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Call to Arms “Ignites the Light”

Even though large-scale events continue to be on hold around the country, the attitudes of catering and event pros have started to shift to one of positivity, excitement, and anticipation as we look forward to what’s next: Catersource + The Special Event, which will be July 19-22 in Miami Beach.

“We continue to show up for each other and our clients,” said Heather Rouffe, Managing Partner for Miami-based Atlas Event Rental, and 2021 Catersource + The Special Event show ambassador. “We can’t wait to welcome you to Miami, and I promise you this will be an event you will never forget.”

Registration is now open for both Catersource Conference & Tradeshow and The Special Event, which will be co-located in Miami Beach, Florida July 19–22, 2021. Go to conference.catersource.com for conference information.

Bill Hansen, CEO, Bill Hansen Catering and Event Production, is also based in the Miami area and will serve as the second 2021 show ambassador. “We’re going to take wonderful care of you,” he said.

“Grab your swimsuit, sunscreen and flipflops and we can’t wait to meet all of you,” Rouffe added.

Catersource + The Special Event took its first major step toward this summer’s event on January 13 when catering and event pros came together virtually for the annual “Call to Arms” meeting, which outlined plans for showcasing events for the 2021 show.

During the meeting, event and catering experts brainstormed on plans for signature events including Opening Night Party, Connect Live, Leadership Lunch, Opening General Session, Michael Cerbelli’s: The Hot List™: 2021, and Closing Night Celebration.

In case you weren’t able to attend the “Call to Arms” meeting, don’t worry. You can still participate in Catersource + The Special Event, whether on a committee, as a sponsor or exhibitor, and by participating in the Hands on Hundred program. Below is a brief roundup of what you need to know.

Connect Live

Connect Live, taking place on July 19, serves as the unofficial kickoff to Catersource + The Special Event, and is an opportunity for attendees to reconnect and network prior to the first day of education.

Tracy Davis Fox, of Party Artistry, is chairing the Connect Live planning committee, and is currently looking for professionals from all areas of expertise and skillsets to help realize the theme and vision.

“It’s the first impression that everyone is going to have when they arrive in Miami beach,” she said. “I want it to be a very Floridian, a very South Beach experience.”

A venue has not yet been identified for Connect Live, but some initial ideas that Fox proposed included rooftop venues, beach clubs, or maybe even on the water.

“It’s about resetting and recharging and getting back to what us party people like to do the most,” she said, “which is be together.”

Opening Night Party

The Opening Night Party on July 20 is the most highly attended Showcasing Event, and focuses on what’s hot, new, and exciting. Cari Petroselli, Otherwise Productions, and Sarah Gabel, Silent Party USA, are the committee chairs.

Interested volunteers discuss ideas for the Opening Night Party. 

Gabel and Petroselli have landed on “Euphoria” for the Opening Night Party’s theme, and want to celebrate being in the moment through décor, entertainment, and food.

“It’s about forgetting everything in the past year for a moment and coming together,” Gabel said.

Opening General Session

The July 21 Opening General Session, which kicks off prior to the opening of the exhibit hall, includes the show’s keynote speaker with a bit of pizazz thrown in. Scott Frankel, Animatic Media, is the committee chair.

Still in the planning stages, Frankel is looking for volunteers with a wide range of skillsets, including event production.

Michael Cerbelli’s: The Hot List™: 2021

Now in its twentieth year, Michael Cerbelli’s: The Hot List™: 2021, taking place the morning of July 22, is one of the biggest draws during Catersource + The Special Event. During the spectacle, Cerbelli highlights the hottest new ideas, products, and entertainment in a fast-paced, entertaining presentation.

“I’m looking to produce a wow and a bang this year,” Cerbelli said, with his trademark enthusiasm. “We need to bring our audience together and I’m going big this year because our audience needs us.”

Cerbelli said he will be looking for a lot of tech involvement this year since this year’s event will include virtual elements.

“Let’s knock them dead this year,” he said.

Leadership Lunch

The Leadership Lunch, held on the final day of the conference and tradeshow, honors four individuals with awards ranging from lifetime achievement to leadership. Networking, a beautiful lunch, entertainment and inspiring words are all part of this boutique event.

 Bill Hansen and Suzanne Pallot, Source Miami, are the two committee chairs.

Closing Night Celebration

Traditionally the Closing Night Celebration is the grand finale and is the last chance for attendees to connect, learn, and celebrate with their peers. However, with the pause of the ACE and Gala Awards reception and ceremony in 2021, the Closing Night Celebration on July 22, will be an opportunity to honor and celebrate successes, at least that’s what committee chair Chad Everett, of Galaxy Productions, envisions.

“We want to honor everyone in the event industry and celebrate the inner light that everyone has that has been beaming with energy,” he said. “We are going to ignite your light by honoring people at this event in a special way.”

The Closing Nigh Celebration Committee is chaired by Chad Everett of Galaxy Productions.

Without giving too much away, Everett wants the Closing Night Celebration to be elegant, glamorous, celebratory, and full of surprises.

Lastly, Catersource + The Special Event is still looking for someone to chair the Event Experience committee. This year’s event, which will be the evening of July 21, will be an immersive catering event showcasing the newest trends in catered food.

In addition to the showcasing events, Catersource + The Special Event are also looking for volunteers for the following areas:

Hands-on Hundred

Catersource + The Special Event is offering a limited number of attendees the opportunity to fully experience the event by joining the Hands-on Hundred program. Attendees commit to volunteer a minimum of 10 hours (2 five-hour shifts) on the setup, on-site logistics, and tear-down for the social events and sessions related to the shows. This program is a learning and hands-on experience. If you are new to the industry, looking for a different experience at the show, or just want to help on-site this program is for you!

Sponsors & Exhibitors

Our Showcasing Event Barter Sponsors receive great benefits and exposure to the industry. Sponsor your products and services to barter sponsor a Showcasing Event.

If you are interested in getting involved in a committee, Hands-on Hundred or as a barter sponsor, please reach out to Show Manager Jesse Parziale at [email protected] or 813.789.3866.

We look forward to seeing you in Miami!

Amber Kispert

Content Producer

Amber is the Content Producer for Catersource. Amber previously worked as a Communications Specialist for LeClair Group and a reporter for the Woodbury Bulletin, both located in Woodbury, Minn.  As a self-described "foodie," Amber loves to experience the world of food and beverages, and is excited to help share the stories of Catersource and the world's caterers.