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  • Writer's pictureMJ the eXperience eXpert

Vintage Circus Gala pt.1

Come one! Come all! Step right up for a delightful breakdown of the unique vintage circus gala that our owner coordinated in 2014. It was a fundraiser for the Austin Children's Shelter which is now a program of SAFE Austin. It was one of the first vintage circus themes to be done in Austin at the time.

The creatives behind the vision were Premiere Select, LookThinkMake, some incredible volunteer committee members and our very own Meghan.

It started with LookThinkMake pitching their theme idea of "The Flying Wunderkinds and the Amazing Feats of Giving". They generously donated their extraordinary creative design services to the event.

Image of printed marketing pieces

They professionally branded every last detail of the event from the Save-the-Dates all the way to the Menu Cards and Live Auction slides. You can learn more information about this event design including the awards it won by clicking here. We even had their custom-designed posters enlarged, printed on canvas and hung in-between the vintage circus posters in the pre-function space to help create a stimulating backdrop near registration.

acrobat posing in front of vintage circus posters

The Gala was held at the Hyatt Regency Austin, in the (at-the-time) brand new Zilker Ballroom. We utilized both floors of their pre-function space and filled it with vintage circus games, so our guests felt like they were playing at the midway during cocktail hour before entering into the Big Top.

This event was completely themed and branded from beginning to end. When the guests pulled up to the event they were greeted by a Tightrope Walker. Once inside, in addition to the games and vintage circus posters there were various performers mingling throughout the cocktail hour, provided by Austin Oddities & Entertainment.

Also during the cocktail reception prior to the start of the event, the guests had the opportunity to browse the raffle packages and purchase raffle tickets to win those prizes. As you can see, everything matched the theme, all the way to the volunteer raffle ticket sellers.

Now that you have seen the look and feel of the pre-function space during the cocktail reception, let's take you under Big Top! Between the limited non-profit expense budget and the rigging standards of the hotel, we had to get creative with how to execute our original vision. The planning team were able to put their heads together to think outside-of-the-box and pull off a one-of-kind concept! The main ballroom entrance was draped with giant canvas, and once inside, the ceiling was draped with billowing fabric to create the illusion of being inside of a circus tent.

I know you are thinking, "BORINGGGGGG... it has been done." Well, here is where it gets interesting! The room layout of over 60 tables, two regular stages, three round stages and a dance floor is where the fun begins. The room was set in a circular pattern around the three round stages, to complete the three-ring circus feel.

The twist on the idea was that, as a guest at your table, you were actually backstage looking onto the stage versus being in the audience at a circus. No detail was left unturned when it came to the brilliant design from Ken and his team! The centerpieces varied from the Ringmaster top hat, a circus performer hat with feathers and the illuminated, faux, make-up mirrors that were hollow so that you could see the guests across your table. The napkins were placed in a box to mimic a tissue box.

The backdrop for the main stage was adorned with sandbags as if you were backstage. The crushed red velvet tablecloths, classic chivari chairs and roses also played a part in rounding out the vintage circus theme.

To explore The Flying Wunderkinds and Amazing Feats of Giving evening program, fundraising and performers further, be sure to read Part 2.


Moxxie Concepts is a Texas-based event management and consulting agency. Our eXperience eXperts offer a high-level, customized consulting service that advances an event concept to completion, while focusing on achieving the event goal(s) throughout the detailed planning process.

By partnering with Moxxie Concepts you will get out of the planning weeds and be able to focus on the event elements that require your attention; whether that be your guests, your donors, your clients, the media, the VIP attendees, etc... you name it, because you will have time for it.

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