Engagement Shoot at the L.A. County Fair

It’s wedding planning season!

Couples everywhere are looking for venues, cakes, bands and bridal gowns. We have plenty of tips we can’t wait to dish out, but before we get into a wedding frenzy we want to give a shout-out to one lovely couple who chose the 2012 L.A. County Fair* as their engagement photo shoot site.

From Chelsea Nicole Photography comes the happy couple: Jean & Liz.

chelseanicole lizjean 02600x1 Engagement Shoot at the L.A. County Fair Chelsea Nicole Photography
chelseanicole lizjean 13x6001 Engagement Shoot at the L.A. County Fair

Chelsea Nicole Photography



chelseanicole lizjean 17x600 Engagement Shoot at the L.A. County Fair

Chelsea Nicole Photography

Despite the heat this summer brought, it’s not hard to imagine these two lovebirds getting lost in a whirlwind of carnival rides, games, Ferris wheel views and maybe just a taste of the deep-fried food…

Up next? Their wedding of course! Jean & Liz will be married this spring. Congratulations! What a great way to kick off the wedding season.

*While we are more than happy to have couples celebrate together at the Fair, we don’t allow tri-pods on grounds without express permission from Fairplex.

Ride a horse, book a vacation, enjoy the weekend…

It’s going to be a busy week at Fairplex!

Even as I blog, the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) Naturalization Ceremony is happening on our grounds and it is looking quite busy.

The real crazy happens this weekend though, with a horse expo and AAA travel plans swirling on grounds. Here is what’s going down:

3102 1horse expo 150x132 Ride a horse, book a vacation, enjoy the weekend... Horse Expo Pomona (Jan 31-Feb 2)
As someone who has grown up with horse fanatics (my aunt brought her horse to my suburb for my 1st birthday…) I can tell you Horse Expo Pomona is perfect for small children, adults and grandparents alike. Check out: some of the world’s most talented performers and educators in the industry, games, contests, cookie making and horse painting at Young Rider Park and shopping sprees galore.

3215 13215 1AAA 150x132 Ride a horse, book a vacation, enjoy the weekend... AAA Travel Show (Feb 2)
It may be rainy, windy and cold right now but the summer sun will be here before you know it. The AAA Travel Show gives guests a first-hand look at the newest cruises and tours for 2013. Triple A agents will also be available to answer questions or to help begin the planning process.
Whether you have the travel bug or have half a mind to delve into the equestrian world, swing by and say hello!

Event Industry News: Super Bowl Sunday, SAG awards, Twitter videos get racy

Super Bowl XLVII Event Industry News: Super Bowl Sunday, SAG awards, Twitter videos get racy


This week the event industry is popping on both sides of the U.S. Between Super Bowl Sunday weekend and awards season in La La Land there will be plenty of parties, after parties and ceremonies to keep the event industry pros going at full speed.

Super Bowl Sunday: It’s game day for more than just the Ravens and the 49ers as New Orleans plays host to several events. Big brands are preparing big parties for the weekend including DirecTV, Maxim, GQ, Budlight and an assortment of liquor brands. Themes include Mardi Gras, going Greek (gods and godesses… not frats) and festivities in all manner of manors and mansions.

And in 2014: New York is going all-out for the Super Bowl next year (hosted at MetLife Stadium) complete with Super Bowl Boulevard spanning Broadway for 10 blocks.

Inside L.A.: On the west side of the nation Hollywood is in the thick of their biggest event season of the year. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards happened this weekend followed by a jovial after party with all the fixins: Dance floor, private alcoves, smoking tent, food buffet and celebrities and press for days. It’s not slowing down in L.A. anytime soon; the Grammys and the Oscars are right around the corner.

Social Media/Technology: Last week Twitter bought an app called “Vine” which allows users to post 6-second videos in a tweet. Fun, simple, easy-to-use. It’s essentially Instagram on crack. Of course, the problem lies in that all tweeters can use the app. And publish all things inappropriate… in video form… in a matter of seconds.

Check back here every Monday for more on event industry news.

Throwback Thursday

Whether you like it or not, Throwback Thursday is officially a thing. Every week Facebook, Twitter and particularly Instagram take the “tbt” hashtag by storm. We thought we would do a little throwback of our own back to the 1930s at the L.A. County Fair.

As you can see, things were slightly smaller in scale. You can see a crowd forming near the “barn” area at the bottom of the photo and our two Ferris wheels in the back. Check it out:

carnival 1930s 3 Throwback Thursday

Infographic: The Importance of Face to Face Meetings

You can have all the virtual conference technology in the world but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. The trick is to integrate technology (especially the smartphone variety) with your events.

To complement our earlier blog post about helpful event apps, here’s an infographic released by Bizzabo illustrating how people interact on social media platforms and how that benefits the event industry (rather than taking away from it.)

