Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts

Saturday, April 12

Saturday Morning Musings: Angry Cat, Aaron Carter and Japan

As I mentioned in my last post, it is Cherry Blossom time in DC and they are more popular than ever. They say that 1.5 million people see the trees every year. That's incredible when you think about it. In a world gone high-tech mad, TREES still draw more than a million people to get in a car, on a plane, in a crowded bus to come see flowers on trees. Two other things that confirm their popularity: Aaron Carter is performing in the blossom parade this year and there are ton of pictures of cats in front of the trees on the internet. Enough said.


I digress. The real purpose of this post is to share with you another great party from my past. Next up in this series is the 2011 Trust for the National Mall Benefit Luncheon. Each year we would select a partner country to honor and highlight at the event. In 2011, to launch the year long 100th anniversary celebration of the cherry trees, we selected Japan and after a year of planning, here is how the tent turned out that year. Pretty amazing!

photo from imaglink

You can see that we used a lot of Japanese elements including the obvious ones like the chopsticks and the color scheme, but we also included some cool other things like wrapping the tent poles in faux bamboo and adding large shoji screens on either side of the podium. You can also see hanging paper cranes from the ceiling in the main tent and hanging paper parasols from the reception/dinner tent.


 One thing I love to do at events is vary the tables and the place settings. Here is one style we used. 


The flower arrangements were all minimalist and incorporated Japanese elements in some way. These were my favorite because of the bamboo shoots and bold orange color. 


Here's another one of the table arrangements that was inspired by bento boxes. They were low and filled with unusual flowers.  All the flowers were created by the amazing Philippa Tarrant


At the Luncheon, Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki spoke and gave a moving tribute to his country which had just experienced the devastating earthquake and tsunami. There were not many dry eyes in the tent that afternoon. 


Two days after the Luncheon, we once again transformed the tent for the Ball on the Mall.  Here's the dinner tent (which was the reception tent for the Luncheon). 


And here is how the Ball tent transformed. It was really incredible. 




This was the last Luncheon and Ball that I planned before leaving the Trust and I must say, they were my favorite. I still have my black and red TNM umbrella (the giveaway that year). This year's events are coming up in a few weeks and I can't wait to see what they have come up with this year.

Angry Cat says get outside and stop blogging…it's a beautiful day.  Chat later!

Friday, March 7

An Homage To Ball On The Mall

Despite what your mother always told you, it is true that people have favorites. For me, the events I have planned are like my babies and I definitely have favorites. One of those was an event called The Ball on The Mall.


In 2007, I was hired by an awesome non-profit called Trust for the National Mall which was is the official partner of the National Park Service to restore and renovate the National Mall.  Having lived in DC for a while by that point, I had spent a good amount of time on or around the Mall and the idea of being involved in its restoration was exciting.

The Trust brought me on to create a signature fundraising event for them called The Benefit Luncheon. We constructed a tent right on the Mall with views of the Washington Monument and The Capitol dome and invited ladies to wear their favorite spring hats to the event. It was a huge success, raising more than $600,000 in its first year. It has gone on to raise millions for the Trust and is a perennial favorite among the DC social set. Here's a shot from inside the first luncheon tent.  Stunning right? 


But we put so much time and effort into constructing the tent and all of the necessary infrastructure for an event - kitchen, bathrooms, electrical, etc. - it felt sad to tear it all down after just one four hour luncheon. So my colleague Lindsay and I hatched a plan to keep the tent up for an extra few days and create an event for young professionals - and the Ball on the Mall was born!


The success of that first year, and several after that, was due to the people we got involved in the planning and promotion of the Ball. We named this group the L'Enfant Society and we recruited many of my friends, colleagues and even my husband to be involved. And they made it what it became - which was one of the most popular events in town. 

Here are some pics of the VIP dinner in 2010 which included remarks from Rick (not Ricky) Schroder and if you don't know who that is, check out Silver Spoons



We had incredible participants including celebrities, Ambassadors, Members of Congress, etc. The guest list and number of sponsors grew each year as did the awareness the event generated for the good work the Trust is doing to make America's Front Yard a place everyone can be proud of and enjoy. 

In 2011 our theme revolved around Japan and I love the way the decor turned out that year with giant paper cranes and paper lanterns. 


Last week, the Trust announced that they would not be hosting Ball on the Mall this year. I have long since left and don't know any more about why - but I will always love the memory of this great event. Just don't tell the others that it was my fav!

A quick shout out to some the vendors who worked so hard on these events. THEY are my favs too!