The Green Tie Gala is UNC Charlotte Alumni Association's annual scholarship fundraiser. I added a theme element to the event to keep people coming back for something new and unexpected each year. 2018's theme was Triple Crown, Kentucky Derby themed gala. As you can see, the guests get into the theme when they pick their attire.
The branding for this event was a nice challenge. How do I incorporate Kentucky Derby with an elegant evening gala? Especially when there were several details I wanted to use, including: betting chalkboard, jockey silks, roses, Kentucky bourbon barrels.
The solution is as you see below. As to not be too gaudy, the brightly colored jockey silks are minimized to the border and the horse, but still provide a nice color pop.
I didn't want to use the name "Kentucky Derby" or "Derby Days" because they felt a little too casual for a nice evening gala. The term "Triple Crown" ended up working perfectly since Charlotte is the Queen City and the University logo is also a crown.
I always want to bring to life the branding I use in the marketing materials. below you can see some of the aspects of the design that came to life at the event.
From the get-go, I knew I wanted roses to be the centerpiece of the decorations. As you can see, they were used in many different ways throughout the event.
As the bulk of the room was lit up in red, I knew I wanted to use the jockey silks to bring more color and brighten up the room. Table linens were the perfect way to accomplish this. As you can see below, the various different tables had various patterns, some full linens and others table runners as to not make the room gaudy in color.
You will notice on the screens on either side of the stage that I had vintage Triple Crown races being shown on loop - between the sponsor slides - throughout the night. This just added that extra little element in the background.
food & entertainment
Two bands were on hand for this event. The first was a bluegrass band that performed during cocktail hour to set the mood. The second was our party band that played dinner music and then opened things up after the scholarship presentation. They are a wonderful band that always dresses to the theme, as you can see below.
One of the real fun things I asked them to do that was just that little extra detail was to have their trumpeter play the "call to the post" for when doors opened for dinner. So really it was a "call to dinner."
For themed events, I always plan the menu around the theme. This year, we had bourbon glazed chicken, cheesy grits, pimento cheese deviled eggs, pimento cheese biscuits, bourbon meatball, and of course mint juleps for our VIP sponsors.