Not even a record-setting snowstorm could stop local stars and spies from attending the International Live Events Association’s 2018 Minnesota Star Awards. With a theme of “An Undercover Affair: A Mystery Cloaked in Intrigue,” attendees walked into the new Mystic Lake Center draped in James Bondesque attire, ready for a night of surprises.
“We had 274 [people] registered, which is one of the highest, and even with the historic April 14 snowstorm, we still had 166 attend,” says Lisa Marie Borchert, CSEP, director of the 2018 Minnesota Star Awards. “Given the weather conditions, Premier Transportation offered a discounted rate for their driver services, and Mystic Lake offered us a group hotel room rate in their new Promenade Hotel Tower so it was easier for people to know that once they got there, they could stay over. There were several things originally planned that didn’t happen due to the weather, but most of the audience never knew what they were missing as it still felt like a complete show to them.”
Pre- and post-ceremony rooms were decorated as world locations including London Heathrow Airport, Moscow and Tokyo, with cozy seating, ambient lighting and vintage décor. Attendees enjoyed ethnic fare including fish and chips, sweet and savory blintzes, chicken Kiev lollipops and steamed dumplings, and also grabbed glowing cotton candy from a moving scale model bullet train.
With the awards ceremony as the focus of the night, guests entered the Spy Lounge where Truth Serum cocktails from Norseman Distillery were placed in front of them. Spythemed music highlighted presenters as they walked on stage and the “Mission Impossible” score’s iconic riff was played as winners accepted their awards. Silent disco earmuffs were used in the after-party and a live DJ spun tunes atop a neon Shinto shrine in the Tokyoinspired setup.
Despite unforeseen setbacks, the show went on, and the winners were given credit where it was due. “I’ve always felt that if we as event professionals do our jobs well, attendees will never know how hard it actually is to throw a great ‘party,’ because we are always a few steps ahead, anticipating their next move. This means at times we feel like Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, fighting off something at every turn, making a quick change before we return to the gaming table, and looking as if it was all part of the original plan,” says Borchert.
The 2019 Minnesota Star Awards will be held on March 15, 2019 at Quincy Hall.