Event Profile: Forbes Star Awards

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February 18, 2014


The 2013 Forbes Star Awards, presented by Forbes Travel Guide, recognizes hotels and resorts around the globe for excellence in hospitality by awarding the annual Four and Five Star ratings.

The two-night event, hosted by MGM Resorts Events, brought together top hospitality professionals for an evening of celebration. Given some flexibility in designing each night’s events, event producer Lenny Talarico, CSEP, and the MGM events team created similar, yet individually unique events for the occasion.

The first night was designed as a smaller, more intimate formal dinner reception for approximately 200 Five Star award-winning guests.


A living logo wall greeted guests as they arrived and was designed, fabricated and installed specifically for the event. “The Aria hotel engineering and horticultural teams did an amazing job creating a living garden at the front VIP entrance,” states Talarico. The wall, which was installed in just 12 hours, covered a previously bare metal and granite wall and set a welcoming tone for the evening.


Upon arrival to the pre-reception, guests were welcomed by ice walls shining the event logo and strands of ice suspended from the ceiling for a dramatic entrance. Four dramatic step and repeat walls measuring 20 feet long and 10 feet tall were placed throughout both day’s events, creating unique focal points.


“We started by creating an environment with elegantly appointed tables. Stunning linens embroidered with platinum and gold threads glistened under the lighting.” Upholstered chairs were placed around a 12-foot tall fountain brought in for the event and gold urns were filled with white hydrangeas and cascading phalaenopsis orchids.


All of this elegance supported a quartet of electronic violinists that were suspended from the ceiling, creating a visual of living musical chandeliers that enchanted guests. “The gala dinner’s entertainment needed to be sophisticated, but not stuffy,” says Talarico.


The second night’s event was designed as a less-formal networking reception with upscale food and beverage service for approximately 350 guests. The color palette called for black and white with pops of yellow that would set a mood conducive to networking for the evening.



“A mix of eclectic furnishings allowed the space to come alive,” says Talarico. A diverse selection of furniture, from soft seating to long communal runner tables to high top cruiser tables, created a cool environment that would appeal to a variety of guests.


Action stations were placed throughout the event with a mixture of culinary offerings from executive chef Anthony Amoroso, including Butternut Squash Veloute and Beef Tomahawk, and an assortment of passed hors d’oeuvres from Sea Scallop Ceviche to Duck Rillete and Jamon Iberico.



Entertainment for the night included performers suspended from the ceiling in tear drop swings serving dessert, as well as local swing orchestra Mark and Martinis who played an assortment of standard jazz pieces and contemporary pop music with full musical accompaniment.



Though the team didn’t encounter many struggles during the production, they were challenged a couple weeks prior to the event when Porsche signed on as a sponsor of the event and wanted to display their vehicles in high profile locations throughout the hotel. However, with just a few revisions to the event diagrams, the production team was able to transport the vehicles through the hotel’s mega-vators and into secure locations throughout the event.

All-in-all, the event appeared to conclude without a hitch and the MGM Resorts family also went home with multiple Four and Five Star ratings, creating a great end to an exciting and beautiful event!


Photos by Kelly Creative Las Vegas

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