, a middle school teacher, and Alyssa, a nurse, went to high school together but didn’t start dating until college.  Their wedding would be a casual wedding with close friends and family.

 

Best Logistics – Non-Tent


Beautycounter Leadership Summit
Pete Nelson, Event Lab

It took 150 staff members 6 days to install 11,000 spandex chair covers, 475 linens and table runners, 800 centerpieces, 4,300 napkins and 720 rental chairs in 7 different locations throughout the Minneapolis Convention Center for Beautycouter’s Leadership Summit in May of 2018.  This took detailed management and a seasoned team of event professionals to pull off a very complicated schedule of simultaneous events.

 
Vikings House - 2019 WINNER
John VanCura, Festivities

We had the opportunity to embark on a partnership with the hosting NFL team of Super Bowl LII. Together we created their hospitality house that ran for ten days. For this venture, we designed a complete take-over of Randle's Restaurant & Bar, a downtown Minneapolis restaurant. We designed each level to stay on brand with the NFL host team which included  minor renovations and enhancements, execution of sound, floral, lighting, branding, and furniture to completely transform the location.

 

Best Logistics – Tent/Temporary Structure


NFL Honors Super Bowl LII Red Carpet Event
Tim Smith, Ultimate Events

The 7th Annual NFL Honors Super Bowl Red Carpet Event took place Feb 3rd, 2018 at Cyrus Northrop Memorial Auditorium on the University of Minnesota Campus.  Our company was contracted to provide turn-key tent services for this nationally broadcast, star-studded football and entertainment event.
 

Fan Experience - Longhouse Tent 2018 - 2019 WINNER
Tim Smith, Ultimate Events

A Custom designed aluminum and glass tent structure was installed as a focal point for an enhanced fan experience at US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.  The tent design was chosen to mimic the grandeur of the stadium itself.  2 stories of glass, vaulted ceilings and mono-pitch roof design were just some of the key features of this incredible tent installation project.


Butternut Point Wedding Celebration
Katiee Wandmacher, Après Event Décor & Tent Rental

A wedding celebration for 250 guests was planned at the lakeside home of the bride’s family. Two Clearspan Tents and endless equipment was delivered. Some was delivered by a 26-foot flatbed truck, and other equipment offloaded into a smaller truck and finally to hand carts to make the narrow journey to the secluded site.

 

Best Non-Profit Event


Rudy's Red Eye Express
Kelly Bollis, MAVEN

In partnership with Minnesota Viking Kyle Rudolph, our annual event, Rudy’s Red Eye Express, was produced for the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital to bring hope and healing to the children and families receiving ongoing care by giving them a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to the “North Pole”. By soliciting and trusting local vendors to provide donated goods and services, our team created an exceptional experience without losing sight of what’s truly important: The Children.

 
We Rise Gala
Sarah Cash-Darvell, Augsburg University

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, We Rise. 400 guests attending this Gala raised over $450,000 to champion young lives in recovery; providing a path to a college degree and helping them rise again. A mesh backdrop ignited the room with layers of red, orange, and yellow lighting providing a fiery focal point for the evening. Programming and entertainment weaved through the evening included life altering stories, aerialists, a cyr wheel performer, and a message of support from a US Senator.

 
Big Game Big Give 2018 - 2019 WINNER
Amy Zaroff, Amy Zaroff Events + Design

This elegant invitation-only event attracts a targeted audience of 500 guests, comprised of C-suite executives, high net-worth individuals, philanthropists, celebrities, sports legends, and political leaders. The evening features A-list entertainment, a live auction, delicious food by a celebrity chef and an open bar, creating an atmosphere for both charitable and business development opportunities.

 

Best Off-Premise Catered Event


Cozy Super Bowl Tailgate Party
Chowgirls Killer Catering

On Super Bowl Sunday, a Fortune 500 company hosted a brunch-time soiree for 40 of their VIP clients and families, requesting upscale Midwestern staples staged in a tasteful Northern-winter inspired space with rugged yet elegant vibe. The menu ran the gamut from Bloody Mary and Mimosa bars and action-station waffles to an ice-packed raw bar and the atmosphere was cozy yet full of anticipation for the big game ahead. The big surprise was the appearance of former NFL stars!

