Children’s Cancer Research Fund’s DREAM Gala 2023

A long-standing tradition, DREAM, is the Twin Cities’ gala benefiting CCRF. CCRF crafts this annual event with exciting experiences, inspiring stories, and fabulous food, all for a meaningful cause: to end childhood cancer.



Imagine a day with better answers for childhood brain tumors. A day when cancer doesn’t strike the same fear as it does today. A day when we look back and see all the people, funding, and trials that made significant progress possible.

A day like that will take a night like this – DREAM Gala 2023

This year, the team at CCRF selected Heroic as their trusted production partner. Our collective planning began with the vision in mind: to move and motivate people to give. As staging and audio/visual design experts, we know how we can influence that effort. It begins with designing an immersive experience that surprises and delights the attendees. We applaud the team at CCRF for selecting just the right partners for success. Working alongside our friends at Festivities, we transformed Quincy Hall (already a beautiful venue) into a fitting backdrop for engagement and giving!



As always, Heroic’s main focus is ensuring our clients’ key messages are seen, heard, and felt. We ensured the best visibility for the 400+ seated dinner audience by strategically placing large projection screens throughout the stage and room. The program included awards, touching stories and tributes, and the very important live auction.

After the dinner and program concluded, attendees moved into a secondary area of the venue where they enjoyed a DJ, more activations, and a few late-night bites.

Under the direction and execution of Eric Perkins, Event Host, and Kristine Fladeboe Duininck, Live Auctioneer, we are proud to report the evening raised over $660,000 for childhood brain tumor research.

If you, too, want to get involved, visit CCRF here.


To see how we can make your next gala shine, contact us.

Visit our the DREAM Gala page to learn more about our partnership with CCRF.

Heroic Productions and the Gala Trifecta

Who said April showers only bring May flowers? At Heroic Productions, they bring back-to-back-to-back galas! Spring has been bustling at our headquarters as we dive into one gala after another. For our association and organization clients, galas are more than just glitz and glamor; they’re about making a real impact on important missions. And let’s face it, the success of a fundraiser often boils down to the greenbacks raised.

But here’s the kicker: it’s not just about flashy auctions. At Heroic, we take our AV production game seriously, especially when it comes to partnering with nonprofits. We’re all about ensuring their message resonates loud and clear.

Gala #1: Home for Life

The first weekend in May brought the Heroic team to the Home for Life Animal Sanctuary’s Spring Gala, a distinguished event dedicated to raising crucial funds for the sanctuary in Star Prairie, Wisconsin. This year’s special guest was none other than international actress and model Isabella Rossellini. Held in the breathtaking International Market Square with its multi-story atrium, the gala promised an unforgettable experience. Our mission? To create a captivating atmosphere in a vast space with challenging sight lines. Using cutting-edge technology, we synchronized dynamic lighting effects with gobo projections, amplified sound reinforcement, and high-definition projection to make Isabella’s presence even more impactful. Our team also ingeniously merged colored lighting and gobos to craft elegant design textures, immersing attendees in a truly captivating ambiance.

Home for Life Animal Sanctuary's Spring Gala

Gala #2: Children’s Cancer Research Fund

The second weekend in May brought the Heroic team to the Children’s Cancer Research Fund’s DREAM Gala, a cherished Twin Cities tradition. This annual event, benefiting CCRF, is beautifully crafted with exciting experiences, inspiring stories, and fabulous food, all for a meaningful cause: to end childhood cancer. As always, Heroic’s main focus was ensuring our clients’ key messages were seen, heard, and felt. We set the stage and overall room with large projection screens, ensuring the best visibility for the 400+ seated dinner audience at Quincy Hall. The event also featured an after-party with a live band. We equipped Quincy Hall with staging for the program, silhouetted the ceiling in CCRF’s signature purple, highlighted their green with a fun lighting pattern, and up-lit the speaker podium in a glowing pink.

As for the after-party, we created a lively stage for the band to kick off the night in style. We lit the room in a myriad of colors to match the theme. We even up-lit the cocktail tables in glowing pink to keep the energy high.

Children's Cancer Research Fund's DREAM Gala

Gala #3: VocalEssence 

The third weekend in May brought us the VocalEssence Celebration of Song Gala! Founded in 1969, VocalEssence is a global choral music powerhouse with deep Minnesotan roots. This gala was hosted at the DoubleTree by Hilton Bloomington-Minneapolis South, and it was all about fun and interaction. Guests enjoyed performances by the VocalEssence Chorus, Ensemble Singers, Singers Of This Age, and more. The program also featured a live auction and fund-a-need presentation with auctioneer Andy Imholte of Fladeboe Advancement. With an audience of 400, Heroic made sure the message was seen, heard, and felt. Using a ripple wall as the backdrop, we painted the stage blue and red and set up two projection screens so every guest had a perfect view. We also lit the ceiling with laser-like effects using LED moving-head fixtures, creating an electric, concert-like atmosphere.

VocalEssence Spring Gala

At Heroic Productions, our commitment to excellence shines through in every event we help create. This May, we were honored to support three incredible galas, each with its own unique flavor and purpose. From the heartwarming cause of animal sanctuaries to the life-saving mission of cancer research and the soul-stirring power of choral music, we brought our AV expertise to ensure each message was powerfully conveyed. We’re proud to be part of these meaningful experiences, helping our clients make a real impact in their communities. Here’s to many more successful events and to making every message leave a lasting impact!

To talk about how Heroic can help make your message seen, heard, and felt at your next event, contact us.

To learn more about the work we do with nonprofits, visit our website.

