The air was buzzing in the office. The event coordinators were positively alight with anticipation for the upcoming anniversary party for Mellanox Technologies. The party, or parties, took place in three different locations; Austin, TX, Boston, MA, and San Jose, CA. Coordinating events in these different states required an exceptional level of organization, something that our destination event managers excel at. It was also far more technically challenging than many other company parties because it offered something altgether new and exciting – VR gaming for entertainment and a holigrapram entrance!
The Event Spaces
Our team has the pleasure and honor planning company parties for Mellanox in the past and we wanted to ensure their 20th anniversary celebration was even better than their past holiday parties! The venues were selected, walk-thru scheduled, and final selections booked for all three locations. After that, the pieces fell into place, from catering to entertainment, even guest management was expertly conducted. There were careful considerations for cord management, power usage, A/V installation for decor and video presentation’s to run though. Managers spent a great deal of time planning this company party. After all, it took 20 years to celebrate this moment – a little extra time was warrented to plan their special day!
Over 400 Hours
Of Planning & Production
Of Audio/Visual Equipment
The winning venue in Austin was the One World Theater. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Austin this event space offers breathtaking views of the Texas Hills Country from it’s private rooftop and sunset decks. Voted “Voted Austin’s Best Wedding Venue by Austin360” this versatile indoor/outdoor space is also an ideal choice for corporate events.
After reviewing many Boston venues, the City Side and Harbor Side Salons at The State Room were booked. With fantastic views of both the glittering city and harbor, this urban event space in Boston provided plenty of room for guests to enjoy cocktail hour while taking selfies in front of the floor to ceiling windows.
San Jose, CA
Corinthian Grand Ballroom and Phoenix Lounge was the obvious choice for by our San Jose event coordinator. We love this Silicon Valley event space for company parties for it’s consistent, rate services. The 1924 historical building was built to originally be a Scottish Rite Temple, giving it a level of craftsmanship not found in other venues.
Planning the Anniversary Party
Catering for the anniversary party was the next service that was thoroughly vetted. It was decided that there would be plated dinners for San Jose’s guests and delicious buffet dinner menus were selected for both Austin and Boston. All three locations would enjoy cold cocktails, fresh appetizers, and decadent desserts along with their dinner.
Austin – A Texas Sized Meal
To start displays of charcuterie boards with imported and domestic cheese, meats, olives, fruit, nuts, honey, mustard, jams and crackers were a beautiful edible arrangement ready for the guests as they networked with cocktails. Wait staff walked through the One World Theater carrying trays of Fried Green Tomatoes topped with Peach Pimento Cheese, Fried Beet Chips with Honey Goat Cheese sliced strawberries topped with balsamic and seasoned with basil, and Mini Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce and capers. Glasses of red and white wine were hand passed to wash guests pallets between the mini bites of gourmet cuisine.
The buffet dinner consisted of a Sweet and Salty Arugula Salad featuring sliced almonds, red grapes, premium olives, arugula, parmesan cheese and topped with lemon dressing.
A side of grain oat bread or white yeast rolls with salted rosemary honey butter was also available. The main dishes included a mouth-watering Herb Breadcrumb Crusted Chicken with a Chardonnay Cream Sauce or a Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Demi or a vegetarian Manicotti with Tomato Basil Sauce. Sides included rich Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus and Buttered Carrots, and Roasted Vegetables.
Save Room for Dessert
Coffee was provided with dessert which consisted of Mini Tres Leches Cupcakes, Chocolate and Butter Pecan Ice Cream, Chocolate Cake Balls, Flavored Meringues, and Snickerdoodle Cookies. Food wasn’t the only thing on the menu!
Predicting the Entertainment
Before dinner was served up, guests could get a taste of the famous mentalist, Daniel Fernandez. Sometimes called the “magicians magician” he offered our guests outstanding illusions performed for the rich and famous at The Emmy’s, The Grammy’s, and The Golden Globes. His predictions were mind bending, bringing guests some jaw dropping entertainment that left them wondering “How did he do that?!”.
If that wasn’t jarring enough, guests could sit and have their handwriting analyzed. A quick jot is all this graphology professional needed to dive deep into your persona and reveal some shocking secrets! Are you ambitious, curious, and adaptable? Then you may have immensely enjoyed the VR (Virtual Reality) game also featured after dinner. Did your analysis reveal your an extrovert, sociable, and a risk taker? The casino tables also featured after dinner may have been a better fit!
The Take Home
Guests took home a little more than just experiences. Our Selfie Photo Booth gave guests a chance to try out their selfies on a whole new level in front of a huge mirror (ensuring they got the perfect shot) AND take home a photo strip. But that wasn’t all. A personalized wine glass custom etched with a message of your choice was the hot take-a-way of the Texan evening.
With a larger guest list, our event coordinators knew they had to bring their best to Boston. To shake things up, a hosted bar provided unlimited service with a full range of options including mixed cocktails, beer, and wine. Hand passed hors d’ oeuvres included Eggplant Parmesan bites, Crisp Falafel, and Avocado Toast. The hors d’ oeuvres also included gluten-free and dairy-free options such as Chicken Satay and Carne Asada.
