Sunday, September 9, 2012

It's Not What It Looks Like!

Don't let the pictures fool you: this is not a post about Christmas. It is a post about the rewards of working with a team to produce an event that is memorable and special.  I have a fair bit of experience with this, and am proud of the work I've participated in, and its results.

I've helped execute large events off and on for the last four years, but there is something different about being the originator of the event.  In the past, I have been a footsoldier at weddings, seminars, wedding- and baby showers, and been one of Santa's Sweatshop Elves for an entire season.  What they all have in common are two things.  First, there is a moment of tornadic chaos every time, where I feel like we have completely lost control of the event.  Second, the chaos is followed by a supreme satisfaction, when everything is settled and the guests are enjoying themselves, oftentimes in ways unforeseen by the planners.  They are smiling and laughing and chatting and sometimes dancing, and their happiness is my happiness.  The gorgeous cakes, the beautiful brides, and I confess the Father-Daughter Dance gets me every time.

But one of my favorite memories of working hard in a group to make something special for others was a different sort of event altogether.  It is the moment when, after about 13 hours of heavy lifting, intricate lighting and mental toughness, we finally lit the 40-foot tree we'd erected in the pond at Northwestern Mutual's downtown location. Exhausted from a long day hauling boxes of tree parts, climbing scaffolds, fingers aching from putting thousands of lights on the tree, we flopped down, shellshocked and worn out. It was dark in the lobby, the sun having gone down fast like it does in December and we all marvelled at what our teamwork produced.  It was only one part of their Holiday design, but it will always be the greatest thing we did that year, to me.

This old picture, taken on a flip-phone, can't do justice to the peaceful feeling and pride of work we felt that night. 

I've got another event coming up this weekend, and it's quite different in many ways.  I conceived it months ago, and have spent countless hours preparing for its success with my co-workers, promoting it (in my abundant free time...), and now it's right around the corner.

The Great Sconnie Sip-Off will be held in the Waukesha Chancery bar on Saturday, September 15 at 7pm. When it first occurred to me to host a cocktail competition using only ingredients made in Wisconsin, I could never have imagined that way people around me would embrace the challenge, and the challenges of coordinating an event like this. I am grateful especially to all the Chancery mixologists that creatively invented new cocktails, our celebrity judges Guy Rehorst, Angie West and Ira Koplowitz, my co-workers Kahara, Togie and Ro and our treasured guests who will sample these drinks to choose the People's Choice Award.

Right now, the drinks have been created and vetted for compliance, judges are lined up, prizes are in our possession and we are all clear on the plan. We look forward to seeing you all on Saturday night and thank you for having this fun with us!

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