Friday, February 24, 2012

Planning a Gala? Here's how to do it!

Put on your dancing's that time of year again!
"Expect the unexpected, because it's going to happen.  It always does." 

These sage words were uttered by Stormy Lundy, Event Manager at the Reading Terminal Market's Catering Division less than 24 hours before the Valentine to the Market Gala Fundraiser, which takes place out of hours in the Market itself this Saturday.  (To buy your tickets to the Gala, go to

Stormy sounded surprisingly calm, bearing in mind that she is co-ordinating the catering contributions of some 70 Market merchants and has to event manage one of the largest parties of the year at the Market. 

Over 600 guests are expected to dance the night away in the hallowed aisles and avenues of the Market this Saturday night.

Based on her inestimable experience catering and stage managing events large and small, Stormy offered the following nuggets for party planners everywhere...

  1. There are never enough bars!  Guests don't like to be kept waiting for their drinks, so make sure that you have enough drinks stations dotted strategically around the venue.  Keep the lines short!
  2. Be over generous on your drinks estimation.   it's difficult to best guess how much people will consume and even what they'll consume.  As Stormy recalls from a previous party: "We ran out of white wine, which is unheard of!  The event took place at the end of Winter and there was a largely male crowd, who you'd expect to drink red wine or beer and we just ran out.  We fixed the situation quickly enough, but you have to be on your toes and prepared to react to the unexpected."
  3. People eat more than you expect in the course of an evening, particularly at a Gala.  Stormy comments:  "Because the Valentine to the Market is actually at the Market people are expecting a very high standard of food and they are literally preparing for the party even now.  They're getting their stomachs ready...cutting back on food now so that they'll ready to go on Saturday.  We suggest to the merchants that they work out what they sell to the general public on a normal day at the Market -- and then double it."
At this year's Valentine to the Market, over 95% of the merchants will be involved on the night, showcasing Market favorites (such as DiNic's pork sandwich or Cheesesteak from By George) or dreaming up new recipes for the delectation of Valentine guests. 

Joining the merchant roster this year is the Down Home Diner, which will be serving up ribs and collard greens and salmon and sweet potatoes and according to Stormy, The Shangai Gourmet is "promising quite a spread."

Stormy's crew will be serving an interesting cocktail specially that night... 

It's a Basil Gimlet and it sounds delicious. 

Also on the drinks menu on tap - at the new gastropub Molly Malloy's - is the chocolate anniversary Market stout called Engine 1892 Market Stout.

Please join us this Saturday for what promises to be an amazing gala event dedicated to a celebration of one of Philly's top tourist attractions - the Reading Terminal Market.

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