Oktoberfest Must-Knows

If you’re planning to hit Oktoberfest, here’s what you SHOULD know:

Oktoberfest2014 07 300x199 Oktoberfest Must Knows1. Lots of beer Oktoberfest is all about the beer. Whether you’re into IPA’s or into something lighter – something like Bud Light – we have a beer for everyone! Our beer selection is quite lengthy, so do yourself a favor and visit our website for a full list of available beers. Trust us, you’ll want to do this so you have more time to drink!

2. Lots of food  Drinking makes people hungry. We know that and you know that. shutterstock 445154743 300x200 Oktoberfest Must KnowsWe also know freshly baked pretzels go well with all types of beer. If you’re not feeling like having some bratwurst or pretzels, we have King Taco, grilled sandwiches and Pink’s Hot Dogs.  We’re celebrating from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday through Oct. 29 and we hope to see you here with your squad. #SquadGoals

3. Lots of music & dancing  If you want to get the most out of Oktoberfest at Fairplex, we recommend leaving your inhibitions at the door and doing some traditional (and not-so-traditional) dancing with our oom-pah-pah band. We’ll take you through the Chicken Dance, group dances and partner dances, and we will definitely have you up and on your feet by the end of the night! P.S. – Our cover bands are always a good time too!

4. Lyft Don’t drink and drive! We’ve partnered with Lyft to provide safe transportation from Oktoberfest. First-time users receive $20 off their first ride with promo code LACF! To buy tickets and learn more, visit OktoberfestatFairplex.com.

Share your Oktoberfest photos with us on social media by tagging @fairplex and using #OktoberfestLA!

oktoberfest pic 1024x768 Oktoberfest Must Knows

Fairplex Snapshot: HalloFest Employee Luncheon

Halloween is easily one of the best holidays to celebrate at work. Not only do people bring dishes upon dishes of food and candy, but we all get a chance to come to work dressed up in some pretty scary, creative and creative costumes.

Earlier today dozens of us walked up to Picnic Hill for our annual HalloFest Employee Luncheon. We had some delicious bratwurst, potato salad and root beer floats for dessert.

Although many of us were hesitant about dressing up, as soon as we saw the “Halloween Costume Contest Prizes” section on the invitation, you better believe we were all over our costumes. icon smile Fairplex Snapshot: HalloFest Employee Luncheon

Check out some of the costumes from today’s luncheon…

Costumes included: Crazy Cat Lady, Queen of Hearts, Bruce Jenner and Bat Girl! 

Upland Lemon Festival Recap

Upland Lemon Festival 2015: The 19th annual Upland Lemon Festival was held in the city’s downtown this past weekend.

Residents of the area and lemon lovers from surrounding cities came out to enjoy all of the ‘lemony’ foods, carnival rides, games and diverse contests ranging from pie eating to dancing!

Despite the power outages, rains and incredible crowds, families and friends really enjoyed themselves and the opportunity to shop around and support local businesses. In fact, this year, the festival drew in more than 60,000 people during its three-day run, which is something to be very proud of! icon wink Upland Lemon Festival Recap

Here are some really cool pictures from this weekend’s event.

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10995798 833379386746215 7643583629208152677 n Upland Lemon Festival Recap11051988 833379440079543 6244871943347657798 n Upland Lemon Festival Recap11065935 832468303503990 4069305172674546533 n Upland Lemon Festival Recap11150917 833379323412888 5348720358783263866 n Upland Lemon Festival Recap11159456 832836906800463 1513911086518302778 n Upland Lemon Festival Recap11180295 832836926800461 7921790198293049619 n Upland Lemon Festival Recap11193336 833379153412905 8843701486556761948 n Upland Lemon Festival RecapWe can’t wait for next year’s festival!

Do you have any photos of your time at the Upland Lemon Festival? Share with us in the comments below! We would love to see them.

First Food Truck Thursday of 2015 on the Horizon

We heard your stomach growling, so we immediately knew what to do! Food Truck Thursdays are returning to Fairplex starting on April 2.

4.2.15 First Food Truck Thursday of 2015 on the Horizon

Food Trucks on April 2

Think about what this means…each Thursday we will have some of Los Angeles’ most popular food trucks set up shop at Fairplex for your enjoyment. We understand that after a long day of work, the last thing you want to do is cook. So, with that said, ditch your kitchen and swing by and enjoy food, drinks and the occasional live entertainment acts. Oh, and please don’t forget about dessert. A meal is never complete without some sweets!

For more information on Food Truck Thursdays, visit us at www.fairplex.com

From BizBash: Golden Globes Dinner Preview

appetizer 300x226 From BizBash: Golden Globes Dinner Preview

Photo taken from The Braiser

Last Thursday the Beverly Hilton opened its doors for a sneak preview of the menu for the 70th annual Golden Globes, airing live on Sunday, Jan. 13th.

A combined total of approximately 460 chefs, bartenders, culinary staff and servers will work the event, creating mouth-watering meals for an audience of 1,300.

 

Items on the menu include grilled artichoke with fennel tomato lemon mousse and flat-iron beef with grilled sweet pickle pepper.

To see the menu in full detail read the rest of the article on BizBash.

