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Now that's a Green Party 

Innovation Awards are, well, innovative

SOME PARTIES are better than others. The food tastes more decadent. The champagne is bubblier. The red carpet runs just a bit longer. The guests laugh a little louder.

In an attempt to outpace the ordinary awards tradition, The Creative Coast Alliance (TCCa) has pulled out all the stops. The result of their out-of-the-box event planning – not to mention assistance from a multitude of local volunteers and businesses – is the 2008 Innovation Awards. Presented by Lott + Barber, this fete de soiree on Oct. 24 hopes to rise above the rest (but in sensible shoes - it is at the Roundhouse after all), while paying homage to local innovation.

“Innovation and sustainability go hand in hand,” says Tommy Linstroth, Head of Sustainable Initiatives at Melaver, Inc., who was instrumental in consulting with TCCa on earth-friendly event options. “When you look at some of the crises facing our planet—innovation and new technologies are going to help contribute to a sustainable economy and ecology for us and for future generations.”

Starting at square one, TCCa is able to offset carbon emissions from the awards banquet thanks to donations from Jason Wycoff at Renewable Choice Energy, a company dedicated to assisting individuals and businesses interested in offsetting carbon production from homes and offices.

This will include offsetting emissions from electricity to power the party and transportation to get guests there. In addition, preferred parking will be given to guests who arrive in alternative-fuel vehicles or who carpool.

Inside the event, lighting provided by Stagefront Presentation Systems incorporates LED and CFL bulbs to reduce energy consumption. Living plants will double as decorative centerpieces, which guests can take home to enjoy.

Earth to Table (Cha Bella’s catering arm) will cater the event, serving up a selection of organic and locally grown food, and will compost any leftover food scraps. Moon River Brewery will provide locally-brewed beer and cocktails served in corn-based, biodegradable cups. Reusable dishware will be used instead of disposable paper and plastic materials, and event recycling will be made possible by the City of Savannah.

“We’re hoping we can use this event as the benchmark for all the other awards programs, galas and soirees that go on in Savannah and demonstrate that not only can you put on a great event, you can really minimize the impact on the environment,” says Linstroth.

Sustainability will extend to the award ceremony itself, including programs printed on recycled paper using soy-based ink by local Spanish Moss printing, Eco-chic furnishings for the stage and cocktail lounge will be provided by local “green” retailer and furniture showroom Structured Green.

To ensure that the credo of environmental stewardship carries beyond the event, guests will receive reusable giftbags full of cool, eco-friendly goodies, including 13-watt CFL light bulbs (equivalent to a traditional 60-watt bulb, and lasting up to 10 times longer), provided courtesy of Georgia Power.

Even the trophies themselves will boast a green raison d’Être. TCCa has commissioned local artist/sculptor Jerome Meadows to design and create seven unique award statues to be presented to Innovation Awards winners.

“The pieces will focus on a sense of celebration and accomplishment in innovation,” says Meadows, whose goal is to make each prize valuable as an individual work of art.

“My goal is to create something that will turn the normal statue on its head,” Meadows explains. “It will be more than something that just hangs on a wall or sits on a shelf.”

Yes, it’s true. Some parties are better than others. Don’t miss the 2008 Innovation Awards, where the food is fresher, the guests are more creative and the red carpet is actually quite green. cs

Summer Simpson is a blogger and volunteer with The Creative Coast Alliance.

TCCa’s 2008 Innovation Awards

When: October 24, 6 p.m. cocktails, 7:30 awards ceremony Where: Historic Roundhouse Museum, MLK Jr. Blvd. and Harris. Cost: $75. Proceeds support services as determined by the TCCa Advisory Board. Info and Tix: innovation.thecreativecoast.org
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