Philly Best Events of the Year 2015 – And the TOP 5 Picks – With Info on Producers

So many great events happened in 2015, it was hard to choose, but I did. Let’s check them out. Criteria was definitely about execution, and participation of guests. I do try and find out who does what, but sometimes the event coordinators and or PR don’t know. Everyone who does these events should be recognized, some of them are just spectacular.

Founded by the local start up Chatterblast, the  Annual Flip Cup Championship at Field House brings together friends and family in the name of charity and serious competition to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Yep everyone seems to be participating and dressing the part.

Decor: Chatterblast Food: Field House

Each year the Young Friends of National Museum of American Jewish History hosts two big events, the “Midsummer’s Eve” Dance where guests wear white, and the Maquerade Ball: Celebrating Purim, where guests wear costumes. It’s a great organization to get young people involved in supporting the museum, and nearly everyone participates in dressing for the theme.

One of the best events this year was at the Eakins Oval, as “Future Sensations.” The exhibit, which celebrated the 350th anniversary of Parisian building materials company Saint-Gobain, featured five distinct light-up “pavilions” that weigh between 20 and 50 tons, and were between 13 and 32 feet tall. It wasn’t an earth shattering experience (more of an advertisement about what the company does for billionaire corporations), but because it brought Philadelphian’s together to experience it, as well as wait in lines for hours to chit-chat, it earns a place on the Best Philly Event’s list. Also Philly was the only spot in the USA it stopped on it’s tour, and we got lots of great press.

Diner en Blanc will always be on the list. Because seriously who would have thought 4500 would carry their own tables, food, and chairs; wear white to picnic with strangers in the rain at an undisclosed location. Again this is an experience, whether you do it once or all 4 times it’s happened in Philly. What I don’t understand is why people mock it or outright hate it. OK you don’t like it, why do you think it’s ok to be so mean about it and judge others? It’s not ok bully.
Above: Theresa Grady and Narberth Mayor Tom Grady make their way through the Navy Yeard to attend Diner en Blanc for the fourth time.

Event Coordinators of Diner en Blanc
Natanya DiBona and Kayli Moran 
PR : Aversa PR
Philly Style Magazine – their Best of PSM is always the hottest party of the summer. Alice in Wonderland is 150 years old this year, and PSM went with the theme and did a great job at it’s execution. Lots of different restaurants catered the event. Cashman & Assocs. did the PR
The Tall Ships were pretty spectacular despite the over hyped duck being lame
The Young Friends of the Academy Ball Monster Ball at the Ritz. It’s a standalone event, or you can purchase a year long membership which includes this event, a day at Radnor Hunt, a cocktail party and a stint on the Young Friends of the Academy Ball committee and ticket to the Ball every January. This year Martin Short will be joining the Philadelphia Orchestra on January 23, 2016. The monies raised at the event go to the restoration of the grand old lady of Locust Street.
TICKETS STILL Available for Concert and Gala
This year’s young gala chairs are Katie Gagnon and Cory Siegfried. Lexie Norcross, Philly Voice was the media sponsor for the party. This pix could easily been in the Philly Best Dressed column tomorrow too. 

  Jazz Age on the Delaware
Amazingly successful. Happy it was a reasonably cool August day.
Event Coordinators of Diner en Blanc
Natanya DiBona and PR : Aversa PR
With musical selections by Mole Street Productions
  aspireLIFE’s JAM 2015 for the American Cancer Society co-founded by George Azar, a 15 year survivor of cancer. It’s always a great time and turnout of his friends and family.
Held at Hotel Palomar 
Harry Connick Jr performs at Penn Medical 150th Anniversary. The set up was amazing. The tent had to be flown in from Germany, and was the largest one in existence in the world. The tent covered the entire top of the Art Museum Steps, including the fountain, which made for a glorious centerpiece. There was a gigantic LED screen behind the stage that showed a live view of the Parkway.
This is one of my favorite photos of the year. It was taken at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s “Discovering the Impressionists” Opening Gala. It was a crazy hot day. I had covered the Molestice earlier in the day, and it was a client event. I didn’t have time to go home and change, even though home was across the street from the Art Museum. To me this was a must cover event, and it had to be covered during the cocktail party. I like to choose the people I photograph, if you don’t arrive during the cocktail hour, but during the dinner hour, you don’t get the pixs you really want, just the shots people are willing to interrupt their dinner for to pose for you. Anyway, we’re so lucky to have such amazing institutes in our City. To have these galas where supporters pay $1,000 of dollars to attend these events, and the proceeds go to acquire more exhibits as well as fund art education at the museum. Below is what you would call the money shot. I always want to shoot Gerry Lenfest, he’s very philanthropic and an important person on the cultural scene. The museum’s PR built this shot for me as I told them who I wanted in it. I stood by the paintings I thought would be a good background, and the photo happened.
Jennifer Thompson, Curator, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Hannah Henderson, Trustee Emeritus, Board of Trustees, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Sally Sharkey; H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest, Chair Trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Gail Harrity, appointed President and COO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Franklin Institutes Vatican Splendors – Just amazing. Go see it, it’s there until
Food: Frog Commissary  
Music Production: Mole Street

