Just eight months ago Catersource Conference & Tradeshow (conference.catersource.com) took over Mandalay Bay on the Las Vegas strip for product innovations, education, and networking. And then COVID-19 hit. Las Vegas became a bit of a ghost town as casinos emptied, theaters shuttered their doors, and Sin City’s many entertainers found themselves sitting at home with nothing to do.
An aerialist performs during the #MaskUp4NV fashion show. Photo courtesy Denise Truscello
Earlier this summer, Los Angeles-based Entertainment Plus Productions, and Las Vegas’ Experience Strategy Associates teamed up to deliver a series of pop-up events around Nevada, including a parade to local hospitals celebrating frontline workers, a fashion show at the Las Vegas sign encouraging everyone to #MaskUp4NV, and culminated this fall with the launch of the new COVID Trace app (nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/covidtrace) which made stops at the Las Vegas sign, Allegiant Stadium, T-Mobile Arena, Caesar’s Palace, and other sites throughout Las Vegas. The parade also made stops in Reno and Carson City.
Performers carried signs promoting the COVID Trace app throughout the events. Photo courtesy Gabe Ginsberg
“Everyone is tired of hearing that messaging come from governmental and public agencies,” said Greg Chase, CEO & Founder of Experience Strategy Associates. “What we were able to do was use a population of passionate people to share that message in a different way. When they come to the stage with that message, it makes me think twice about what I’m doing, so it’s more important than ever that we are doing these things, because we know this type of messaging works and it is highly effective.
“It was a completely safe event for a vital cause that not only helps people physically be safe, but in turn hopefully gets the performing community back to work.”
Many of Las Vegas’ most popular performers made appearances including Las Vegas Showgirls, Chippendales, and the mascots.
Various Las Vegas performers and impersonators participated in the #MaskUp4NV fashion show. Photo courtesy Denise Truscello
“We are trying to pay tribute to our spectacular city where there are amazing things available if we can just get back to it,” said Doug Johnson, President & Executive Producer of Entertainment Plus Productions.
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.
Living what they preach
Given that these events were reinforcing safety protocols for keeping people healthy, performers and organizers alike took great care in safety precautions while performing, including employing health checklists, applying hand sanitizer, taking temperature checks, enforcing social distancing and, of course, wearing a mask.
“They were five-minute stops, we would blow in and blow out, because we didn’t want to get a crowd going,” Johnson said.
Las Vegas Showgirls made an appearance in Carson City as part of the COVID reminder events. Photo courtesy Entertainment Plus Productions
Chase agreed. “When you go out in the public with that message, you have to make sure that you are living and breathing the expectations you want others to follow,” he said.
Getting back to business
By driving the message home of wearing a mask, in addition to the other safety precautions, guests and attendees can help get event professionals and entertainers back to work that much faster.
The pop-up event in Reno, NV featured the Chippendales, Las Vegas Showgirls, various mascots, and impersonators. Photo courtesy Entertainment Plus Productions
“It’s not political, wearing a mask is not a political statement,” Johnson said. “We want to perform for you, we are ready to perform for you, so help us out by wearing a mask and let’s keep COVID down. Help all our brothers and sisters around the country get back to work and save some lives.”