NBC Pre-Super Bowl Party - 2019 WINNER
Chowgirls Killer Catering

To introduce our venue and a new wellness menu to a corporate audience, we offered an event to “rewire your mindset toward meetings, changing them from mundane to meaningful.” The morning work event featured a vibrant variety of wellness professionals and local food purveyors, expert presenters with ideas to implement positive change in the workplace, and experiential seating vignettes to simulate new settings for more productive meetings.

 
Camp Cambria Classic
CRAVE Catering & Events

A private lakeside event for 1,500 guests flowing to music by Lynyrd Skynyrd surrounded by cacti & flowers made the Coachella-inspired Camp Cambria Classic. There are over 324,000 kids across North America who suffer with juvenile arthritis. The Classic was a VIP event created to thank sponsors & supporters of Camp Cambria as well as raise funds & awareness for this disease.

Best On-Premise Catered Event


Beastly Bash
Lancer Catering

Beastly Bash was a celebration of wildlife and conservation with an emphasis on the animals and work of the Minnesota Zoo. The outdoor party for 730 guests was hosted at the Zoo where guests enjoyed rare and endangered animals, an auction, signature cocktails, fabulous food and endless entertainment. Kat Perkins, a finalist on The Voice headlined, while twenty-four interactive performance artists engaged guests throughout the evening. The event raised close to $400K to further the Zoo's mission.


Charge: Power Up for more Meaningful Meetings - 2019 WINNER
Chowgirls Killer Catering

To introduce our venue and a new wellness menu to a corporate audience, we offered an event to “rewire your mindset toward meetings, changing them from mundane to meaningful.” The morning work event featured a vibrant variety of wellness professionals and local food purveyors, expert presenters with ideas to implement positive change in the workplace, and experiential seating vignettes to simulate new settings for more productive meetings.

 

Best Public Event


Charge: Power Up for more Meaningful Meetings
Chowgirls Killer Catering

To introduce our venue and a new wellness menu to a corporate audience, we offered an event to “rewire your mindset toward meetings, changing them from mundane to meaningful.” The morning work event featured a vibrant variety of wellness professionals and local food purveyors, expert presenters with ideas to implement positive change in the workplace, and experiential seating vignettes to simulate new settings for more productive meetings.

Ecolab Ice Palace
Jill Blihovde, Showcore

Over 500,000 people walked through the 2018 Ecolab Ice Palace at the St Paul Winter Carnival in downtown St Paul’s Rice Park; the winter carnival’s icon.  This was the 3rd largest ice castle built for the St Paul Winter Carnival in its history.  This elaborate creation was built with blocks of ice from Minnesota Lakes and was beautifully and colorfully lit up nightly with a light show programmed to iconic sound tracks.

 
UnVEILED - The Ultimate Wedding Planning Event - 2019 WINNER
The Wedding Guys

On November 11, 2018 two event producers designed a luxury shopping experience for newly-engaged couples. UNVEILED-The Ultimate Wedding Planning Event redefined the term 'Bridal Show' by transforming the traditional trade show into a retail-inspired shopping experience; connecting wedding businesses to style-conscious wedding planning couples. Setting out to design an environment unlike any other bridal show, the event producers created an event evoking the feeling of a luxury department store.

 

Best Social Event – Non Wedding


Moulin Rouge - 2019 WINNER
Enticing Entertainment

An evening of sexy, alluring, and over the top spectacle that encompassed all aspects of the classic Moulin Rouge cabernet! Bold, elaborate decor, sensational food stations complimented with entertainment installations, and wild, dynamic performances immersed guests in this vibrant, edgy, Parisian world!

