This has been one of the busiest Augusts I can remember in many years. When I was younger, having a mid-August birthday meant families were taking end-of-summer vacations and not around to celebrate, or we were moving from one Air Force base to another so I could start yet another school without missing any lessons. As I aged, August meant, “Oh no, another birthday is rolling around,” or it meant corporate work for entertainers had nose-dived and thank goodness, the start of “season” was just around the corner. Unlike all those other years, (except for my birthday crash landing with a chronological number that I have yet to comprehend could be mine), this August has flown by like our backyard ducks when a predator bird comes swooping in. I’ve been on several press trips (which you’ll hear more about in next blog post), worked some fun gigs as Natasha, The Psychic Lady, and visited with friends & family. Next week we attend the annual Central Florida Film Festival in Ocoee, FL: 3 days of non-stop independent movies and after-glow events.
September looks like it’s ready to burst onto the scene, so before that occurs, here are some final summer activities, hotel promotions, and planning tips for the fall.
Just in time for a thrilling summer conclusion, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino opens VooDoo Zipline, a ride that will send guests soaring higher than 400 feet in the air at electrifying speeds, offering 360-degree open-air views of the Las Vegas Strip. “Rio has always been known for having some of the best views in Vegas. Now thrill-seeking guests can enjoy the legendary views that VooDoo Steak and VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub are best known for – from an entirely new dimension,” said Kevin Donnelly, director of hotel operations at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The one-minute and 10-second zip ride will launches from VooDoo Lounge, located atop Rio’s 50-story Masquerade tower. Guests then cascade more than 800 feet to the nearby tower Ipanema, reaching speeds up to 33 miles per hour. You do not have to do this alone! VooDoo Zipline can accommodate two riders and will feature a return trip, where guests will ride an additional 800 feet to the starting point facing backwards, a total ride of nearly one-third of a mile. http://www.riolasvegas.com/things-to-do.html
The United Way of White County’s fall fundraiser sounds like a great family event. Hillbilly Hog BBQ Throwdown and Fall Leaf Festival once again takes at BabyLand General® Hospital in Cleveland on October 25th & 26th. Past events such as the pro & amateur BBQ contest, Kid’s Q, and Piglet Playland are back, but more has been added to the entertainment mix.The group has contracted to have a special Meet & Greet session with Troy Landry and Brandon Hotard as seen on the Swamp People® television series. Attendees will have two opportunities to meet the special guests. A V.I.P. Meet, Greet & Eat $50 package includes admission into the V.I.P. area and a chance to meet Troy Landry and Brandon Hotard from the Swamp People® series on History®, a BBQ plate provided by White County Farm Bureau, an autographed picture of the celebrities, a commemorative souvenir and admission into the main BBQ event. The V.I.P session will begin at 1PM. Space is limited. For the V.I.P Meet, contact Heather, 706-809-0139; firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s are other packages as well, starting at $10. www.hillbillyhogbbq.com.Tickets can be purchased online at the website above via PayPal or arrangements can be made by contacting Matt Adams at email@example.com or at 706-865-3177.
HOTELS REDO & RE-ENERGIZE
Wanna bet on the success of Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati’s latest venture, a state-of-the-art sports restaurant and lounge called Heraea? Owned and operated by The ONE Group, the fall opening will be the third and final restaurant to open inside the downtown casino. Inspiration for the new restaurant comes from the Heraean Games, the first athletic competition for women in ancient Greece. There’ll be a prominent DJ booth, great music and cutting-edge audio visuals. The outward facing restaurant for 190 max will be located inside the casino adjacent to the main entrance. Expect a menu of classic American food with whimsical twists. www.horseshoecincinnati.com
Look out New York. New Jersey is gunning for your convention business with their plan to building the largest meeting and conference facility in the Northeast. The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (NJ CRDA) and Caesars Entertainment are partnering to build the 250,000-sf facility at a cost of $125.8 million. Caesars plans to use $45 million of funds it previously contributed to the NJ CRDA and more than $80 million of equity to complete the project. The 250,000-sf facility will house 125,000 sf of meeting space to complement the Atlantic City Convention Center; two 50,000-sf pillar-less ballrooms, each divisible into as many as 27 separate breakout rooms; as well as additional breakout areas, grand promenades and dedicated banquet kitchens and support facilities. The new facility will be located on the southwest corner of the Harrah’s Atlantic City property, connecting seamlessly to the existing meeting space. www.caesars.com
Like a proud parent unwilling to choose one child over another, Caesars Entertainment is also partnering with Rock Gaming and CBAC Gaming LLC to complete a $400 million facility in Baltimore, MD by late 2014. Horseshoe Baltimore will feature an outward-facing urban casino design, three premier restaurants, several bars and restaurants, and a multi-purpose entertainment space. And wait: there’s more. (Forgive me: after seeing too many infomercials, I just had to casually drop that phrase into the conversation.) There’ll also be a full complement of casino games and 7,670 sf of function space and 4,615 sf of pre-function space in the 335,000-sf property. www.cetmeetings.com
Before Spring of 2014 can tap dance into view, Harrah’s Rincon in Valley Center, CA will have added 23000 sf of new meeting space that will connect to a spacious outdoor patio. The expansion includes a luxurious hotel tower with more than 400 rooms, increasing the room and suite totals to 1,065. www.harrahsrincon.com
