Cabin Fever by ESP Inc.

Throughout the epidemic, one of the largest obstacles for philanthropic and non-profit organizations was their ability to stay in touch with donors. They could not congregate inside the gallery due to COVID, so the ESP Inc team created an outside event that had a cabin-like feel and allowed for social seclusion. The event was successful thanks to ESP, Inc.’s hard work and is nominated for “Best Event for a High-Profile Charity.”

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is the largest publicly funded gallery in Canada that focuses exclusively on Canadian and Indigenous art, both historical and contemporary.

The purpose of the event was donor engagement. The pandemic made it difficult for organizations like McMichael to stay connected with donors, so they wanted an event that would entice donors to come to the gallery and to meet directly and in person.

The event was appropriately named Cabin Fever, referring to the psychological symptoms of restlessness, irritability, and loneliness that a person experiences when they are confined to their home for extended periods.

The event theme was inspired by the gallery’s natural landscape and environment in the village of Kleinberg. Donors travelled to the country to see the beautiful grounds of the gallery, experience nature, enjoy the cottage-inspired menu & libations, get uplifted by the various entertainment, and some even danced.

Upon arrival, guests walked the winding path through the trees to an archway made of greenery, providing an entranceway to the event. Groups of guests were assigned seats in furniture groupings that were physically distanced.

The event design was inspired by upscale cottage country Canada, inspired by nature. Furnishings were made of natural elements, including wood, metal and leather. Red and black plaid blankets were placed on random seats for warmth as the evening cooled. Florals used local plants and greenery and are thoughtfully sustainable.

Food was inspired by Canada’s land, sea and air. Hors d’oeuvres and small plates were passed, so guests did not have to leave the comfort and safety of their lounge. Canadian wine, beer and spirits were also butler served to guests, along with a featured cocktail made with Canadian Whisky.

Entertainment was curated throughout the evening, starting with the modern jazz trio led by Richard Underhill, a headline set by Kevin Hearn of the Barenaked Ladies and an energetic performance by Don Kerr’s Communism.

Congrats to everyone who helped make this event a great success, & good luck at the Canadian Event Awards Gala from  Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex on Sept 28, 2022. The CEA Gala is the last event of CSE Live 2022, EventFest, Canada’s premier event for Canadian event professionals and can be found here.

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