 

Best Technical Production


Super Bowl Live Presented by Verizon - 2019 WINNER
Heroic Productions

How do you light up the entire downtown Minneapolis skyline in less than 5 days with temperatures flirting with subzero? What about creating a visual impression that will stick with visitors and Minnesota natives for ages? Ummm, how on earth do you get people outside to party when the temperature is at best 15 degrees above zero? We’re here to tell you: lighting plays a big role.

 
Minnesota Sports Awards
metroConnections

The second annual Minnesota Sports Awards – hosted by Sports Minneapolis – brought 500 attendees to U.S. Bank Stadium to celebrate the state’s best in sports over the past year. Winners from the inaugural year, including High School, Collegiate and Professional Athlete of the Year, attended, along with some of Minnesota’s most famed athletes, sports teams, sponsors, families and friends who have collectively shaped the state’s successful sports scene.

 
Geotab CONNECT 2018
metroConnections

Geotab – a Toronto-based telematics company – was looking to take their annual CONNECT Conference to the next level. Geotab knew it was an opportunity to impress their more than 800 attendees, including Geotab users, corporate customers, exhibitors and prospects. We transformed their hotel ballroom space into both a general session and exhibition space, featuring a carefully designed Geotab Smart City—a connected community where attendees could interact with one another.

 

Best Use of Floral


80th Anniversary Celebration
Pete Nelson, Event Lab

For a corporation’s 80th anniversary, we created a bright and cheery luncheon on the lawn of their complex. Floral included 300 individual roses hung from the ceiling creating a beautiful canopy overhead. The stage was flanked by two hedge walls adorned with a large “80” made out of yellow carnations while every table, buffet and bar showcased a multi-vase design of gerbera daisies, mini calla lilies, ranunculus, umbrella palms, lily grass, craspedia and robellini palms in decorative bud vases.

 
Preppy Summer Wedding
Festivities

Creatively Preppy Summer Wedding: The event was a summer wedding at the beautifully appointed Medina Golf and Country Club. This event featured an outdoor ceremony with an intricately designed full floral arch, coordinating urn arrangements, and over head cafe lighting followed by a cocktail hour, and an indoor reception with seated dinner, and full tabletop design.

A Woodworker's Daughter gets Married - 2019 WINNER
Lacie Dehn, BLOMMONSTER

A daughter of both a woodworker and an avid gardener, those two people gave me as a designer both excitement and fear of disappointment! Being able to work with the father of the bride to create something magical with his skills and work with the mother of the bride who LOVED flowers and my work, BONUS.

Best Use of Marketing/Design Collateral


Bold North Photo Booth
metroConnections | Time Into Pixels

The Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau wanted to welcome Super Bowl LII visitors to Minnesota with a fully-branded installation at the Mall of America. We designed and built a one-of-a-kind experiential marketing “photo booth” where visitors could step inside the state of Minnesota and use fun props to celebrate the Bold North theme of Super Bowl LII. Pictures could be instantly texted to visitors, allowing them to share their #BoldNorth experience on social media, in texts or via email.


UNVEILED - The Ultimate Wedding Planning Event - 2019 WINNER
The Wedding Guys

As an original shopping experience, UNVEILED re-envisioned what a bridal trade show could be. The event was distinctive, memorable, and special. Being conscious and consistent with their marketing and graphic design choices the producers wove the event together with grand style, enforcing a distinct brand throughout the entire event experience.


Love in Ojai
Gretchen Berry, Gretchen Berry Design Co.

A wedding weekend that showcased the couple, their unique style, and the love that they shared for each other and for every guest in attendance - started with 5 pre-event mailings (save dates, rehearsal invites, welcome fiesta invites, wedding invites, brunch invites) and ended with us designing over 135 custom - show stopping, unique, innovative - details and decor that set the mood, told the story and wowed guests. There truly was a lot of love in Ojai.

Best Use of Specialty Decor


AVEDA Congress - 2019 WINNER
Pete Nelson, Event Lab

A global celebration in honor of the craft of hairdressing and the Aveda network, Aveda Congress is a four-day event that recognizes top talent, inspires and educates with technical and creative presentations, and fosters a deep sense of connection to Aveda’s heritage of distinctive artistry and social responsibility.  We built 156’ of custom display walls, a 20’ living garden human charging station, a 20’ retail display and a 15’ tall entrance piece using their logo as inspiration.

