Welcome to the Wild Wild West. Many people told us that it was not possible to build a western town in a train station, but we had optimism and didn’t listen to them. And it was a good thing that we didn’t.
A unique western town was constructed where guests could roam throughout the town and socialize. The event space was divided into three décor and activity zones, so that it was like having three events in one. Zone 1 offered Food & Beverages, Zone 2 hosted the Saloon (bar & gambling) & Zone 3 showcased the Awards Theatre. The event was so successful because we were able to merge the feel of the Wild West with a modern style, western setting without losing the authenticity.
In Zone 1, an authentic western setting was achieved through the use of western backdrops & storefronts, wagon wheels, hay bales, fencing, western games, entertainment and activities. When guests checked in at Sheriff’s Office (registration), they were told to leave their guns here and were presented with a Cowboy Hat and Bandana to get them into the western spirit. Event and catering staff dressed in theme costumes of denim cowboy shirts, blue jeans, cowboy hats & bandanas greeted the guests. All event staff were wearing round name badges with the brown cowboy boot, which was the event image/brand.
A hearty western menu was offered for the cowboys, where they could dine with friends on red and white checkered linen seating vignettes scattered amongst the storefronts or relax on the porch of the various storefronts such as the Bank, Hotel or Blacksmith Shop. As the evening progressed, we turned the lights on behind the façades, so that it appeared that there was some sort of activity going on inside the various shops at night.
The Saloon façade was extremely large and acted as an anchor to the western town street. The façade had operational swinging doors and inside the Saloon we erected a 30’ long actual saloon bar complete with a mirrored backing to hold the alcohol bottles. The Saloon was enclosed with wooden fencing, giving it that authentic western feel. Saloon Girls invited guests to enter through swinging doors to discover a casino hosted by Wild West dealers in armbands, Bolo ties and derby hats – just like the Wild West days! This area encouraged networking and mingling, as guests played the casino in a fun, competitive environment. Optimism for the WIN!
A “western styled bank” was available to all guests giving them the opportunity to donate money to a charity of your choice in exchange for additional play money. The casino was complete with everything from play money, playing cards and poker chips right down to casino themed table décor, prize draw boxes, ballots and counting machines. Our staff facilitated several prize draws throughout the evening, allowing guests numerous chances to win prizes.
In the Saloon, a Honky Tonk Piano Player alternated sets with a Disc Jockey who played country and western tunes. Also present in this area, nestled in a vignette of hay bales & wagon wheels, was a Caricaturist Artist offering customized coloured western posters on the spot. We also wanted to bring in some modern western flavour, and did so with the inclusion of virtual Western games such as Western Wii and The Shootin’ Gallery.
One of the main event objectives of the event was that the awards portion of the event be kept a surprise until just before the ceremony. The Theatre Box Office entrance, one of the town facades flanked by 16’ tall black velour drapes, was kept closed until 15 minutes before the awards show. When the box office opened, we started to pop popcorn and the aroma enticed the guests to see what was playing inside the theatre. We had designed the awards stage to resemble an old fashioned Theatre Royale stage setting complete with gold velvet curtains and old west imagery on the wooden backdrop. Winning recipients were called up on stage by a Spoof Cowboy MC and were awarded their recognition plaques.
- Interesting registration backdrop (Sherriff’s office)
- Backdrops were 3D, functional and offered unique seating (on porches and verandas)
- Yellow fresh sunflowers in cowboy boots and milk pails tied with natural raffia
- Event staff in denim shirts, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, bandanas
- Signage was consistent and contained the event brand (brown cowboy boot with rope)
- Saloon doors were a great segway from one zone into another
- Saloon bar was an actual décor piece but was functional too
- Western Caricaturist drew electronic coloured caricatures on Western posters
- Saloon Girls and Honky Tonk Pianist added to the festive flavour
- Virtual western games such as Western Wii and The Shootin’ Gallery were interactive
- Casino Dealers wore theme costumes of derby hats, bolo ties and arm bands
- Theatre Royale Box Office offered an interesting entrance to the awards setting
- Theatre Royale stage offered a taste of the ol’ west with the velour drapes & imagery
- MC was a good visual in his over the top yellow foam cowboy hat and western attire
The event objectives were met through a creative décor, optimism and activity plan. Many guests commented that the fantastic western town décor setting was so amazing, that it encouraged conversation. The Saloon with swinging doors and Saloon girls offered a playful environment as guests approached the gambling area. We rolled the dice and Optimism won again!
And finally the concealment of the Theatre Royale behind the functional Box Office which was located in the town street, ensured that the guests were continually amazed and engaged, wondering what was going to happen next. It was as if the event décor was part of the event entertainment, as it came alive and encouraged guests to interact.
The event achieved all of the set objectives, as it transported guests into another time frame and allowed them to imagine life in the Wild West.
Case Study: https://brightideasevents.com/news/case-studies/optimism-summer-study-series/