Event Industry News: Eventstagram, CicLAvia, Stagecoach and the Lemon Festival

…And we’re live:
Eventstagram, a live Instagram feed for events (think Tweetdeck for Instagram) has officially been adopted into the Wayra family. What does this mean for the rest of the event world? It means that Evenstagram (less than a year old) could soon be the answer to engaging event guests and aggregating live visual content, not to mention a practical and visually pleasing piece of decor for your venue. It’s a slideshow of your event, during your event, created by guests, curated by you. Worth trying out or at the very least, keeping an eye on.

I want to ride my bicycle: Last Sunday marked the 6th successful CicLAvia event. The Los Angeles take on a Colombian tradition opened a car-free 15-mile stretch from downtown to Venice Beach, allowing cyclists of all ages to enjoy a sunny Sunday ride from city to the sea. As Los Angeles continues to fight traffic and pollution (no easy feat; we are America’s most congested city), it will be interesting to see how much traction events like CicLAvia will gain. Currently only three days out of the year are scheduled for such events in the city–there are only so many days a car-dependent culture can take of massive street closures. CicLAvia has been met with high success. The average number of participants is 100,000.

Stagecoach: Southern California went a little country this weekend at the annual Stagecoach Country Music Festival. As soon as Coachella hipsters cleared the scene, a wave of cowboy hats and boots, Daisy Duke shorts, beer and guitars came roaring into the desert (credit mickens at dress head tech). Country music lovers enjoyed the sounds of Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Norah Jones and Trace Adkins among others all weekend long.

G’bye Gibson: The curtain falls on the Gibson Amphitheater to make way for Universal Studios Hollywood’s newest project: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Upland Lemon Festival: The Upland Lemon Festival hosted large crowds this weekend as the city celebrated with carnival rides and games, lemonade, food trucks, live entertainment and pie eating contests. You can check out photos of the event on the Facebook page.

L.A. Weekender: Upland Lemon Festival, foodie heaven and artist paradise

The theme for this week’s L.A. Weekender is: free. Spend more time than money on this weekend’s itinerary. Whether you’re hanging out in the Inland Empire or enjoying a day on the Westside, there is plenty to do:

1. Upland Lemon Festival: Carnival rides and games, live entertainment (is that Queen Nation and DSB I hear?) and all things lemon are happening in Upland this weekend. Grab your family and friends and enjoy a warm afternoon strolling through Crafter’s Village, hopping on a carnival ride or two and enjoying a slice of lemon pie. P.S. It’s free!

2. Brewery Artwalk: The world’s largest art complex is only open to the public twice a year and this weekend marks the first of 2013. Check out the works of more than 100 artists and purchase a few paintings if the mood strikes.  Admission and parking are free.

3. Bite Flite: Our friends at L.A. Foodie are hosting quite the event on Saturday. Bite Flite, happening at Culver City’s Bar & Garden, invites guests to an evening of beer samples paired with a number of delectable hamburgers and desserts. Foodie heaven. Each guests receives a tote bag full of goodies too. While this event comes with a price, it’s only $15. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday evening!

4. Mom and Pop Up Shop: For nearly a decade, Etsy has been a virtual alternative to craft fairs, offering an online storefront for designers, thrifters and crafters. The site transforms from virtual to tangible at this weekend’s Mom and Pop Up Shop. A one-day-only collaboration with permanent San Pedro marketplace Crafted, the pop-up shop boasts more than 50 artisan vendors inside the Port of Los Angeles’ World War II–era warehouses. (Need we mention that admission is free?)

We hope you enjoy your weekend! Check back here on Monday for photos from the Upland Lemon Festival!

Lemons. All day, every day

The Upland Lemon Festival is right around the corner (this weekend!) That means our heads are filled with agendas for pie eating contests and Lemon Idol, and our office is abuzz with all things yellow, tart and tangy.

On that note, inspiration struck in the form of food: breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. If you’re inclined to make a day of it, we have a full menu of lemon-y ideas for you to try. Or if you’re like me, just pick a couple recipes on for size.

lemonwater 150x150 Lemons. All day, every day  Good Morning! Start the day with a cold glass of lemon water. It stimulates the digestive system, revs up your metabolism and gives you a quick cleanse from any toxins built up overnight. The easiest way to prep this beverage is to fill a container with water, throw lemon slices in and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. (I use a gallon-sized container with one sliced lemon to use for the whole week.)

It’s recommended that this ritual only be repeated a few times a week, as too much lemon water can make teeth sensitive. (Photo taken from Eat Yourself Skinny.)