Bold North Photo Booth
metroConnections | Time Into Pixels

The Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau wanted to welcome Super Bowl LII visitors to Minnesota with a fully-branded installation at the Mall of America. We designed and built a one-of-a-kind reusable “photo booth” where visitors could step inside the state of Minnesota and use fun props to celebrate the Bold North theme of Super Bowl LII. Pictures could be instantly texted to visitors, allowing them to share their #BoldNorth experience on social media, in texts or via email.

Peace Prize Forum 2018
Jodi Collen, CSEP, Augsburg University | Paloma Mohler, BeThings

The Peace Prize Forum fosters dialogue and inspires action in five dimensions of peacemaking—conflict resolution, human rights, economic development, environmental sustainability, and global health. The 2018 Forum focused on the role that access to water plays in peace building and the key building block that it is in economic development globally.  A key image of blocks was integrated throughout the collateral and into the main stage design—further driving home the role that small, incremental

 

Best Wedding – Budget $75,000 & over


A Dazzling Wedding - 2019 WINNER
Melody Hall, Events by Melody

A dazzling wedding it was. If you were to ask the bride, Lauren, what her favorite color was, she would likely respond with “glitter”. When sitting down with Lauren & Joe for the first time to get a feel for the vibe they were going for when it came to their wedding day, they mentioned words such as dazzling, glamorous, and ALL the sparkles. With that being said, we brought on a team of vendors who could help bring their vision to life and ensure their dream wedding would become a reality.

A&A's Tuscan Midwestern Wedding
Teddi Sellick, Event Lab

West coast meets the Midwest with this hometown Iowa ranch wedding. When Alex and Anna first met, they traveled the vineyards of Sonoma Valley. What better way to start their forever-after than by recreating the moment they fell in love? Guests felt transported through Tuscan-inspired details inclusive of earthy tones, lush greenery, and natural accents. From the wedding favors to the flavors, guests experienced this vineyard-styled ambiance.

Best Wedding – Budget under $75,000


Kim + Andrew

Jenn Rosen, Rosetree Weddings & Events

This busy power couple resides in NYC. Our groom is from Guyana. And bride is from Mpls.  She is an optimologist who is starting her own practice and he's in physical therapy.  The destination wedding would have been a massive undertaking to handle alon

Destination Wedding in the Heartland - 2019 WINNER
Lindsey Lozama, Simple Elegance Wedding & Event Planners

I provided wedding day directing (planning and execution) for a lovely couple having their fairy-tale “destination” wedding in Kansas City. The bride grew up in the Kansas City area and knew she needed a wedding planner to make her perfect big day go off without a hitch! We made sure the wedding day ran smoothly and all details were executed to perfection. This was such a fun wedding to be a part of (with so many surprises) and had a wonderful, supportive vendor team!

 

ILEA Team Effort


Camp Cambria Classic
Heidi LaSalle, CRAVE Catering & Events | Paloma Mohler, BeThings | Twirl Events

A private lakeside event for 1,500 guests flowing to music by Lynyrd Skynyrd surrounded by cacti & flowers made the Coachella-inspired Camp Cambria Classic. There are over 324,000 kids across North America who suffer with juvenile arthritis. The Classic was a VIP event created to thank sponsors & supporters of Camp Cambria as well as raise funds & awareness for this disease.


Big Game Big Give 2018 - 2019 WINNER
Amy Zaroff, Amy Zaroff Events + Design | Apres Event Decor & Tent Rental | AVEX | BeThings | Eden Fitzgerald, Fabulous Catering

This elegant invitation-only event attracted a targeted audience of 500 guests, comprised of C-suite executives, high net-worth individuals, philanthropists, celebrities, sports legends, and political leaders. The evening featured A-list entertainment, a live auction, delicious food by a celebrity chef and an open bar, creating an atmosphere for both charitable and business development opportunities.