Everything’s Better in Boston
The buffet dinner featured Artisan Field Greens with Apple, Bleu Cheese dressed with a Cranberry Vinaigrette and toasted walnuts on the side. The main entrees included a Tuscan Grilled Chicken, an Herb Crusted Carved Sirloin with Au Jus sauce, or a vegan Farro Risotto. Premium steakhouse sides included Roasted Harvest Vegetables, Herb Roasted Creamed Potatoes, Green Beans, Dinner Rolls with Vermont Butter (yum!). Dessert theme was mini but mighty! With Key Lime Tartlets, S’mores Kisses, Mini Cannolis, and Sweet Ricottas with hot, fresh coffee and good company.
Mind Bending Experiences
To ensure guests at each of the locations felt unified in their company’s anniversary party, they shared entertainment experiences such as handwriting analysis, casino games, Selfie Mirror Photo Booth, and the Virtual Reality setup. Guests could climb Mount Everest, explore Google Earth or Walk the Plank in these total immersive games. Our event coordinator also secured the best mentalist, Daniel Fernandez,for this company party as well so all of Mellanox employees could share their mind-bending experiences!
It’s a (Bubble) Wrap for Boston!
Our event coordinators shared the Mellanox goal of unifying the 20th anniversary celebration take-a-ways so we brought in a wine glass engraver and the branded glasses to this location as well. Guests enjoyed watching their message get etched into the wine glass before it was bubble wrapped and handed to them in a blue, branded gift bag as they left to enjoy again and again.
San Jose – A California Dream
With both Mellanox and our own headquarters in California, our event coordinators knew they had to really make an impact at this anniversary’s location. A valet was hired and the red carpet rolled out in front of Corinthian Grand Ballroom for the guests. That alone was not enough to ensure these guests felt the California dream in all it’s surreal glory.
To give these tech adventurers the right atmosphere, our designers and audio visual staff put their heads together to create something altogether new in the event industry – a hologram entrance. Because this party celebrated the company’s 20th anniversary, a branded logo was projected into the entrance so that guests, including VIPs like their CEO, walked through a 3D representation of their custom 20th anniversary adapted logo! The experience was well worth the additional hours in set up by the A/V team.
Hor d’oeuvres on Display
Both displayed appetizers and tray passed hor d’oeuvres were meticulously arranged to be appetizing to both the eye and the tongue. On display an arrangement of domestic and imported cheeses were available for guests to graze on while an assortment of tray passed hor d’oeuvres made their way through the party. Pan Fried Feta Cheese with Red Pepper & Salsa on Pita Bread, Smoked Salmon Tartlet with Caper Sour Cream & Dill, Steak Crostini with Chive Sour Cream, and Brandied Walnut on Crostini Bruschetta were hand passed mini bites of delight that parred perfectly with cold cocktails.
Dinner is Served
With the VIP studded guest list attending the San Jose anniversary party, our event coordinators gathered the entree selection during the RSVP process. Guests choose from one of four entrees for themselves and their plus one. Optioned included (1) Black Sea Bass served with Poblano Potato Gratin, Beurre Blanc Saffron Sauce and Drizzled with Aged Balsamic Syrup, (2) Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon served with Pinot Noir Chanterelle Mushrooms and Truffle Demi-Glace, (3) Chicken Provencal, seared Breast of Chicken with Mushrooms, Tomatoes & Basil in a White Wine Butter Sauce, or (4) Grilled Vegetable & Polenta Lasagna for the vegans. Everyone enjoyed the side of fresh spring mix salad with poach red wine pear, candy walnuts, crumbled bleu cheese and dressed with a perfectly aged balsamic vinaigrette and freshly baked dinner rolls with sweet butter.
A Real Treat
While dessert did include an assortment of mini sweets and hot coffee, the real sweet treat was the delightful chocolate fountain. The culinary centerpiece flowed with rich, decadent milk chocolate down to a spread of fresh strawberries, bananas, lady finger cookies, rice crispy treats, and dried fruit. Guests got into the action with their choice of base dipped into the flowing edible fountain to coat their treat in warm chocolate.
While the dessert action station offered something sweet, it wasn’t the only treat. Extensive lighting included pin lighting for tables, custom GOBO projection, colored up-lights, a 16’ x 9’ LED screen, and 50 LED panels transformed the space into Mellanox’s. The LED screens and panels would be used to play everything Mellanox, including displaying moving logos between video presentations. Pipe and drape hid the cords, power bases, DJ equipment, and created a structure for the VR (virtual reality) game area. Together with the executive lounge made up of two blue velor sofas and a marble & gold coffee table it created a beautiful piece of eye candy!
Extraordinary Life Experiences
It wasn’t all lounging about though! World-renown mentalist Kevin Viner dazzled guests with extraordinary illusions. The popular The “Selfie” Mirror Booth encouraged gets to interact with the modern take on photo booths. The Handwriting Analysts sat with guests going over their personalized analysis, revealing things about their personalities. For the risk takers at heart, casino games such as Poker, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Money Wheels and more drew them in. Everyone enjoyed watching the wine glass engravers hard at work, inscripting personalized messages into individual branded glasses.
The Next 20 Years
The real prize of the evening, however, was the speech and employee awards presented by CEO Eyal Waldman. His encouraging words and appreciation for the employees that made the 20 year anniversary party possible, roused the crowd. Uniformed applause broke out, filling the blue lit room. Employees joined him on the 9’x27’ stage to accept their awards with warm smiles. Guests left the anniversary, blue branded bags filled with their personalized glass and photo strips and a night full of memories that will last the next 20 years!