Breakfast: Lemon ricotta pancakes are first in line. Try Bobby Flay’s recipe: easy and quick to make, with delicious results. Just mix all the ingredients together, sprinkle on some powdered sugar and raspberries, take a pic for Instagram and dig in.

lemonricottapancakes Lemons. All day, every day

Cupcakes and Cashmere

Sticking with the berry theme, Jenny’s Picky Palate Creamy Lemon Blueberry Crepes are equally tasty.

Picky Palate’s Creamy Lemon Blueberry Crepes

Full list of ingredients here.

Creamy Lemon Blueberry Crepes 1 text22 466x700 199x300 Lemons. All day, every day

Photo and recipe from PickyPalate.com

1. Place flour, sugar, milk, egg and vanilla into a blender, blending until well combined, about 20 seconds. Pour crepe batter into a large measuring cup and set aside.

2. Place blueberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice into a medium bowl, mixing to combine. Transfer to a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, until bubbly. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Place lemon curd and cream cheese into a small bowl, mixing until smooth and combined.

4. Heat a crepe pan or 12 inch non stick over medium heat. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of crepe batter into pan swirling all the way around to get a nice circular crepe. Cook for about 1 minute on the first side or until turning golden then flip and cook for another 30 seconds-1 minute. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Continue cooking crepes until all the batter is gone. Makes about 10 crepes.

5. Fill each crepe with a thin layer of lemon curd cream and a spoon of blueberries. Roll crepes and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Now eat!

Makes about 10 crepes

Lunch/Dinner: For an easy fix (and about an hour of your time), opt for Trampling Rose’s lemon chicken:

lemonchicken Lemons. All day, every day

Trampling Rose photo


  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice, (1/3 C)
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • ⅓ C water
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Toss the chicken with the soy sauce in a medium mixing bowl and marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. For the sauce, whisk together the lemon zest and juice with the sugar, water and 2 tsp. cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly until thickened (about 4 minutes), then keep warm.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Whisk together the egg, cornstarch, salt and pepper in a small bowl to make a batter. Toss the chicken in the batter and fry for three to four minutes on each side until golden and cooked through.
  4. Plate the chicken and spoon the sauce over top. Serve with rice if desired.
    *Recipe from Trampling Rose

Serve with a side of brown rice and a brightly colored garden salad and you have yourself a lemon-y healthy meal. Too boring? Mix the protein in with the carbs with a delicious serving of lemon chicken pasta.

Happy Hour: After all that cooking, relax a bit with a refreshing cocktail. It’s springtime after all. (Granted, there aren’t any actual lemons in the mix… you remedy that with an elegant spiral sliced lemon for garnish icon smile Lemons. All day, every day  )

906195cd0e8504c88a2d53e1c2881af6 Lemons. All day, every day  French Frozen Lemonade

  • 1/2 cup Alizé Red Passion Passion liqueur
  • 1/2 cup citrus vodka
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 4 cups of ice
  1. Add ice, Alizé Red Passion liqueur, citrus vodka, water and  frozen lemonade concentrate to a blender.
  2. Blend until slushy and pour into a Champagne flute.

Dessert: One of my personal favorite desserts, lemon bars are perfect for a mid-day snack or a post-dinner treat.

lemonbars Lemons. All day, every day

smitten kitchen

While making the dessert can be slightly high-maintenance if you’re pressed for time (in which case we recommend booking it to the closest Ralph’s and getting the easy-bake kind), the delightful contrast between the sweet cookie crust and the tart lemon mixture is well worth the effort.

If you aren’t too lemon-ed out after this post, join us for the Lemon Festival this weekend, where you can drink fresh lemonade, sample a few baked goods and enjoy the rest of the fun we have going on to celebrate the citrus roots of Upland.

Event Industry News: Heightened event security measures take shape after Boston bombings

Boston Marathon bombing first bomb site 54 minute before explosion Event Industry News: Heightened event security measures take shape after Boston bombings Photo taken from http://blog.seattlepi.com

Boston: The tragedies that struck the Boston Marathon exactly a week ago has made a significant impact in the event industry, specifically in regards to security. In Los Angeles alone, police were out in full force at large events including the Toyota Grand Prix, Dodgers, Lakers and Kings games and an assortment of others. Event producers of runners events around the world are taking a second, third and fourth look at security measures for runners and onlookers.

Twitter music 300x188 Event Industry News: Heightened event security measures take shape after Boston bombings


Social Media: Twitter has music. All users can use the new iPhone app/website to discover popular songs and dig emerging artists out of obscurity. To put it simply: it’s a new way to share and be shared. Song recommendations run freely, from both their friends and their favorite artists. One highlight is the ability to listen to music while perusing tweets at the same time.

