FEAST Portland Boasts Bountiful Attendance

Night Market

FEAST Portland keeps attendees hungry for more every year. Launched in 2012 with 9,000 attendees, this year’s food festival drew over 12,500 guests. It is not only the fantastic eats that keeps foodies from near and far flocking to Portland for nationally known food festival. Feast Portland has been named among the Top 15 Food Festivals in North America, receiving recognition from affluent publications and industry professionals including the Wall Street Journal, Zagat, Food Republic, and many others. The cuisine, beer and wine pairings, celebrity appearances, and emphasis on local Oregon bounty are undoubtedly the event highlight.

“Guests are given an authentic food experience” says Festival Director, Emily Crowley, defining what sets FEAST apart from other food festivals. “Chefs at FEAST are8094517754_cfba498bbc_z still in the kitchen, serving food in their restaurants and cooking daily while maintaining their celebrity…FEAST attendees have the opportunity to talk with the owners and chefs themselves, not a marketing representative”. Over 30 wineries, 15 breweries, six distilleries, and 15 artisans participate in FEAST at iconic Portland locations including Zidell Yards, Pioneer Courthouse, and Director Park—also a distinguishing factor. These local quintessential locations help guests from around the nation engage in the Portland experience.

The food festival is almost equally known by event professionals for the immaculate organization and turnkey efficiency that has become evident in the seamless guest experience attendees and culinary participants enjoy. Only in its third year, FEAST Portland “Is done to such perfection you’d think… (FEAST) is in its 30th year” according to Fodor’s Travel North America’s Top 15 Food Festivals. The festival director shared her organization secrets with West Coast Event Productions, one of FEAST’s team members from inception, divulging that good old fashioned spreadsheets, highlighters, and in-person meetings are the key for communication and a smooth production.

FEAST Portland’s mission doesn’t end with sharing great food, the festival also helps support Partner’s for a Hunger Free Oregon and Share Our Strength. Mark your calendar and prepare your palette for next year, Feast will take place September 17 through 20, 2015.

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Photos courtesy of John Valls.

Synergistic Pairings: West Coast Event Productions & Moxie Events, Rustic & Elegant

 In the words of  Shelly Kane, founder of Moxie Events, the recent wedding Moxie produced with West Coast Event Productions was “Absolutely stunning”.

“Elizabeth’s (the bride) exact words to me were ‘Elegance, classy, rustic, but refined, super fun party, lots of lighting, did I mention a rockin’ fun party?’” said Kane, describing the vision. See how classic elegant, and charming rustic elements were combined below for a beautiful and symbiotic Moxie and WCEP design.

Elements of elegance:

  • Silver sequence table cloths and table runners lining every cocktail and guest table
  • Crystal chandeliers
  • Up-lighting on winery tower
  • Initials projected onto tower and side of tent
  • Candlelight everywhere
  • Guest book – guests signed three wine bottles to open one each year on their first three anniversary dates.

Touches of refined rustic:

  • Moss letters at the Bar
  • Beautiful rustic elegant floral arrangements
  • Table seating chart utilized wine boxes lined in moss with name cards attached to wine corks
  • Cross back chairs

“Super Fun Party”

  • Full bar
  • Top notch lounge furniture and dance floor
  • Hand passed sliders before a dazzling sparkler exit
  • Buses transported 90 percent of guests, allowing them to focus on having a great time, not transportation
Photos courtesy of Anne Nunn Photographers

Eugene-based wedding and event planning company, Moxie, makes dreams come true for mid to high-end weddings. Dedicated to every client, Moxie also dedicates time to teaching those interested in learning about the wedding and event planning industry through job-shadowing opportunities. The featured wedding is one of many affairs Moxie and West Coast Event Productions have created over the past three years of collaboration.

“I primarily used Eugene based rental companies prior, but in finding out about WCEP equipment rental options, customer experience, and design and execution services, I recommend WCEP to all my clients” said the Moxie Event founder.

Escape to a New Vineyard Venue at Saffron Fields

The Fall season is undoubtedly beautiful in wine country and a fantastic backdrop for a recent creative shoot showcasing Saffron Fields Vineyard. Owner of the new Saffron Fields Vineyard and tasting room was inspired by the nostalgia of grape leaves morphing into gorgeous golds and oranges in the fall, reminding him of Saffron fields, like a seas of marigold, in India.

The white pintuck linen, table settings, and chiavari chairs let the beautiful landscape of  Carlton/Yamhill speak for itself. Yellow accents in the florals and centerpieces conveyed the essence and inspiration for the vineyard’s name in this photo shoot debut.

West Coast Event Productions partnered with Powers Studios; Your Perfect Papery;  Bridal Bliss; The Trolley; Bella Bloom Florals; Custom Cakes; Visiting Media; Anna’s Bridal; Face Body, Beauty.