Thank you Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office for Communications, Brian Tierney, Donna Crilley Farrell, Meg Kane, and City of Philadelphia for making this happen, and happen for me.
Many people had their hands in the production of this event, but none more than
ESM Productions

These are the Top 5 Best Events of 2015

The Friends of Rittenhouse Square hosted the 32nd annual Ball on The Square. Over 400 well-dressed
guests attended, dining on Starr Events Catering and danced to the
Eddie Bruce Orchestra
while surrounded by the beautiful decor of Evantine Design, all to raise funds for the popular park. – This year they are re-doing all the flower beds.
Audio/Visual/Lighting: Eventions
Food: Starr Catering

  The Best Decorated events this year were:
 The 25th Anniversary of Manna at the 23rd Street Armory. It’s a cavernous, cold space that houses military vehicles. Next door is Manna, the organization that provides delicious, healthy meals for people with chronically ill who said let’s turn that space into something special for our event. The space was transformed into a magical, lovely cocktail party with many lounges, plenty of seating areas including community tables, amazing lighting and flowers by Beautiful Blooms. The event production companies who pulled it all together were two new on the scene two companies Event Strategy Group and Mole Street Productions co-produced the 25th Anniversary Party.

On Saturday, October 31, 2015, Devereux, a leading national nonprofit
behavioral healthcare organization, hosted its annual Hope Gala at the
Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia with the theme “Into the Woods” making a mystical Halloween evening.
This year the gala was held on Halloween and the theme was a masquerade
black tie ball. Proceeds from the Hope Gala
benefits Devereux’s programs which serve more than 3,500 children and
with intellectual and developmental disabilities and behavioral health
challenges in southeastern Pennsylvania. The black-tie event included a
cocktail reception and a sit-down, buffet dinner by the Finley
Catering.  The gala’s
decorations were amazing, with trees, weeping willows and the most
magnificent table decorations by
Devereux in house Planning Committee
Hoffman Design Group, Inc.
Food: Finley Catering
The Philadelphia Zoo’s 6th Annual Global Conservation Gala. The proceeds from this gala will support the expansion of the world-leading Zoo360 network of animal exploration trails (see the trails in the ballroom). The Zoo Gala is always one of the most gloriously designed events, and this year they didn’t disappoint. Held for the second time at the Bellevue at the Hyatt, the Grand Ball Room was transformed as if you were eating dinner in the middle of the jungle with the animals roaming around you in the Zoo360. Event production was by the Zoo’s in house event planning team headed by Mary Love, who had a vision and she tapped Penncora to execute it.
Event Production: The Philly Zoo team headed by Mary Love
Decor: Penncora
Audio/Visual/Lighting: Eventions
Food: The Bellevue
My #1 pick for the best event of the year, with the criteria being decor, participation and execution ta da:
The Free Library of Philadelphia’s year-end gala, Through the Looking Glass: A Wonderland Ball, which took place on December 5, 2015. The theme of this black-tie affair celebrated the 150th publication anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Event Producers: Fred and Neil Stein of The Creative Group, Inc
Decor: Penncora
Lighting: Pro Vision
Food by:  Brûlée Catering