It is not often that facial hair makes a relevant appearance in a
discussion involving event trends. However, the mustache has been
doing just that. While the actual decision to grow this distinct line
of hair still raises eyebrows in the fashion world, its appearance in
fake handlebar form is getting support on all event fronts.
The mustache trend has its roots in Missouri. St. Louis is home
to the highly publicized, tongue-in-cheek American Mustache Institute
(AMI). AMI promotes itself as “an advocacy organization
protecting the rights of, and fighting discrimination against, mustached
Americans by promoting the growth, care and culture
of the mustache.” Each year the Institute hosts a ‘Stache Bash
raising funds for nonprofits, and it isn’t the only group bringing
the mustache to events.
Across the country, clubs, associations, offices and nonprofits
have been hosting mustached-based parties in various forms.
Handlebar mustaches are everywhere in the event world, even
children’s birthday parties.
They have become one of the most popular props for event photo
booths, and even wedding parties are embracing the trend, posing
for staged pictures in fake handlebar mustaches. Planners
can get their hands on a variety of ‘staches from self-adhesive to
chocolate, and handcrafted-on-a-stick to printed-on-a-mug.
QR codes at events
They have been around since 1994, but it is unlikely that you
have seen or understood these square-shaped, speckled boxes
showing up in ads, at the movies, in magazines and at your local
shopping center until recently. MM&E first introduced these codes
in the spring 2011 issue. They are called Quick Response codes,
or QR codes. They are two-dimensional bar codes easily readable
by smartphones. They can hold encoded information such
as text or a URL, and present a limitless world of possibilities for
event and meeting planners.
Some initial ways to include QR codes in your next meeting or
event is to have them at a trade show booth for attendees to scan
and retrieve handouts. In educational sessions or at conferences,
have a QR code available for attendees to access surveys, handouts
and speaker contact information. Promotional companies
can embroider or screen print QR codes on t-shirts, hats, mugs
and more. If your event has its own mobile application, display
QR code access to it around the venue. Or consider making QR
codes the event by hosting a QR code scavenger hunt.
Users of QR codes for meetings and events do have a few words
of warning. Never assume all attendees will have the ability, knowledge
or desire to use QR codes. If using a QR code to share vital
event information, be sure to offer attendees other ways to access
that information, whether online or through printed materials. Make
your QR codes big, especially when you need a large crowd to
scan them, and be sure to test them out. Finally, remember that QR
codes are new to many people. So consider offering your attendees
a simple tutorial on using them. Contact [email protected]
for ways you can use these codes at your next event.
Sweet Treats of the Moment
Sweet treats are always in style. However, the latest love-fest on
the dessert menu is always changing. While we all still adore
cupcakes, the recent talk in the dessert world has been all about
pie – eating pies, preparing pies, using fresh and local produce
for pies. Indeed, the love of pie is ripe for this moment in food
trends, and Americans are responding. In 2010, Americans ordered
722 million servings of pie at restaurants, an increase of
12 million slices compared to the previous year, according to
NPD Group, a leading global provider of consumer and retail
market research information for a wide range of industries.
While a simple incarnation of this trend is to serve pie at your next
event, many creative planners are serving up this trend with panache.
Pie baking parties are making their way through kitchens
from coast to coast. Local bakers are offering lessons for groups,
providing all the ingredients, an abundance of simple tips and
sometimes even vintage aprons. These parties are great for small
fundraisers, team building exercises, bridal and baby showers,
children’s birthdays or an intimate retro get-together. Most of
these parties allow participants to enjoy a little pie at the end or
even have an entire pie to take home.
If baking is not the style for your event, consider weaving pie in
with pie shooters, pie shakes, pie parfait, a pie happy hour, pies
on a stick, baby pies or a pie food truck. Also, don’t limit your
guests to sweet pies. Savory pies are also part of this trend.