Fujitsu took “scanning” to a whole new level and turned paper into a touchscreen. Event planners can use this technology to their advantage in multiple ways, from uploading tangible content directly to web/blog/social media to guests using the technology themselves (signing in, leaving comments, entering giveaways etc.)

Earth Day: Today more than 192 countries participate in the celebration of our planet and appreciating Mother Nature. While perhaps not directly related to event news, check out the Google homepage for a little inspiration for today.

What does Earth Day mean for you?

L.A. Weekender: Earth Day celebrations, Toyota Grand Prix and art galore

“I can see clearly now, the rain has gone…” And that drizzle that hit Los Angeles earlier this week is a distant memory with the sun shining and warm winds blowing all weekend long. Head down to the beach and relax in the sand, take the kids to the park or just kick it on your patio at home–at any rate, get out and enjoy the sunshine!

Here are a few events you might want to check out on this glorious weekend:

lazoo L.A. Weekender: Earth Day celebrations, Toyota Grand Prix and art galore  Photo taken from KEarth

1. Celebrate Earth Day this weekend at the L.A. Zoo. The Earth Day Expo celebrates and brings awareness to the needs of California wildlife. Festivities include information booths, fun activities for the kids and recycled crafts. . April 20-21, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

2. Grand Prix/Green Prix: If you are so inclined, try and make your way into Long Beach

KMD07GrandPrix 1619 300x200 L.A. Weekender: Earth Day celebrations, Toyota Grand Prix and art galore


for the Toyota Grand Prix. We at Fairplex are quite familiar with the sounds of racing and think race cars coupled with family activities, live music and bars and restaurants all around sounds like a great way to start, spend and end the weekend.

Then again, we are also home to an urban farm and are fans of sustainable foods so we also recommend the Green Prix of Long Beach, which highlights urban farmers, sustainable-minded local chefs, artists and a variety of environmental organizations. Get inspired about going green and check out vendors, food trucks, family fun activities and trade in the Grand Prix Budweiser’s for organic beers.

3. Festival of Books: Bookworms unite at USC this weekend for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (Apr. 20-21). Check the list of authors on their website and see if one of your favorites will be there. If not, it might still be fun to join in on conversations with famous authors and celebrities. If all else fails, the best in food, live entertainment and film should be entertainment enough for the day.

4. LACMA: Film enthusiasts might want to head down to LACMA and investigate the exhibit dedicated to Stanley Kubrick (Spartacus, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: Space Odyssey, The Shining). LACMA is the first U.S. art institute to feature an exhibit on the late filmmaker. P.S. For those with kids who are too young to be anywhere near a Stanley Kubrick film, LACMA offers free family tours in the late morning, featuring only kid-friendly exhibits.

5. Claremont Farmers and Artisans Markets: End your weekend with a relaxing stroll through the Farmers Market in Claremont. Stock up on fresh produce for the week, grab a bite to eat and do Sunday Funday right.

When hotels go green…

goinggreen1 When hotels go green...                                The L.A. County Fair “Going Green” Exhibit (2008)

Remember when “going green” was just a trend? “Green” was a buzz word. Now it’s a lifestyle for both consumers and businesses. It is a way of thinking and living. “Implementing more green policies within properties will be a consistent trend for 2013 as it serves as a win-win situation,” says Armand Guillemot, director of MICE, Great Hotels of the World in his article on green policy trends.  Energy conservation lowers hotel expenses and helps out the environment at the same time.

Hotels and energy conservation

At first glance, hotels aren’t the best example of eco-friendly anything. The gallons and gallons of water used to clean towels, sheets, bed covers, linens — some of which are barely used — is nothing short of waste.  Sometimes, as is the case with hotels, energy loss comes with the territory. That doesn’t mean its pointless to try though. There are several strategies to consider when making an effort to “go green.”

Make it count 

FARM11 300x200 When hotels go green... Go local:  Using locally sourced ingredients in catering and dining options provides guests with fresh meals and allows chefs to play around with the menu on a seasonal basis. The Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center uses McKinley’s Farm for most of its fruits, vegetables and herbs. Catering services use shade grown, organic and fair trade coffee, tea, cocoa and sugar. Don’t count out meats and fish either! Many restaurants (both hotels and independent businesses) use sustainable sources when choosing meats, fish and vegetarian meals.

Engage your guests: Let guests know of optional linen and towel change. As of this year hotel guests are more than happy to do their part towards energy conservation — more than 2/3 participate. Guests who don’t mind using the same towel for 2-3 showers can do their part in energy conservation by hanging their towels on hooks rather than discarding them on the floor for maids to take away on a daily basis.

Green housekeeping: One of the ways our hotel ensures a green environment is

earth day green hotels When hotels go green...

Photo from http://news.getaroom.com/

through our green housekeeping program. Staff is trained to use green cleaning products, divert retired linens from landfill, use daylight while cleaning as often as possible, reduce water usage and utilize energy efficient set-up for guest room lighting and electronic appliances.

It’s the little things: Eliminating the use of Styrofoam, recycling bins in hotel rooms, turning off light and energy systems when not being used… you get the picture.

…and the big things: LEED-certified buildings–meaning the venue follows strict environmental policies and maintains green operations and solutions–takes the going green initiative to a whole extra level of effort.

Your turn:

What are some ways you see hotels and other businesses “go green?” Do you think it is a passing trend or something you have adapted into your lifestyle? Share in the comments section below.

P.S. Earth Day is almost here.

Event Industry News: Coachella Round 1 – Success or a failure?

coachella 2013 Event Industry News: Coachella Round 1   Success or a failure?  Photo taken from Pretty Much Amazing

Coachella Round 1: The first weekend of this year’s music festival wasn’t quite up to par compared to last year. True it’s hard to beat a 2Pac hologram but when a headliner fails to draw crowds, it’s an issue. Still, Coachella is always a good time and the highlights were plentiful with a night of Phoenix and a surprise appearance by R. Kelly alongside solid performances by Blur, The Postal Service, Grizzly Bear and the Local Natives among others. Perhaps the biggest excitement was over a group that wasn’t even performing: Daft Punk.

Trend alert: Would you pay for a restaurant ticket? Most of us don’t think twice about cancelling or failing to show up at a restaurant. On the other side of the hostess desk it’s a whole different story. Now restaurants are taking matters into their own hands, creating a solution to the problem…and shame tweets are only the beginning. Trois Mec, about to open in Los Angeles has adapted a ticketing system where guests must purchase their tables in advance. The cost includes food, tax and tip so that diners need only to sit, enjoy their meal and walk out after. Several high-end restaurants have already adapted this form of payment though some owners hope to see the system trickle down into even the smallest of restaurants.

Sip, swirl and tweet: Breaking away from traditional wine tasting, Canada’s Open Wines invited guests to sample wine … and enjoy a full-fledged party. Partnering with Narrative PR and Bensimon Byrne, the wine company encouraged guests to “#BeOpen” and participate via Twitter to access all the event happenings. Using wristbands and smart phones, guests were encouraged (via tweets) to check out various games, treats and other stations in the venue.

Ah, Youth: A recent survey conducted by Piper Jaffay reports that Facebook and YouTube are losing popularity with teens. And considering how teens are responsible for $819 billion in consumer spending, marketers need to start finding new ways to influence these youths. The same survey revealed that social media still influences consumer purchasing decisions. So the question now is: which platform to target next?

Technology: CNet wrote a lengthy but eye-opening article on the innovation of smartphones and just where the technology is going, how it’s coming together and what that looks like for us.

LA Weekender: Festivals (not Coachella), movies and Lucha Libre

In case you are one of the many who are missing out on Coachella this weekend, our LA Weekender has a few suggestions for you…

Skyline Los Angeles Night 1024x682 LA Weekender: Festivals (not Coachella), movies and Lucha Libre  Photo taken from www.bigskyline.com

1. An evening with Hitchcock: Start your weekend a little early tonight at the New Beverly Cinema and a back-to-back Alfred Hitchcock special. Shell out $8, buy some popcorn and enjoy the genius of “Rear Window” and Rope.”

2. Burbank Art Festival: Downtown Burbank will be packed with artists, street painters and plenty of art lovers this weekend (Sat-Sun.) Animation and digital artists, painters, sculptures and photographers will be on-hand, displaying their artistry. For more information, check out the art festival’s website.

3. Los Angeles Dance Festival: Continuing the art activities is the Los Angeles Dance Festival. The whole weekend is packed with performances, open classes and discussions focusing on everything from ballet to aerial dance. Purchase tickets and read up on available classes and performances here.

4. Bar & Garden: Prepare your palette for the L.A. County Fair’s wine classes at Bar & Garden, the newest of many fun establishments in Culver City. Visit after brunch on Sunday (2 – 5 p.m.) for a little wine tasting. One of my personal favorite weekend neighborhoods, a stroll through the Arts District reveals many fun restaurants and bars to check out.

