Guests unlocked an eclectic adventure of eccentricities as they immersed themselves on an unforgettable journey through seven curious spaces at the renowned Walker Art Center. This imaginative, high-fashion night featured reception-style dining + drinking experiences paired with a formal awards ceremony to celebrate the best creative works by International Live Event Association (ILEA) members.
This year Wedding Guy, Matthew Trettel and Ryan Hanson, CSEP of BeEvents created an event that moved away from the Esprit Award’s traditional Golden-Globes-style seated dinner ceremony to an Academy Awards style theater show format with after-party. The event was hosted at the Walker Art Center in downtown Minneapolis.
Each year, the ILEA ESPRIT Awards is at the center of it all. It’s the must-attend event celebrating the Live events industry. It’s a night when all the pieces of the live event industry combine in a magical moment designed to inspire and celebrate the remarkable work of ILEA Members through the events they produce. This year was certainly no exception.
By design, the event was an integration of the recognition of international talent celebrated in a fractured event experience. “We brought together an army of creative thinkers, the best problem solvers and innovative suppliers to cultivate curiosity. In this conversation, we have developed a quirky event, with even more surprises, to act as a catalyst for and showcase of emerging trends,” says Ryan Hanson, CSEP.
“This year, our goal was to take attendees on a journey into Curiosity Fractured. Throughout the evening, they would experience seven spaces. In these designed environments, decor, floral, entertainment, Technical production, food and beverage are seamlessly integrated, creating an immersive experience,” says Wedding Guy, Matthew Trettel.
The event featured a red-carpet arrival featuring catering by A’BriTin Catering with drinks by Beam Suntory and crafted cocktails by Equal Parts Cocktail Company. The evening was filled with decor by national and local sponsors including BeThings, Atomic Designs, Your Type, BeEvents, Ice Occasions, The Wedding Guys, Big Ink, Bloommonster and BBJ Linens.
Following the pre-party, guests were ushered into the McGuire Theatre for a 90 minute action packed awards program including an opening number by local artists Erin Schwab, Victoria Deville, three dancers and a DINOSAUR! It was the In Memoriam that brought down the house. Featuring an operatic performance of ‘Time to Say Good-Bye’, paired with the comedy stylings of Erin Schwab and a video of expired event trends had the attendees in stitches.
Following the awards guests were ushered to elevators tripped out; one with orange and pink faux fur, one with black and white line art and a marionette and another dressed up to look like a palace.
The elevators delivered guests to three event spaces at random, each with an immersive experience.
In Wunderbar, a lush greenery wine-bar was designed. Curiosity grows in the metamorphosis of the Wunderbar. Guests discovered the oddities and eccentricities of the characters in this botanical wine bar which featured a magician and experiential actor. A kaleidoscope of winged wonder created by Girl Friday awaited guest arrival. Create Catering created an amazing menu of bespoke grilled sandwiches, artisan cheeses and Berkel Slider station.
In JETSET, curiosity took flight. Guests came to fly with us in this first-class lounge floating just above the streets of Minneapolis. They kicked back in this retro cabin of comfort with a martini cocktail and smooth sounds of Ms. Erin crooning from atop the bar. Culinaire paired the aesthetic with a retro-inspired carving station menu. The Brand Booth created a photo booth activation out on the wings!
In Fishbowl, curiosity got wet. Guests had to look out, because they were under the sea inside the bowl, with fish swimming overhead. The drinks were cool, the vibes just right, and the fish didn’t bite. After dining on a delectable sea-inspired menu from The Deco Catering, guests were entertained by drag performer Victoria Deville, in her rendition of ‘Under the Sea’ from The Little Mermaid.
Final curiosity rises in Luna, a cosmos inspired dance-party. Guests come together from different parts of the party to end the evening with dessert and dancing. Luna shone in all colors up on the rooftop of the Walker Art Center’s terrace.
Photos by Lauren B Photography