Highlights From The 2013 Idea Factory

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Hundreds of event professionals from around the world flocked to Las Vegas this month for a week full of learning, discovering, networking, and fun!

The 2013 Idea Factory was packed full of new ideas, fresh trends, business lessons, exciting events, and networking with event pros from around the world. From the dozens of sessions at the Mirage Hotel to the thousands of products on the Expo floor, the show set to rejuvenate and prepare attendees for the year ahead in the industry.

Here are highlights from the week’s events!


• Advisory Board members Lenny Talarico and Laura Schwartz, and SEARCH Foundation chairman Rick Turner welcomed attendees to another exciting year at the Idea Factory before inviting David Tutera to the stage to welcome our keynote speaker, Dina Manzo. Dina enlightened attendees with stories of her journey in the event industry and the lessons she has learned along the way. “You need to use both sides of your brain (Right for creative design; Left for logical decision-making) and your heart to excel in your designs,” says Dina. “By bringing meaning to the events you produce and inspiring your clients, you will stand out”. Joined by her assistant Luke, the two lightened the environment with back and forth banter, helpful suggestions and highlights from successful past events.

• Platinum show sponsor CORT Event Furnishings introduced their new line of “Into the Wild” products at the Idea Factory, providing furniture for the Attendee Lounge. The lounge was turned into an exciting jungle themed event on Sunday night, complete with champagne, industry professionals, and even a live snake! Dina Manzo entered the party for a book signing and was quickly joined by fellow Lovegevity Wedding Planning Institute instructors Cho Philips, Richard Hallmarq, of Project Runway, and Naima Mora, of America’s Next Top Model.

• After the festivities in the Attendee Lounge subsided, attendees headed out to the Mirage Pool for the annual Welcome Reception. Event Solutions attendees gathered in the warm Vegas weather to meet and network with the Advisory Board and other event professionals before heading in to prepare for the days ahead.


• The biggest day of education taught us about setting price structures, creating large scale events, collaborating with suppliers, building amazing centerpieces, décor trends and much more!

• At the Buffet/Boxed Lunch, attendees viewed innovative displays for buffets and boxed lunches while enjoying a trendy buffet lunch. Guests were able to network with other attendees while discussing and voting for their favorite designs.

• After a day full of classes, attendees relaxed with a trip back to the time of Peace, Love and Rock & Roll! The Harmony at Hard Rock Monday Night Party allowed attendees to see new trends in action from vertical buffets to new entertainment to eclectic designs; the event, produced by Cade Nagy and Dan Smith of Catering By Design and By Design Event Décor, was nothing short of impressing. Three levels of exciting features including a lava lamp ice wall, interactive picture making, a mixed drink wall, interactive spin art plates and groovy entertainers allowed guests to roam freely through the event and discover trends at every turn.


• The first day of the 2-day Expo invited attendees to wander the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center to discover hundreds of suppliers with thousands of new ideas and products on display. View products from the show floor here

• The highly-anticipated AFR Design Challenge put industry icon Lenny Talarico against rising star Jessica Ziedler for a fast-paced design challenge in front of a live audience on the show floor. The final creative designs were judged by attendees throughout the tradeshow. The competition was steep, but this year’s award went to newcomer Jessica Ziedler with her beautiful Green and Black Zebra Print concept!

• A year of hard work culminated in one exciting event for the entire industry as attendees gathered to celebrate the Event Solutions Spotlight Awards at the Tapis Rouge event. To see more from the event click here.


• Celebrity planner David Tutera returned to the Expo floor on Wednesday to judge the Tabletop Contest. With the coveted Tutera’s Pick award up for grabs, David interviewed each contestant to decide which display would walk away with this year’s votes.

• After the Expo doors closed, attendees traveled back to the Mirage Hotel to gain some final tips and techniques from our exciting lineup of speakers before heading to the Closing Session, where Colin Cowie would close the conference with an outlook on upcoming event trends. David Tutera began the session by announcing the winners of this year’s AFR Design Challenge, Buffet/Boxed Lunch and Tabletop Contests and then introduced our Closing Speaker, Event Solutions Hall of Fame inductee Colin Cowie. Colin discussed new trends, as well as ideas that can be retired in 2013.

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About the author : Alyssa Brooks

Alyssa Brooks

Alyssa Brooks is the Marketing Manager for Event Solutions and Catersource. She enjoys planning and marketing events and is always seeking fun and creative new ideas to share with the industry.

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