5. Lucha Libre USA: If wine tasting on a Sunday afternoon is a little too quiet for your taste, look towards Ontario for the Lucha Libre USA masked fighting tournament. It’s all noise and rowdy fun for all ages (to watch, not fight…).

And you’re off! Have a fantastic weekend, whatever you decide to do icon smile LA Weekender: Festivals (not Coachella), movies and Lucha Libre

5 Steps to Effective Event Social Media

social media iOS 5 Steps to Effective Event Social Media Image taken from memeburn.com

Social media–following in the footsteps of other commonplace event components–is the norm, not the novelty. It is simply a part of our lives and a huge benefit at nearly every event. Social media allows you to collect information and feed back from guests, build hype for the event, and serves as a way for guests to engage with you and each other.

So where to begin?

5 Steps to Effective Event Social Media:

1. Purpose

Define your social media goals. Be specific. Are you planning to generate hype on social media prior to the event? Is this a way to gather feedback (comments, concerns)? Give real time updates?  Perhaps you just want to get an idea of what your guests liked and didn’t like.

Large conferences, for example, might benefit from a live Twitter feed on screen during sessions for additional commentary and questions for the speakers. Music festivals, fairs and other outdoor activities might fare better with an Instagram hashtag and user engagement via a photo contest.

You have to ask what results you want to get out of your campaign, whether its increasing Twitter followers, sales of a product and so on.

2. Platforms

Once you have defined your social media goals, decide which platform(s) are best for carrying out your purpose. Too few/too many platforms can be detrimental to your efforts.

Know the strengths of each platform. Facebook fan pages can serve as a landing page for initial event information announcements while Twitter serves as the live feed. Instagram and Vine are great visual content aggregates and LinkedIn can be the means to establish your event among your target professional audience.


Choose a hashtag that is simple but unique and descriptive. (Ex: For the L.A. County Fair: #lacf or #lafair would do).

BizBash: Tips on picking the best hashtag.

Whichever platforms you use, make sure all guests (and others) can find the appropriate twitter handles, hashtags, usernames, groups etc. in one place — on the event webpage.

Which leads us to…

3. Promotion

1 5 Steps to Effective Event Social Media


Signage is key. Attendees need to be reminded that an event hashtag exists in the first place. Plaster your hashtag and other social media usernames on print materials like maps and itineraries, TV screens, banners, merchandise and in gift bags if you are using them. No need to make it obnoxious. Just prevalent enough to garner attention if sought. Write a Facebook post and tweet announcing the official hashtag and let guests go wild.

Inform your speakers, sponsors and vendors of your usage of social media and let them moderate and curate content as well. Speakers can answer questions via a live TweetDeck during a session. Sponsors can offer promotions and other campaigns using the hashtag. Vendors can display the signs prominently and work in a similar fashion.

4. Call to action

Provide attendees with incentives to join in the conversation. Share the best content via your official Twitter handle/Instagram/Facebook page to create a story that captures the spirit of your event. Offer a small prize or a shout-out to the guest with the best tweet, first to post a photo etc.

5. Follow-up

Take notes on feedback, both negative and positive and respond. Let guests know you are listening to them after their experience. Feedback allows you to improve on future events.

These are just a few basic pointers for getting started on the social media element. There is no set formula for how guests are going to respond, as each event is different from the next. You need to first and foremost understand your audience, how they respond and what social media platforms they will use to share their experience.

What do you think is the best way to use social media?

Happy tweeting!

(and Instagram-ing, Facebook posting, LinkedIn sharing…)

Event Industry News: Coachella parties and Facebook Home

coachella 2012 photo Event Industry News: Coachella parties and Facebook Home Photo taken from Phoenix NewTimes

Coachella: The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is kicking off this weekend. While fans are setting up camp in the desert sands, brands like H&M, Lacoste, Harper Bazaar’s ShopBizarre and others are prepping for pool parties, a carnival (Armani Exchange) and other festivities.  BizBash has all the details on their site. Just in case you aren’t jealous you can’t make it, check out the full line-up here.

Facebook Home: Last week Mark Zuckerberg & co. announced the arrival of Facebook Home. To put it simply: Facebook Home allows users to access multiple apps simultaneously on their smartphones. You can chat with a friend over Facebook, while searching for a good place to eat and check your email–on one screen.

Men’s Fashion Week: A New York Men’s Fashion Week is in the works with plans to launch this summer. Event organizers are in the process of finding sponsors as well as persuading designers  to present.

Technology: There’s a new app in town. Phoster, as the free app is called, allows users to create their own virtual event invitations and posters. Options are plenty, as users can use photos, designs and other options to create the most visually appealing and professional looking virtual invitations as possible.