Bizzabo Infographic Infographic: The Importance of Face to Face Meetings


Event Industry News: Presidential Inauguration, new Los Angeles venues, influenza outbreak

2013 0121 obama inauguration m Event Industry News: Presidential Inauguration, new Los Angeles venues, influenza outbreak


Inaugural-ities: The Presidential Inauguration went off with nary a hitch on Monday. The U.S. Capitol welcomed the jaw-dropping talents of Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson to sing the National Anthem and My Country Tis’ of Thee respectively and President Obama gave his inaugural speech, fast becoming known as “his most progressive speech he has ever made” (Time Magazine). As for the inaugural ball, there was glitz, glamor and dancing all night long.

LA Venues 2013 BizBash highlighted 10 new venues opening in Los Angeles this winter. New opportunities arise with the grand opening of conference centers and event spaces in the LA and OC areas while several restaurants have created rooms designed specifically for meetings and gatherings large or small.

Technology: Facebook Graph Search continues to generate buzz. Event planners and businesses should start to think strategies on how to use the new search feature to publicize their pages. Looks like SEO will reach a whole new level.

Flu blues: Unless you live under a rock (in which case you probably wouldn’t need to know this, actually) the flu has reached epidemic proportions in 47 of the 50 states in the US and is just now starting to hit California. Entrepreneur.com created an infographic showing the impact the flu has in the workplace and ways to avoid getting sick yourself.

Special shout-out to Alltop: Fairplex Insider wanted to give a special shout-out to Alltop and a quick thanks for adding us to their event planning page! You can check it out here.

5 Helpful Apps for Event Planners

We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: Mobile apps are an essential part of event planning.

We did a feature on one such app, Bizzabo and the benefits of incorporating tech into events. 2013 is looking to be the most smartphone-driven year yet.

Between guest registration, networking tools, laying out event agendas and good old-fashioned brainstorming sessions, smartphones will be there with you to the end. We’ve compiled a list of apps that will (hopefully) make event planning/execution a little easier.

evernote 1024x576 5 Helpful Apps for Event Planners

from LifeHacker

1. Evernote: The beginning stages of brainstorming for an event can be organized both visually and through writing with Evernote. This handy app (also used on a desktop) gathers the best of your design concepts, agendas, guest lists, contact info and anything else you need and keeps them in one place. Think of it as a virtual notebook (with room to save photos/video/links) and an endless supply of virtual sticky notes.

cloud diagram 5 Helpful Apps for Event Planners


2. AllSeated: Originally introduced at a BizBash Ideafest in Fall 2012 (and met with positive feedback), this handy little app is the answer to many event planning problems. Two words: cohesive communication. With AllSeated, event planners, vendors, venues and event hosts can look at seating charts, floor arrangements, guest lists and other event elements in one place. Everyone is constantly on the same page.

dashboard phone overlay 5 Helpful Apps for Event Planners


3. Bloodhound: All planning aside, the real challenge is the execution of an event. Anything can happen, for better or for worse. Bloodhound takes some of the stress away as the self-proclaimed “complete mobile solution for events.” This puppy does everything, from being a virtual business card/badge holder, event guide and networking tool. Event planners can upload and change event times/locations and make announcements as needed. On top of that, Twitter feeds and event analytics are also available to event planners. Did we mention no Wi-Fi is needed?

4. Eventbrite: With Eventbrite, guests can RSVP, purchase tickets and check-in to events. As an event planner, you have the ability to manage the guest list and keep track of who has arrived, all from the comfort of your phone.

push information slider 300x221 5 Helpful Apps for Event Planners


5. Customized apps: Event planning apps are just the tip of the techberg. One way to really stand out AND serve your guests is to develop an app of your own. This gives event guests leeway to network and arrange their own meet-ups with other guests, providing a one-of-a-kind experience. Not to toot our own horn here, but the L.A. County Fair app is a prime example of how a customized app suits some events perfectly icon smile 5 Helpful Apps for Event Planners



Event Industry News: The Golden Globes, the parties that followed, Facebook reveals new element, CES recap

Event Season: Sunday marked the official start of the event season in Los Angeles with the Golden Globes. Tina Fey and Amy Pohler made for brilliant hosts, Jodie Foster’s speech is fast becoming infamous and Argo took a lot of awards. So did Les Miserables.  Next up are the Grammys and the Oscars.

P.S.: In case you were interested, BizBash covered the best of the best in after parties.

CES: Despite news reports predicting (and reporting) the conference to be unexciting and irrelevant to technology and the general public, crowds of over 150,000 showed up to take in over 20,000 new gadgets and wander for hours in the 1.92 million square feet of the Consumer Electronics Show, held in Vegas. Top trends included smart cars, on-the-go mobile charging devices, an overdose of television screens, a variety of transportation devices including motorized skateboards and unicycles and home alarm systems (activated via smartphone) that monitor everything from doors opening to the medicine you take.