You may want to check out the new (and as yet unnamed) restaurant being built by the Inn on Fifth in downtown Naples, FL before making reservations for your Christmas dinner. The $1.5 million 7,000 sf restaurant with 240 seats and a private dining room for up to 60, is being constructed on the site of the McCabe’s Irish Pub & Grill located at its iconic Fifth Avenue South location. The broad menu of classic American cuisine will focus on grilled entrees for lunch and dinner, as well as breakfast seasonally. Initial plans include an extravagant, island bar and electric sliding windows offering an open-air dining space along the restaurant’s exterior on Fifth Avenue South and the adjacent Sugden Plaza. Local firm Kukk Architecture & Design, P.A are the architects; Deangelis Diamond is the builder; and world-renowned interior architecture and design firm Jeffrey Beers International is designing the interior. www.innonfifth.com
I’ve been to The Meritage Resort and Spa, so when I proclaim its beautiful setting among private vineyards, gardens and statuary, I am not just handing you some hype. This magnificent Napa Valley complex, just six miles outside the City of Napa limits, had a mid-July opening for a deck in its hillside of vineyards for weddings and wine receptions. The 1,968-sf Meritage Vineyard Deck for up to 200 nestles into the 9-acres of hillside vineyards located directly behind The Meritage Resort and Spa and can be accessed via the stairs near the entrance to the Estate Cave. Constructed with composite wood evoking an old-world, natural style, it includes 143 sf under the gazebo and a 1,329 sf pre-function deck. An access road has been improved to allow for ADA access and event deliveries. PK Architects designed the project, which was built by Midstate Construction. For those of you not familiar with this property, The Tuscan-inspired Meritage Resort and Spa has 322 rooms, 50,000 sf of event space, including the two largest ballrooms north of San Francisco and west of Sacramento, the stunning Estate Cave and the intimate Our Lady of the Grapes Chapel. They have their own tasting room, Trinitas Cellars Tasting Room, and is home to Spa Terra and Siena, its signature restaurant. TheMeritageResort.com/Napa-Valley-Weddings and TheMeritageResort.com/California-Conference-Resort
“A steakhouse is an essential part of a Las Vegas resort and BLT Steak is one of the most renowned steakhouses there is,” said David Hoenemeyer, President of Bally’s Las Vegas, who just happens to be opening said restaurant inside Bally’s Las Vegas in early 2014 with partner, ESquared Hospitality. BLT Steak joins Bally’s exciting center-Strip revitalization which includes the addition of VÉRONIC Voices, Drai’s After Hours and the revitalization of Bally’s South Tower. VÉRONIC Voices, co-produced by Celine Dion, opened in June and features the unique talents of Véronic, the only female tribute artist of her kind who pays homage to the most popular female recording artists in the world. BLT Steak takes over the space currently housing Bally’s Steakhouse but will expand to more than twice the size, to 9,300 sf. Featured is a curving bar and accompanying lounge with 50 seats, 184-seat main dining room which can separate into small, intimate rooms or used for special events up to 100 guests. A fireplace will serve as the centerpiece of the dining room. Rich wood finishes with a back drop of warm neutral tones will be highlighted with accents of polished stainless steel, amber, and tangerine. BLT Steak first opened in New York in 2004 and has become known for airy golden Gruyère-laced popovers and staples such as including tuna tartare, chopped vegetable salad, Dover sole, peanut butter chocolate mousse and, of course, legendary USDA Prime and Certified Angus® steaks. The wine list is modeled after other BLT Steak Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence” award-winning lists and will feature more than 500 wines with Old World selections from the regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Piedmont, Tuscany, Riojo etc. www.ballyslasvegas.com
EARN REWARDS WHILE HAVING FUN
Book your holiday party at Fogo de Chao Orlando for 15 or more guests by October 31st and hold the event in December and you’ll receive a special offer! Mention ‘Tis the Season at the time of booking to be eligible for the upcoming gift. Contact Kiff Gelbwaks, 407.242.5941; OrlandoEvents@Fogo.com
Love the variety of dining, shopping, live entertainment, recreation options underneath Gaylord Hotels’ signature glass atriums and they’re making an offer you may not want to refuse. Book their Endless Summer Vacation package by Sept. 25 and stay by October 31 and you are eligible for a $50 or $100 nightly resort credit (depending on the resort) and a room upgrade (based on availability). Call 800-228-9290 and ask for promotional code ZX0. Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando has with Celebration Golf Club, one of Orlando’s premier golf facilities, for an exciting Florida golf experience that’s available until September 30. The $244* package price includes one night room accommodations at Gaylord Palms Resort; one round of golf for two people or two rounds of golf for one person; bucket of range balls; and transportation to Celebration Golf Club. Co-designed by the renowned masters of golf course architecture, Robert Trent Jones Senior and Junior, this course is unlike any other in the nation with undulating swells and topography. For tee times, call the Concierge Desk or the Golf Shop at 407-566-GOLF (4653) Ext: 3. Reservations must be made two days prior to arrival. Use promotional code ZJ4. www.gaylordhotels.com
It’s not often I get to promote job openings, but Stache 1920’s Drinking Den is looking for talent in four cities: New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Stache presents nightly Burlesque, Cabaret & Vaudeville Shows. Here’s what they need. Send your talent resume with current photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
burlesque & cabaret ; flapper girls; fetish; contortionists; acrobats; comedians; magicians; aerialists ; angle grinders; circus shows; fire shows; fire breathers; fire jugglers; fire eaters; fortune tellers; human statues; illusionists; impersonators; jugglers; living statues; look-a-likes; mimes; plate spinners; strongmen; stilt walkers; unicyclists; and ventriloquists.
Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries. She is a Contributing Editor-Writer for Prevue Magazine and is an active member of ISES and MPI. She writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, Karen has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. email@example.com; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady