My Take on the BizBash Conference

By Amanda Kernan, Special Events Associate

Just the other day, I entered a world of “eventalicious” party planners, drag queens, and circus freaks and LOVED every minute of it.  After meeting up with my boss, PR guru Kim Walsh-Phillips and fellow event planner JJ Sheffer in the wee hours of the morning, we headed up to the Lancaster train station and caught a train to the Big Apple.  We were on our way to BizBash’s 10th Anniversary Expo and Awards at the Javits Center in New York City.

So, just what is BizBash? BizBash is one of the largest gatherings of the event and meeting planning community in the United States. To put it simply, it is every event planner’s dream!

From the moment I walked into the door and saw the vibrant pink, blue, yellow and green colors of the décor, I knew this was going to be a fabulous experience.

We headed over to the registration area and checked in.  We received name badges that listed our company and title as well as one of my personal favorite items of the day- our “swag bag.”  The “swag bag” was a bright green tote bag that we used to collect memorabilia such as exhibitor magazines, merchandise, free samples, t-shirts, and other giveaways that exhibitors threw our way. (By the end of the day, my bag seemed about 10 pounds heavier!) 

After checking in, we made our way down the escalator to where all of the festivities were starting to begin. There were already several hundred attendees and exhibitors getting ready for the big event.

Kim, JJ, and I went to the Morning General Session which started at 10:15 a.m on the main stage of the Expo.  The main stage of the Expo was decorated beautifully with long flowing vivacious linens provided by Rosebrand.  The session began with a wild drum and break-dance presentation that really got the crowd going.  Then, Chad Kaydo, Editor in Chief of BizBash and David Adler, C.E.O and Founder of BizBash spoke a few opening words to the crowd.  Following their speeches, Richard Aaron, President of BizBash addressed the attendees with his loud and entertaining manner.  Aaron introduced President and Chief Visionary Officer of Save the Date, Jennifer Gilbert, as the “eventalicious” (that’s where I got that word from earlier!) keynote speaker.  The two of them had an in-depth conversation about her career and how the event planning world is continuously changing.  It was very useful to hear the perspective of a hugely successful event planner (not to mention she starred on the cast of The Real Housewives of New York City, my guilty pleasure).  

 After this opening session, we headed out to the trade show floor where over 150 exhibitors were waiting to grab our attention with their innovative services and creative ideas.  A few of my favorite exhibitors were PBG Event Production and Rentals, Abigail Kirsch, Gifted Expressions, DJ Chef, Nuage Designs, Twig& Fig, Screaming Queens, and Cirque-Tacular.  PBG Event Production and Rentals offers illuminated furniture, décor, linens, and event lighting and their booth was definitely illuminative in nature.  It was gorgeous.  Gifted Expressions showcased their trendy stackable gift box ideas that incorporated companies’ logos and creative wrapping options. 

Looking for entertainment and a caterer all bundled into one for your next event? Look no further because I am sure that DJ Chef would ROCK your event. He is the only known entertainer who cooks gourmet food and deejays at the same time. (Trust me-we were sure to take advantage of his delicious free food samples!)   Twig& Fig had the most incredible event invitations that I have ever seen.  Literally.  From their use of metal engraving to the elaborate embossing and design, I was in stationary Heaven.

Last but definitely not least, Screaming Queens and Cirque-Tacular were the draq queens and circus freaks that I mentioned to you earlier in my introduction.  Have you ever heard of a living table?!  Screaming Queens provides just that.  Living tables or “strolling tables” are jaw dropping tables that have glamorous drag queens in the middle of them walking around your event with hors d’oeuvres, desserts, place cards, or party favors laid out around the table.

Cirque- Tacular Entertainment was also at the show and consists of aerialists, acrobats, jugglers, illusionists, contortionists, bullwhip artists, trapeze artists, fire performers, and much more. If none of these services liven up your party, you are definitely inviting the wrong people! We had the privilege of getting our own little free show as Cirque-Tacular performed during our lunch hour at BizBash.  We got a sneak peek of the jugglers, contortionists, and bullwhip artists. 

We walked around to several more exhibits and saw some mind blowing table designs which got our creative juices flowing for upcoming client events.

 Being the Social Media savvy individuals that we are, we were sure to stop into the Social Media lounge where all “tweets” and “wall posts” were welcome. (You can follow each of us on Twitter at @PRGuruKim, @AmandaKernan, and @bustedjj.)

As time flew by, we ended our day with the Afternoon General Session.  Upon walking into the main stage area, we noticed that there were drum sticks sitting on all of our chairs.  We picked up the drum sticks and eagerly awaited what was in store for us.  Then, as the session began, a performance by Drum Café wowed the audience.  We were summoned to perform right along with them by tapping our drumsticks together or by drumming away on the chairs in front of us.  The energy was contagious!  Following this performance, we were greeted by keynote speaker, Arthur Backal.  Backal, C.E.O and Founder of Backal Hospitality Group spoke to us about prospecting and maintaining clients.  Following Backal’s speech, the ever so lively Richard Aaron, President of BizBash, came back on the stage and ended the session with some spectacular door giveaways and a few closing words.  Although we were sad our adventure was coming to an end, we were excited to get back home and put some of these unique ideas to work!

So, there you have it-my journey to BizBash’s 10th Anniversary Expo and Awards in New York City.  My brain has been spinning ever since. The life of an event planner continues to amaze me day after day…

P.s- Check out more pictures from the event below.   


JJ, a member of Cirque-Tacular Entertainment, Myself, and Kim


nuagedesigns booth


Need a party to go?

Abigail Kirsch booth

One of the many beautiful centerpieces...

Very Clever 🙂

Richard Aaron, President of BizBash

Goodbye BizBash...See you again soon!


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