See more photos.

Bridgetown Bash! Benefits and Necessities of Hosting Annual Events in Same Location

The Vital Life Foundation held the nonprofit’s annual BridgeTown Bash event at Pure Space this summer, raising over $525,000. The foundation’s BridgeTown Bash event continues to grow in attendance and financial support, increasing guest count by over 100 and revenue by $125,000 since the inaugural BridgeTown Bash in 2012. Having held the event at Pure Space for three consecutive years and continuously improving attendance and fundraising, the bash is a combative example of how choosing a consistent host site can be an advantage—not a stagnant event “no no”.

“We combat monotony by changing up the offerings each year. Even though we’ve been at Pure Space each year and kept the Portland-style theme, we change it up with activities, entertainment, décor, food and drink. We prefer to stay at the same venue as long as we can continue to be creative in our offerings. By staying at the same venue and keeping the same date, we have built  a brand and our guests have some knowledge of what to expect” said Vital Life Foundation Marketing Coordinator, Kelsey Whittaker. This year’s new additions included shot ski; Portland Timber’s girls distributing Moonstruck boozy truffles, vodka-soaked gummy bears, and nuts; “Hangover Cure” station with an oxygen bar and more.

Hosting an annual event in the same venue over the years can have many benefits. Relationships become organically developed; venue managers, vendors, and event planners learn how to work together seamlessly, allowing more focus on creativity and bringing in new elements versus determining logistics, dimensions, and all other time consuming considerations necessary to account for in a new space. Many venues and vendors are also inclined to offer discounts, donations, and other perks to longstanding clients that accumulate over the years. Guest experience can also benefit.

“I absolutely feel that our longstanding relationship with West Coast Event Productions and Pure Space has aided in the success of the Bridgetown Bash…Our guests know where to go, where to park, and that they’ll have the chance to be indoors and outdoors. They also know that they will be surprised with new things each year. West Coast Event Productions helps us bring those “new things” to life by transforming the space each year so it does feel different, fresh, and exciting for guests that come year after year” said Whittaker.

West Coast Event Productions and Vital Life supporters are already looking forward to next year’s Bridgetown Bash. Learn more about Vital Life Foundation, their mission to “provide meaning and vitality in the lives of seniors and staff members living and working in long term care”, and other upcoming events.

Photo Credit: John Kresl

TechFestNW

“If MusicfestNW is the cool-ish, gray-haired skateboarder who has seen it all, TechFestNW is its Warby Parker-rocking little cousin who wants to be a new kind of disruptor” said Joseph Gallivan, journalist for Portland Tribune, describing the two day tech festival. Held primarily at OMSI, Tech Fest NW wrapped up their third annual event at Pure Space.

“#SiliconForest” is how NIKE Creative, David Rae, described the theme of the TFNW Official After Party to West Coast Event Productions.

“NIKE Consumer Digital Tech proudly partnered with TFNW to make Pure Space look like the best of the Northwest—trees, foliage, mountains, (and) all things Portland” said Rae. Many tech companies involved in TechFestNW leveraged the Pure Space party as a recruiting opportunity; the goal of the Northwest theme being to show potential employees that Portland is not only growing as a distinguished hub for tech companies, but is a great place to build a life.

West Coast Event Productions conveyed the Northwest theme by constructing fir tree vignettes around the venue in varying heights, along with faux rock formations as realistic bases. A 16’X30’ hand painted backdrop of a Northwest mountain mirrored a projection screen on the opposite side of the venue displaying real moving footage taken from local forests—giving guests an authentic Northwest experience.

Eight cabana lounges lined the floor to ceiling window walls on the main floors, giving TechFestNW sponsors including: Willamette Week, Yahoo!, Real Big Video, Postano, Act-On, Globe Sherpa, Elemental Technologies and Wieden + Kennedy their own real estate. Premiere event sponsor, NIKE Consumer Digital Tech, sat perched on Pure Space’s mezzanine with a branded “CODE IS KING” experience. The NIKE VIP mezzanine was highlighted with agam bars lit green and Northwest foliage centerpieces adorning tables lining the perimeter for guests to overlook the main stage.

“The design created the perfect flow for the event considering there were 800 plus guests, and all the custom Northwest elements pulled together a really cohesive look that achieved the goal of the theme. Guests were thoroughly impressed” said Rae.

“The event (TechFestNW) continues to grow each year with new innovative speakers and networking opportunities. We’re looking forward to next 2015”.

 

New Pure Space and Flex Space Venue Capacities

The newly determined Pure Space and Flex Space venue capacities have recently upped the ante for guest lists! With renovations made to enhance West Coast Event Production’s venues and properly accommodate a spectrum of attendance sizes, the venues now accommodate the following capacities:

  • Flex Space: 500
  • Pure Space: 1,550
  • Pure Space and Flex Space combined: 2,000

With limited venue options for events of this scale in Portland, Pure Space and Flex Space’s capability to host over 2,000 attendees invites opportunity to not only allow current clients to expand their guest lists and grow, but welcome larger events, and tap into the out of state convention market to the benefit of the local event industry, and Portland economy.

