January 22, 2016

For years, JHE’s love of animals has been apparent from horses to donkeys, dogs to cats. It’s that love of animals coupled with a passion for event production that made a “yes” to the former Ryan Newman Foundation easy when asked to produce its annual dinner and auction.

Since 2009, JHE has been an integral event planner and producer for the fundraising affair that benefits Krissie and Ryan Newman’s nonprofit, Rescue Ranch. Rescue Ranch is nonprofit animal welfare organization that promotes respect for all animals through education; is committed to agricultural, environmental and wildlife conservation; and facilitates rehabilitation, rescue and responsible pet ownership in order to enhance the human-animal bond.

Entering the 11th annual event, JHE began planning discussions in April 2015 with an event theme of Dr. Seuss. Led by JHE’s Ann Nestor, implementation was officially underway in August when a sampling of the catering, décor and event setup was presented to Rescue Ranch.

To prepare for the Dec. 11 event date, Nestor engaged various in-house capabilities including audio, video, lighting, operations, transportation and creative services. The collaboration delivered a variety of assets and skills needed such as event signage, pipe and drape, video screens, guest registration management, run of show direction and vendor support.

JHE worked in partnership with Flowers from the Cellar to create the Dr. Seuss-themed centerpieces; Party Reflections to provide linens, furniture and food service equipment; and a tailored menu by La-tea-da’s Catering.

Dr. Seuss permeated the entire event including table decor, signage, stage backdrop, menu descriptions, photo booth, a live Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and 2 mascots and more.

To appeal to local Statesville residents, Rescue Ranch wanted to offer four and six-person tables, in addition to their traditional eight-person tables, so JHE developed table configurations for 56 tables varying in size to fit the Statesville Civic Center ballroom. 

With new themes and event setups often come new challenges. The biggest obstacle JHE had to overcome was available inventory and scenic elements. For prior events, the inventory was collected over the years and largely reusable. But with Dr. Seuss taking over, new assets, new signage and new ways to implement the theme were required; all at the same budget.

The hard work paid off. As guests departed the dinner, comments of praise were uttered to staff. The word “wow” was often conveyed from some of the 430 people in attendance.

In closing, we’ll borrow one of Dr. Seuss’ beloved quotes, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Ryan Newman, Rescue Ranch, Statesville, Special Events, Dr. Seuss, Charity, Dinner, Auction