2013 Event Trends Part 1

You never know what is going to be the next big thing. Who would have thought Gangnam Style would go viral so quickly? Had anyone predicted the necessity of a smartphone in 2008? (Although I’m sure someone did.) My point being, it’s hard to predict what trends will be a hit. But we can certainly try! In this two-part series we will cover the different parts of event planning and how trends from other industries will affect us, starting with food.

quinoa kale butternut squash 2013 Event Trends Part 1

Photo taken from bizbash.com

Food Industry Trends

We touched on this briefly last month but some new findings have surfaced…

  • The LA Times recently wrote an article reflecting on the increasingly popular food we call bacon. “Bacon is the new black,” writer Greg Braxton wrote and seeing as the Discovery Channel has a show revolving around that food group, I would say that sounds spot on.
  • Smokin’: Smoked meats, pastries, vegetables and even beverages are fast becoming a trend in the United States on both coasts.
  • Pig tails, pig cheeks: The NY Times describes pig tails as “rich, bony and gelatinous.” We’ll take their word for it. Pig cheeks, or guanciale are a unique alternative to traditional bacon.  It will be interesting to see what food & beverage pairings will emerge from these.
  • Infusing the healthy with the not-so healthy: Whether it’s adding more fruit to a decadent tart or mixing in quinoa and kale with entrees, chefs are creating dishes that please the senses and nourish rest of the body.

Technology/Social Media trends
Smartphone Mania
: There is an increasing need to go mobile. The trends depend on the popularity of the concept, but any “next big thing” will likely come in the form of a mobile app and streamlined, multipurpose options, including using iPads and iPhones for event check-in and event updates. Going green is practically effortless.

Audience Engagement: On the social media front, engaging audience will continue to remain a top priority. The more tweets, comments, likes and shares an event gets from the crowd (whether virtual or in-person) will provide insight into audience impressions.

Stay tuned for part 2…

10 tips for making your client happy

Fairplex is more than just the L.A. County Fair. The Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center as well as several areas of the campus are utilized for events throughout the year, from conferences to trade shows, dinner parties to weddings.

I sat down with Beth Gallagher, director of food and beverage at Fairplex to ask what she does to ensure her clients the best event experience possible. Here are some of her most helpful tips:

1. Understand client expectations. What may seem like a small part of the event for you can be a stressful ordeal for the client. Know what your client’s priorities are and what they are worried about and attend each task accordingly.

2. Get the basic blueprint. During the initial conversation Beth makes sure to get basic information from the client before any detailed planning. How many people are attending, what time of day the event is and the nature of the event are all questions she gets answered before deciding what space would be most accommodating to them.

3. Uncover the details.This goes back to listening to clients. Sometimes a client won’t verbalize a clear picture of what they want or they just glaze over the details. Uncover their tastes and pick up on clues as you prepare to draft your proposal to them.

4. Customize, customize, customize. Not every hotel has the flexibility to do this, but at Fairplex, Beth makes it a top priority to customize the event packages, meals and venue as exactly to the client’s preferences as possible. Whether it’s lighting, color schemes or bringing in additional furniture or decor, try to make the event as unique to your client as possible. Make them feel like they matter.

5. Know your real estate. Sell your event space as real estate. “The zip code for one of our ballrooms on a Saturday night is the equivalent of Beverly Hills,” Beth said. The price per square foot is higher when the space is in demand. The price changes from day to day, season to season.

6. On decorating… Fairplex staff tries to meet all client needs as much as possible. This includes not only catering and lights but decorating the event space as well. Beth collaborates with her team and, based off the agenda and theme given to her by the clients, transforms the facilities into a space worthy of mention. “We evolve what we have into what they want,” Beth said. So far that has meant everything from a ballroom into a night club, an expo hall into an ice rink and a lawn into a jazz lounge.

7. Make sure your teams work well together–or at least get the job done. “We work like siblings,” Beth says. “Sometimes teams don’t agree on the way something should be done, but at the end of the day we have the same goal. Whatever we do, we make sure there is a constant line of communication.” Your client will be most happy when the job is done.

8. Be a perfectionist but know when to let go. The success is in the details. It’s important to care about the little things as well as see the big picture. At the same time it’s essential to know when to let something go. If you–the perfectionist event planner–are the only one who notices it, and your client and his/her guests are having a good time, just let it go.

9. Keep diversity (especially culture) in mind when it comes to food.When it comes to food the first thing to do is figure out how important it is to a client. In some cultures the quality of food is a way of displaying a client’s status. In other cultures it is the main form of showing hospitality. The bottom line is that realizing food preferences and level of importance differs with each client. See what works best for that particular scenario.

10. Know your venue’s strengths and capitalize on them. Fairplex and the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center excels in customizable space, high quality food and excellent customer service. The first thing Beth shows potential clients is the flexibility each space has. This can be anything from setting up a mock wine tasting to an elaborate table display during the initial visit.

Beth entered the event industry working for a small party rental company. Since then she has spent time working on sales and event operations for the Olympics, sports arenas throughout the nation and professional golf and tennis tournaments. She also owned her own catering company prior to joining the team at Fairplex.

An afternoon with Fabrizia Lanza

IMG 5160 An afternoon with Fabrizia Lanza Talented Sicilian chef Fabrizia Lanza set up shop in the Wine & Spirits Pavilion where she cooked up a delicious contemporary Sicilian meal for an already captivated audience.

Today’s event was a preview of what is to come tomorrow night at Fairplex’s traditional Table to Farm dinner.

Charming, sassy and an excellent multi-tasker (as all chefs are), Fabrizia regaled us with stories of her time spent traveling the world and her experiences in teaching culinary school, all the while stirring, frying and creating a Sicilian master piece. Items on the menu included stewed lamb with a hint of fresh peppermint Spezzatino di Agnello con L’Erbe di Case Vecchie), eggplant paremesana and almond pudding with the Queen’s cookies (biancomangiare with biscotti regina).

food3 300x199 An afternoon with Fabrizia Lanza Within two hours Fabrizia cooked up a delicious lunch that would have even the pickiest kitten purring. Guests paired their meal with delicious wine, some imported directly from Fabrizia’s family estate back in Italy.

We can’t wait to see what a full-on dinner looks like with her talents and palette of expertise.