1,100 Vendors and Visitors attend the “Big Game Experience” Showcase and Expo
The Big Game Experience presented by Westfield Garden State Plaza, which took place on Wednesday, May 22nd at the Meadowlands Exposition Center, was anything but the usual stuffy convention. It featured a hot line up of music, food and live entertainment as well as educational seminars to help the more than 1,100 attending event planners and area businesses prepare for when the Meadowlands hosts football’s biggest game in February.
The expo floor was hopping from 12 to 7 p.m. with live musical showcases at the Hank Lane Entertainment booth and performances of Broadway hits from Jersey Boys of Bounce Entertainment at the North Jersey Media owner’s Lounge presented by Westfield Garden State Plaza.
More than 140 vendors packed the trade show floor with booths featuring party themes and demonstrations of events including a sample tailgate party from Showstoppers and a massive display of concepts from Freeman. Groups from Hackensack, Mahwah, Secaucus, New York, Atlantic City and the Poconos were presented in themed areas that focused on downtown celebrations.
Maxum Cigars not only hand-rolled fresh smokes on the spot, it also raffled off two high-end humidors in one of the day’s most popular prize programs. Visual Impressions Photography’s booth featured photos of attendees in a choice of football-themed frames and at Audience Pleasers you could take a series of picture that would be animated in a commemorative book.
There is not enough space to name everyone but among the 20 restaurants and caterers were amazing and delectable concepts including gourmet cupcakes, seafood tacos, ethnic options from around the globe, and delicious sandwiches at every turn. Four wineries sponsored by Allied Beverage offered samples for every pallet.
NFL Giants Radio Commentator Bob Papa introduced ‘The Big Game Pros,’ a panel of industry heavy weights including Al Kelly, CEO of the NYNJ Super Bowl Host Committee; Wayne Hassenbalg President and CEO of the NJSEA; Frank Vuono, 16W Marketing; and Stephen Borg, President of North Jersey Media Group. They talked about the best strategies for companies throughout New Jersey to attract business from visitors to the Meadowlands.
That panel followed another titled ‘You Are the Big Game’ which included local business leaders and officials including Secaucus Mayor Mike Gonelli, John Saraceno of Onyx and Cliff Witmyer, founder of Cliffhanger Productions. These panelists discussed ways that local nonprofits and communities could benefit from the attention the region is receiving in the months leading up to the big game. Those who attended the seminars were able to receive Meeting Professional International (MPI) credits.
Following the expo portion of the day, the Meadowlands Exposition Center’s Expo lobby was transformed into an afterhours cocktail party sponsored by Classic Party Rentals with networking, music and dancing. This was catered by Vitella’s.
The Big Game Experience brand will live on after the expo, continuing to be a resource to connect local businesses with event and meeting planners at www.thebiggameexperience.com. This comprehensive website offers lists of venues in the areas and includes their available space and dates. It also features a calendar of events for the general public to use as a resource featuring parties in the weeks leading up to the big game.