The days surrounding the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit are busy times for event planners, caterers and car brands alike. One of the big parties on the Jan. 19 Charity Preview night was Bank of America’s afterglow reception at The Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney

“The entire event was spectacular. We included many new and on-trend components,” says planner Rebecca Schlussel of Star Trax Events in Ferndale. 

For the second straight year, Star Trax advisors Shannon McConnell and Jennifer Ajlouny produced the event attended by more than 300 guests. Attendees were welcomed by a custom red carpet and life-sized ice sculpture/servers ready with champagne upon arrival. A Modern Motown Event, entitled “A New Town in the Best City,” featured a full feast plus Faygo floats and Saunders fudge-smothered doughnut holes.

“From beginning to end, the ambience was warm, sleek and inviting,” adds McConnell, Star Trax’s senior event director. “Nothing was missed.”

Live violin musicians put a modern spin on Motown while a massage station with custom slippers, elegant linen, floral and décor invited guests to relax. Video mapping featured a display of Detroit through the years and mirrored bars and tables, elegant draping, lighting and sound all added to the modern Motown mood.

“I am so grateful and appreciative for the team that made Motown a hot hit! From the invite, to the great interactive art experience, phenomenal food, décor and entertainment, it was creative, innovative, engaging and fun. Thank you, Star Trax, for your hands-on support and care,” says Bank of America Detroit Market Executive Tiffany S. Douglas after the event.

Forte Belenger of Troy handled caterer duties and Gerych’s Distinctive Flowers of Fenton provided the décor and floral. Lighting, sound and video mapping was coordinated by Star Trax Event Productions. 

Options for unconventional seasonal gatherings abound across the state. 

From cities teeming with bright lights to snowy small towns, Michigan is a winter wonderland. If you’re looking for a way to make your event or post-event outing more festive, consider these unique holiday offerings. 

Peacock Road Family Farm 

Laingsburg

 

After 36 years as director of the CVB, Peter Fitzsimons is retiring. By Shelley Levitt

In 1985, Peter Fitzsimons, a former hotel general manager, became the executive director of the newly formed Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau. He never left. In June, the 73-year-old Detroit native announced that he’d be stepping down from the role at the end of the year. 

MIM+E: When did you begin your career in hospitality?

 

It began as the first Cadillac dealership outside of Detroit, then became a roller rink in the 1950s. Now, the High Five GR is reopened as a premier event space in downtown Grand Rapids. The original roller rink hardwood floors remain, as do the vaulted ceilings and oversized arched windows that showcase the city lights. What’s new is a state-of-the-art a/v system and an event team that can create custom floorplans and organize set up/teardown and load in/out logistics.