Event Case Study: The Star Brings Home Gold for Australian Olympic Committee

Australian Olympic Fundraising Dinner
Australian Olympic Fundraising Dinner

NAME: Australian Olympic Committee – One Year to Go Appeal

TYPE: Gala Dinner

CLIENT: Australian Olympic Committee Inc.
PAX: 700

On Wednesday 5 August 2015, the Hon. Mike Baird, Premier of New South Wales was joined by 70 Olympians at The Star Event Centre, to help raise funds to prepare and send the Australian Olympic Team to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The event was a banquet dinner with a number of high profile attendees.

Combining brilliant Brazilian entertainment led by Australian entertainer Todd McKenney and Olympic theming, the Event Centre was appropriately decked out in a wash of gold, silver and bronze décor to motivate the athletes and the fundraising. The Star events team worked closely with the Australian Olympic Committee representatives to seamlessly deliver a delectable three course Brazilian banquet for 700 guests.

The evening’s entertainment comprised of performances from a range of entertainers including a troupe of Brazilian dancers and the Australian Girls’ Choir. Well known media personality Samantha Armyytage was the MC and NSW Premier Mike Baird made an engaging speech. The auction conducted by David ‘Kochie’ Koch, included items signed by high-profile Olympians on the night.

The Star literally rolled out the red carpet for the black tie event. VIPs, Olympians and other high profile guests entered the Event Centre where performers from dance troupe ‘Rhythm Brazil’ welcomed attendees as three Brazilian drummers and a DJ spun rhythmic tunes from the elevated Event Centre staircase. Guests were further greeted with a selection of beverages, including NV Domain Chandon Brut and Phillip Shaw Pinot Gris, as well as a selection of other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

In addition to the gold, silver and bronze décor and Brazilian themed entertainment, a unique Brazilian inspired menu was crafted by Chetan Agho, Chef De Cuisine at the Event Centre, with each dish complemented with a short description on the table menus. Guests dined on succulent spanner crab with a baby gem salad, mango lime salsa and cashew praline for the entrée, slow braised lamb shoulder accompanied by creamy polenta and kale for the main course, and topped off with a scrumptious dessert of The Star’s prized vanilla panna cotta with strawberry sorbet, honeycomb, meringue and fresh seasonal berries.

To accommodate the signing of auction items by Olympians, the Attic at the Event Centre became the perfect venue space, hosting an operable wall to section off the area throughout the duration of the function. Four clothed trestle tables were placed along the back wall and all of the auction items were brought to the area for signing, including three full size Australian flags framed and placed on easels.

Australian Olympic Team sponsor Swisse, were accommodated cleverly with their branded hand soaps placed in all bathrooms for use by guests.

The large delegation of attendees travelling from interstate presented an accommodation challenge which was easily met by The Star’s range of onsite hotels, The Darling and Astral Tower and Residences, ensuring all attendees had a comfortable, streamlined and convenient stay.
As a fundraising goal-orientated event, another challenge was to ensure the budget was strictly adhered to ensure maximum return on investment for the Australian Olympic Committee. The Star’s thorough planning and in person briefings, coupled with an extensive and easily digestible run sheet, ensured the delivery of every aspect of this event was perfectly within budget. The Star also provided in-house security escorts to ensure the safe collection and transportation of all funds raised on the evening.

Feeding all  700 guests seated around 63 themed banquet tables for the three course dinner was already a tall order, and one which was made nonetheless more complicated by the  50 unique dietary requirements from various guests. Effortlessly adapting to these requirements, the banquet team and wait staff were able to meet these culinary constraints and accommodate all special requests with aplomb, exceeding all expectations.

The huge contingent of entertainers – including a 24 person strong Brazilian dance troupe, 12 piece band and 50 Australian Girls’ Choir performers – presented a unique challenge in terms of finding the resources, space and facilities to accommodate absolutely everyone in comfort. In response, The Star developed a run sheet which was strictly adhered to and outlined to-the-minute arrivals, while ensuring all crew and performers had dedicated backstage/dressing room areas with food and refreshments provided during their stay.

In addition, to accommodate Olympians signing auction items, the Attic at The Star was converted quickly and seamlessly from a backstage area, into a dedicated signing area, and then back again within the space of half an hour.

The Star have been great to deal with. We worked well together to deliver this event – which doubled as an important fundraiser for our 2016 Australian Olympic Team. The venue worked very well, and The Star’s management on site was attentive and seamless. Our guests and Olympians enjoyed the Dinner – so we are happy – and we are pleased to have re-booked for our second major Sydney dinner in 2016.

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