“Hospitality is in my DNA,” says Darren Ennis, owner of Sheba Productions. The event planner is an Iowa native whose youth as a restaurant rat in his father’s Sioux Falls, South Dakota eateries sparked his interest in creating memorable celebrations for others.

Over almost 20 years in the business, Ennis has lent sophistication, class, and style to the Magic 8 Ball, the US Bank Skyway Open, the New Year’s Eve Crystal Ball, and a fete for Arianna Huffington at Dan Buettner’s home on the Lake of the Isles, among other events.

When Ennis first meets with a client, he delves into the clients’ expectations, ideal demographic and attendance numbers. “It’s a multi-pronged approach,” he says. “I’m all about having a party just to have a party, but many times clients are there to accomplish particular objectives.”

Ennis’ favorite part of event planning is the collaboration. He often seeks out the same team of décor, audio-visual, and rental specialists to manifest his clients’ visions. “We’re able to get creative and think big picture and outside of the box, but on the other side of it, what I perversely love are all of the details,” he says.

Ennis shares a love of details with his new wife and longtime business partner Sheba Fideler, who works as a brand strategist and graphic designer under the Sheba Concept & Design umbrella (Fideler started and runs the graphic design portion of the company). The couple also co-owns The Sample Room, a small-plate restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis.

While Ennis primarily handles the event planning, he will pull in Fideler as a vendor or bounce ideas off her when needed.

When it comes to event time, the soirees unfold successfully one way or another. As Ennis says, “There’s so much time and effort that go into developing a concept and when you finally execute it, you’re so exhausted, but when you step back and feel that all the parts have come together and you’re feeling that vibe and the collaboration, that’s the high for me.”

Explore Minnesota Tourism is accepting nominations for the agency’s tourism awards through Jan. 10, 2023. The awards honor people, marketing campaigns, and other initiatives that promote Minnesota as a destination.

To be considered for an award, a form must be submitted for each nomination. Explore Minnesota Tourism requests specific details about each nomination, i.e., goals, results, return on investment figures, accomplishments, etc. Supporting documents and creative elements help the Explore Minnesota Awards Committee score each submission.


The Roger Toussaint Award is the highest honor from the Minnesota Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus.


Minnesota offers vibrant autumn color and provides a kaleidoscopic backdrop for your event.

New England often gets the most credit for its spectacular fall color, but many rank Minnesota in the top tier for seasonal beauty, making fall an ideal time for meetings anywhere in the state. From the North Shore of Lake Superior to the Twin Cities and Rochester, there are a variety of venues with ideal seasonal settings that can cater to groups of all sizes.