“Pure Space and Flex Space have always been valued for their versatility and ability to adapt to any layout and aesthetic vision–now the venues are more versatile as canvases for events for 100 to 2,000  people” remarked WCEP President, Duane Smith.

Get exclusive venue access to both Pure Space and Flex Space combined to welcome up to 2,000 of your friends, family, colleagues, supporters, and everyone to your event.

West Coast Event Productions Fuels Oregon’s White Hot Wedding Scene

A cause for celebration, WCEP recently received recognition for design, production, and custom fabrication builds in “Inside Weddings” magazine, featuring a wedding by renowned celebrity Wedding Planner, Mindy Weiss, titled “White Night” (P 90). Enlisted by Weiss, West Coast Event Productions executed the design and full installation in-house. West Coast Event Production’s design and fabrication team elevated the “White Night” wedding to an exquisite, romantic, and elegant level of production that West Coast Event Productions has been known for over the past 34 years.

For many Portlander’s, “locally grown” is a valued motto, and one that is becoming more pervasive in Portland’s wedding scene, to the benefit of the local economy. The recent recognition West Coast Event Productions received in “Inside Weddings” demonstrates Portland’s ability to execute the same sophisticated and elegant weddings L.A., New York, and other wedding destination cities are known for, without crossing state lines. Pick up an issue of “Inside Weddings” for more remarkable photos and see how West Coast Event Productions is raising the standard on Portland weddings.

 

British Invasion Custom Theme

The PCC Foundation got groovey with a British Invasion: A Mod Gala themed event, featuring a custom “Beatles” stage backdrop created by West Coast Event Productions, an iconic London telephone booth, rotating circular stage, and British flag prints that permeated the room, including on Agam lit bars, at the Portland Marriott ballroom. The Beatles were right, in that you “Can’t Buy Me Love”, though the gala did raise $300,000 to fund life altering opportunities for students at Portland Community College.

See more images from the event

Before Saying “We DO” to a Venue…

Many wedding professionals and couples beginning their wedding planning excursion agree that selecting a venue is the most important and influential part of planning a wedding. Scheduling wedding venue tours, learning the policies in each space, remembering pricing can be taxing—particularly because “No venue does it wrong, they simply all do it different” said Debbie Martin, general manager of The Foundry at Oswego Pointe and former wedding planner, referring to the diversity among venues pricing structure and policies. Here are some tips and considerations Debbie Martin at The Foundry and West Coast recommend keeping on the forefront in search of a venue:

Questions and Considerations between couples:

  • Indoor or outdoor?
  • What time of year?
  • Same venue for the ceremony and reception, or move locations?
  • Does the venue staff make you feel confident in their ability to deliver?
  • Do you feel comfortable in the venue? Could it feel like an extension of your home?

Questions and Considerations for the venue:

  • What is included in the fee?
  • Are there “add-on” options? If so, what are they, and what are the costs?

“Some venues can sound like a bargain, though if nothing is included, you aren’t able to compare prices accurately with other venues that do come with inclusions” says Debbie Martin.

  • How long is the venue rental period?
  • Is the contact person you will be coordinating with throughout the duration of wedding planning the same person that will be at the venue on the day of? If not, can this be arranged?

There is much research that goes into selecting a venue. Often, word of mouth and referrals can be an invaluable resource. Take the time to prepare a list of questions before taking a tour, and add to the list as you tour each venue, as new inquiries arise. Ask if the venue has a comprehensive venue information packet, like the Details and Specifications packet at Flex Space. When it comes to selecting a venue “knowledge is power”.

WCEP helped The Foundry at Lake Oswego Pointe celebrate their grand opening.

Two Heads May Not be Better Than One for Event Planning

“Two heads are better than one”? True. “Ten heads are better than two?” False. While various insights and opinions are needed to ensure that all perspectives are considered for successful guest experience, event branding, and other event elements, when each decision is mulled over and pondered by too many people, the planning process can become very inefficient, and with more opinions in the mix, it is more likely that a consensus will not be met. Not only does this make for a lengthy decision making process even for trivial details, and risk diluting the event brand, it invites conflict between those involved with planning the event.

Determining what each planner’s strengths are, how those strengths are applicable to event planning, and empowering them to be decision makers in areas relevant to their skills and experience alleviates prolonged debates and keeps event planning momentum flowing. Have clear assignments as to who will be the decision maker for each portion of the event, and communicate this with the event planner and all vendors involved. This way, vendors know who their point of contact is regarding a particular question, rather than disturbing everyone on the phone-tree.