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Glamorous gala on a tight timeline

By Ashleigh Petersen

October 4, 2023

Event: The Hospital Gridiron Gala was held in April 2022. This annual event is held to raise money for a local children’s cancer center. Party Reflections, Charlotte, N.C., has provided rental equipment in the past and for the 2022 event the company provided several tents along with tables, chairs and linens.

Challenges and solutions: A change in location was the biggest challenge. Typically, this event is held in a parking lot near the hospital, but in 2022, the plan was to host the fundraiser inside the indoor practice facility for the Carolina Panthers football team — which is sponsored by the hospital.

However, two weeks before the event was to take place, a huge storm roared through town damaging the facility — known as the “Bubble.” The facility was damaged beyond repair in time for the event. So, the event planner called Party Reflections and work began to relocate the event.

“The Carolina Panthers organization was fully behind the event and offered the field inside their stadium for the event if we could mobilize enough tenting on such short notice in our busiest season,” says Dan Hooks, CERP, president, Party Reflections.

“After reviewing and rearranging the floorplan, the event needed almost 20,000 sq. ft. of tenting to accommodate all aspects of the evening. Luckily, the Panther organization had just purchased a temporary flooring system that could be installed before we needed to begin our set up,” Hooks says.

The stadium provided a 40,000-sq.-ft. pad of flooring for the crew to operate on while installing the structures for the event. The event included a cocktail hour inside the bar and lounge area overlooking the field. The cocktail reception spilled over into a courtyard formed by the two structures on the field. From there, guests gathered for a dinner presentation and auction under a 25m-by-45m Losberger P3 structure. After dinner, guests moved from the dining tent into a 25m-by25m Losberger P3 structure with a clear top for the entertainment and dancing portion of the night.

A 30-ft.-by-50-ft. TopTec FutureTrac frame tent also was installed for the caterer and an additional 16-ft.-by-16-ft. TopTec FutureTrac frame tent provided an office for the event planner.

“Obviously, staking the structures was not an option, so we had to transport over 200,000 lbs. of concrete weights to use as ballasts. The six trailers of concrete had to be coordinated between our project management team in the field and our logistics team at the office to make sure we had the proper weights when we needed them for install. We did not have enough room to install both structures at the same time and still allow for truck and forklift movement, so we had to work on one at a time to allow other vendors to begin their work,” Hooks says.

The Party Reflections team utilized their 755 Tent Ox  and a 42-ft. shooting boom forklift to unload and distribute the weights around the perimeter of the structures. Since the stadium did not want the flooring covering the lawn for an extended period of time, they had to complete the installation in one day to allow for the carpet, tables and chairs, AV, décor and catering teams to completely set the room the following day.

Timeline crunch: From start to finish, the Party Reflections team had 12 days to create a completely new site footprint, prepare the available inventory, install and remove the project.

“The biggest challenge was the limited timeline we had to orchestrate the entire project. We basically had one day of uninterrupted work to accomplish the installation. The coordination of trucks and equipment entering and leaving the site proved to be the most challenging part of the project,” Hooks says.

“Given the tight window of time and the limited space to work in on the field, we adjusted our delivery personnel to deal with the concrete immediately and have three tractor trailer drivers involved to get the concrete and other materials into the site quicker. We also decided to mark and layout the base plates the night before, so we could get to work immediately upon arrival,” he adds.

The installation took roughly two days to complete and everything was torn down in about eight hours so the stadium could prepare for another event happening the next week.

“We had a team of 12 installers beginning the set up on Sunday morning. We had both structures installed in a little over 11 hours. Eight members of our crew came back in the next day for six hours to install 250 tons of air conditioning for both structures and to finish detail work on the sidewalls and doors. We had 20 installers on the break down to ensure all items were off the field in a timely manner,” Hooks explains.

The customer was so happy with the success of the event at the new location that the 2023 gala also was held at the Panthers stadium.

Main products used

  • 25m-by-45m Losberger P3 structure
  • 25m-by-25m Losberger P3 structure
  • 30-ft.-by-50-ft. TopTec FutureTrac frame tent
  • 16-ft.-by-16-ft. TopTec FutureTrac frame tent