Bringing it back to Fairplex: The Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center celebrated its first anniversary this past week. As the company continues to grow as a regional leader in the hospitality industry it was a great feeling to look back and see what an asset the conference center and hotel have been to us.

Social Media: Today Facebook revealed their next big installation to the site: Graph Search. More info here.

Heads up: Make-a-thons have arrived:  Innovative minds come together at an event to build and design items for a purpose. In other words, they use their talents to benefit the social good. Julius Solaris wrote a fantastic blog post on some of the newest in event concept design.

Mixology: Beyond “shaken, not stirred”

DrinkCompetition Mixology: Beyond shaken, not stirred


You will always have your rum & coke regulars and cosmopolitan queens but many are  looking forward to the unique concoctions mixologists bring.

The art of mixology has received considerable attention over the past few years and it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Classic cocktails are making a comeback and mixing drinks is considered by some to be a craft worth admiring. After all, experimentation with taste, appearance and the various elements of the earth can make or break a cocktail.

It might sound slightly pretentious but I prefer to think of it as a new way to enjoy food and drink. Regardless of your thoughts on the matter, Sunset Magazine said it best: “It’s a world of new spirits, of ever wilder ingredients… In an era of fast food, craft cocktail bars are places where drinks take time and the end result is about quality.”

Here is what you can expect to find in the bars this year:

cuke 300x200 Mixology: Beyond shaken, not stirred


  • Food in your drink: No, that piece of bacon didn’t fall into your glass on accident. That slice of kiwi and orchid petals are supposed to be in there. It’s not just mojitos and Bloody Mary’s who get vegetables thrown in. Food adds a little flavor and extracts that extra kick your beverage wouldn’t bring otherwise.

If you are particularly inclined to listen to the experts, just listen to what Aidan Demarest, beverage director of the Hotel Roosevelt’s Spare Room has to say on the matter. Demarest’s own contribution to the culinary cocktail craze is his signature Figgy Smalls, a mixture of of fig jam, egg white, lemon, bitters, thyme essence and Bulleit bourbon with a bacon wash.

  • Summon the trees, gather the locals: Barks, leaves and all other forms of nature are finding their way into cocktails. Many mixologists are collecting the freshest berries, greens and other ingredients from local farms. Additionally, locally produced spirits and beer are becoming quite the norm (more on that in another post.)
  • Flavored vodka: This trend has received mixed reviews but it is a popular trend and it is here and it’s not going away any time soon. So for all who have endured shots of bubble-gum vodka (guilty) or have taken up issue with s’more flavored Smirnoff, I apologize.
  • A bar within a bar (within a bar): Some people just couldn’t be bothered about the newest in cocktail confections. They would prefer to have their standard Coronas and maybe a kamikaze shot if the mood strikes. And that is perfectly fine. But for those who are interested in the more intricate fixings, it has become increasingly common for bars to have smaller stations inside the venue that focus primarily on craft brews and specialty drinks.
  • Gatsby: Classic novel The Great Gatsby is coming to theaters this summer. The leonardo dicaprio the great gatsby 202x300 Mixology: Beyond shaken, not stirred long anticipated film is the instigator for any number of theme parties. I suspect several bars, clubs and restaurants will take advantage of this blockbuster as people pick up interest in this era’s favorite drinks.
  • The Speakeasy: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say my friends are responsible for this trend, having dubbed their bachelor pad “The Speakeasy” back in 2010 and they lived up to the name handsomely. More likely, however is that the number of prohibition-era inspired joints have spurred from a serious case of the 1920s throwback.
  • Ready-to-drink: The problem with a well-made, carefully crafted cocktail is the time spent making it. Most people, particularly in the bar scene don’t want to wait 20 minutes for their drink. At the same time, cracking open a bottle of a pre-made cocktail just doesn’t seem appealing. Luckily ready-made cocktails that retain flavor and quality are becoming more and more common. Bottoms up.

At the end of the day, only time will tell with what defines the mixology and cocktail trends. Culinary cocktails, local resources, flavor-infused vodka… I wonder what 2014 will bring.

Happy Birthday to the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center!

CalSpas zps6dcf1d34 Happy Birthday to the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center!

Today marks the Sheraton Conference Center’s first birthday! The first event held here was a year ago today. Currently we are hosting CalSpas and we are more than happy to have them here!

Open first for B2B (business-to-business) between CalSpas and their corporate partners and later this weekend for B2C (business-to-consumer) the conference center will host CalSpas event, featuring the finest in spas, grills, fireplaces, fire pits, gazebos and other patio accessories.
CalSpas 025 Happy Birthday to the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center!