Putting the icing on your meeting cake

An entertaining recipe for a delightful meeting experience


By Richard S. Pollak, Rainbow Entertainment/Special Event Services


Recipe for a delicious meeting:

1 scoop of light entertainment to greet all of your meeting attendees as they arrive at your conference. Here in the Southwest, we like to have “Big Texy”, the 12 foot tall western Cowboy stilt walker greet everyone (because as you know, everything is bigger in Texas!). You can really kick off the theme and enthusiasm of your entire conference, right at the front door! Imagine superheroes, high tech characters from outer space or even just a mariachi band to kick off your theme or let everyone taste just a  little of the southwest spirit that is in store for them. Clearly tell everyone we’re starting our conference off with a boom and a bang!


A few sprinkles of entertainment between meeting breaks. Appetize your attendees with more entertainment between sessions. Don’t stop the entertainment buffet because it’s time for the educational sessions. Breaks are a great time to refresh, nourish and re-energize your meeting attendees. How about quick- pick game, smooth jazz trio, strolling jugglers or even a crazy waiter to get everyone pumped up and ready for another seminar.


A dash of excitement for everyone as they board their buses for an off property sightseeing/shopping excursion. Oh! My god! There are cowboy rustlers on the bus, it’s a holdup! Cowboy characters have taken over the bus handing out bandanas, sheriff’s badges and bags of western shaped candies as we head on out to the  special venue while Black Jack, the strolling magician shows great slight of hand tricks. How about a lovely string guitarist serenading from the back of the bus or a quick game of conference trivia on the way to a manufacturing plant showcase or educational touring side trip.


 Low calorie, high carbs: Planners now are calling upon entertainment and special event services companies to go beyond the basic entertainment recipe of a red-and-white checkerboard turnkey barbecue and beer off-premise ranch here, in the southwest. They want more high carbs; high energy entertainment with a lower calorie; lower budget to match! With over 6,000 names that currently fill the Hollywood based Celebrity Black Book we now feature hundreds of outstanding Southwestern flavored national headline performers like B.J. Thomas, Eruka Badu, Bill Engvall and Charlie Pride, at a popular range of fees from $15,000-$150,000. However, more and more, the planners, who can not comfortably work within those budgets for national acts can now, turn to the entertainment professional who can reduce the caloric costs with regional southwestern home-grown fresh off the vine local stars. In the southwest, we can turn a meeting or event into a rip-roaring success for only $1500 TO $15,000 with our own regional entertainment recipes for success. If you can’t afford the caviar of entertainment like Willie Nelson himself, your entertainment menu doesn’t have to turn to  a hot dog budget when you can still enjoy Willie with impersonator, Sherman Burton singing- his own rendition of “My heroes have always been cowboys” at your next southwestern themed meeting.


The same old menu of entertaining at a conference here in the southwest used to be taking your event to one of those many turn-key western ranch-style facilities. For many years, entertainment at meetings in the southwest only meant a popular country

& western band with dance hall girls, trick poker strolling saloon card sharks, trick rope artists or even an interactive mechanical bull. There is a new modern twist to the old honky-tonk with the new flavors of southwest musical entertainment here in the southwest featuring:

 Texas Americana music, a blend of C&W and folk with artists like Pat Green, Ray Wylie Hubbard, 1100 Springs and the Lucky Pierres’ band.

 And the Mexican influences which has traveled north with the fiesta. The Ah-carumba theme is the second most popular to that of the honky-tonk.

Today entertainers from the southwest can take you far, far away to unique places with themes from around the world. We can now produce local themed productions for a Hawaiian luau, big city night of cool jazz, a glitz-glitter third coast movie premiere or authentic Irish folk/dance festival.


Regional menus can feature top acts like Vince Vance and the Valiants, Emerald City, Gary P. Nunn and Havana NRG.The diverse entertainment menu can also include any one of 3,000 southwestern performers from a Philippine folk dance troop to a Cher impersonator!


The main course: Before entering the grand ballroom at the conference gala, the entire group recalls how they were enthusiastically greeted with an explosion of sound, movement and color as the entertainment exploded right in front of their eyes. Your

Entire posse of attendees won’t forget the impact of their conference with a dynamic encore of a main course night of entertainment. The creativity is unlimited when it comes to entertainment. Meeting planners now challenge entertainment/ special event services companies, calling upon them to create unique themed events with a sky is the limit attitude. Today, there are resources in the Southwest through a diverse cultural network of performing arts groups that feature over 60 ethnic cultural performance troupes. With German Oktoberfest themes to South American Carnivale productions and over 35 musical stylings are readily available from the Yarborough and Peoples funk to Jeanette Brantley’s singin the Blues to Kirk Franklin’s gospel.


Do we still have room for desert? What better way to end a productive conference than with a real big bang. Just when your attendees though their plates where full, you give them the desert that they will never forget! It doesn’t have to be New York cheesecake when it can be a sweet southwestern sopapillas of southwestern songs by a serenading senoritas.

When the final bill arrives our attendees have had their fill of sweet tasting southwestern entertainment and the meeting planner has followed a recipe for success with a little icing on their meeting cake!