Officially, the big event at the Bechtler Museum on Tuesday was naming 13 N.C.-based event planners who won contracts to throw 12 parties welcoming 6,000 delegates to Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention on Sunday, Sept. 2.
Well get to that in a minute. The real question at the announcement was: Which state gets which party spot?
For instance, which delegations get the coveted Mint Museum Uptown location? That would be Illinois, Hawaii, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Midwestern powerhouse Ohio. (And if we have to explain the connections between four of those states, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, well, youve got some studying to do.)
How about the sprawling, outdoorsy spaces of the U.S. National Whitewater Center? That will go to the delegations from California, Alaska, Idaho and Montana.
And Discovery Place will host what may be the largest party, with the delegations from Texas, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Louisiana, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
That Discovery Place deal was worth a scream when Charlotte planner Sally Webb of The Special Event Company got the call several weeks ago.
A very loud scream, Webb admitted before the official announcement Tuesday: We got our No. 1 pick.
Event planners have been waiting since early February, when they were first given the details on how to make a pitch for one of the parties, which will be used to welcome delegates when they arrive on the Sunday night before the convention.
Up to 200 planners made pitches and only 12 were chosen actually 13, because two companies teamed up for the big party at the Mint.
The Charlotte In 2012 Host Committee announced in February that the delegates would be spread around 12 spots for the welcoming night, some in uptown and some sprinkled around the region, such as the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Gaston County and the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville.
That will allow the delegates to see more of the area, but it also lets the Host Committee spread the wealth a little, getting more event planners, caterers, florists, photographers and other party-makers a crack at business. All the planners picked were listed in the committees vendor directory.
When 12 of the event planners lined up to introduce themselves Tuesday, one thing stood out, though: They were all women. That was a little misleading only nine of the chosen 13 firms are women-owned companies (four are minority-owned, and at least two are owned or co-owned by men who werent present).
But Mary Tribble, a longtime Charlotte event planner who is chief of all the events planning for the Host Committee, admitted she was surprised when she saw them all lined up before the announcement.
I didnt realize until I walked in and said, Wow, look at all these strong women. Thats nothing to apologize for.
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