Perfecting Event Logistics: A Proven Plan for Seamlessly Moving Your Event Attendees

Moving your event attendees from one place to another to support your event’s goals and schedule can be a big challenge in event logistics, and sometimes, it feels a bit like herding cats. However, I recently attended the Raise conference hosted by OneCause in vibrant Nashville, TN, and there I had the pleasure of meeting Matt Newsom, a nationally renowned benefit auctioneer and fundraiser. In his enlightening session titled “Back to the Ballroom,” Matt shared a foolproof strategy for effortlessly guiding your event attendees between different spaces and activities. I’m excited to share Matt’s top tips, combined with my own experiences, to ensure your guests move with purpose and enthusiasm.

Mastering Event Logistics: 4 Tips for Guiding Attendees

1. The Grand Unveil: Make It Spectacular

The first trick is to turn the transition into a show-stopping event itself. Give your guests a compelling reason to want to move to the next space or activity and reveal it in a captivating way. This can be as straightforward as using dazzling lights and uplifting music, or as extravagant as having aerialists suspended from the ceiling and stilt walkers roaming the area (both of which I’ve used to great success, receiving a chorus of “oohs” and “ahhs”). Regardless of the approach, make the reveal a performance – consider stationing volunteers at all entryways to open doors in a choreographed fashion, parting curtains to unveil the next space, or using lighting to transform a dim area into a vibrant one. When done right, the transition itself becomes a form of entertainment!

Image of acrobat

2. Communication is Key (Repeat, Repeat, Repeat)

In marketing, there’s a well-known rule that people need to hear a message at least seven times before taking action. While you might not have the luxury of repeating your message seven times, use every available tool to ensure your attendees know it’s time to move. This could involve sending automated text messages to attendees, using pre-recorded Voice of God announcements, or updating screens around the venue with pre-designed slides, reminding everyone it’s time to transition and where to go. Evaluate the tools at your disposal in terms of space and technology and put them to good use!

3. Identify “Pushers” and “Pullers”

Before your event, pinpoint individuals who can help convey your message effectively. “Pushers” (often event staff or volunteers) will move through the room, politely encouraging attendees to wrap up their conversations and head to their seats or the next area. On the other hand, “pullers” will serve as in-room influencers, showing others precisely what they should do. Speak with your board, event committee, volunteers, staff, or other key leaders in advance, and ask them to watch for visual, auditory, or verbal cues. When it’s time to move, they can gather their table, friends, or other attendees and lead the way to the next location.

Image of attendees chatting

4. Timing is Everything: Closing the Bars

Closing the bars might not be the most popular move, but it can be effective when done strategically. Position a staff member or volunteer at the end of the line about 10 minutes before you intend to close the bar. Kindly direct guests trying to join the line to enjoy a cocktail, dinner, dessert, or the next exciting thing in the next space or at a designated time. When that designated person reaches the front of the line, seal the deal by physically removing the bartender from the bar.

Embrace the Fun in Event Logistics!

So, the next time you find yourself orchestrating an event and facing the logistical challenge of guiding attendees from one experience to the next, don’t dread it. Embrace it as a chance to dazzle, engage, and entertain. By following these strategies, you’ll not only keep your event on track but also turn the transition moments into unforgettable highlights of the day.

With a little creativity, a lot of communication, and the right team, you’ll not only avoid “herding cats” but will have your guests purring with delight as they smoothly flow from one memorable experience to the next. Happy herding!

This post was written by Sarah Kier, Events Manager at Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

For more event planning tips, download our Corporate Event Strategies Guide. To dive deeper into event logistics, contact us

Heroic’s Highlights: BizBash’s Connect Marketplace 2023 in Minneapolis

What a whirlwind of excitement from August 22-24, 2023 for the Heroic sales and marketing squad! Our calendars were marked for BizBash’s Connect Marketplace 2023 in the vibrant heart of Minneapolis. With 135 trade show booths, a bustling crowd of 2,500 suppliers and buyers, and a jaw-dropping tally of 32,309 one-on-one appointments, you could say we were diving into the hustle and bustle headfirst!

Before we dive in, let’s take a look at the event!

Heroic’s Connect Marketplace 2023 Adventure: A 3-Day Recap

Day 1

Day one kicked off with a “regiception” (a fusion of registration and reception, naturally). We started things off with a bang at the first-timer’s gathering. This event was bursting at the seams with first-time connectors – a record-breaking assembly, might we add! With the newbie camaraderie still in the air, we sashayed our way to the trade show floor. We were dazzled by the Meet Branson, Missouri booth where they were dishing up moonshine ice cream, the Reno Tahoe Puppy Lounge booth filled with furry friends available for adoption, and the Visit Duluth team that provided corporate curling! We ended our day partying like it was 1999 with a Prince-themed extravaganza on Nicollet Mall. Taking over Orchestra Hall, Brit’s Pub, and Peavey Plaza, it was a night to remember.

Day 2

Day two was filled with our first one-on-one appointments. Meeting the crème de la crème of skilled buyers left us grinning from ear to ear. After grabbing some lunch – there were so many options; from skyline chili to macaroni and cheese to freshly baked cookies, we stuffed ourselves to the brim in anticipation of an afternoon of education. Our favorite classes were, The Future is Now: How AI Is Changing the Landscape of Event Planning, Using Event Tech to Leverage Your On-Site Attendee Experience, and 2024 Looks Bright: Forecasting What’s Next in Audiovisual Production. Day two wrapped up in a symphony of afternoon appointments that had us ready for round three!

Day 3

Day three kicked off with another round of one-on-one appointments with enthusiastic buyers. And then came lunch, ah, glorious lunch – the street tacos were fabulous! Our minds got a thorough workout during an eye-opening session on Event Forecasting with the one and only Michael Dominguez before we bid adieu to the final round of one-on-one appointments.

The Countdown to Connect Marketplace August 2024 is On!

As the sun set on our Connect escapade, the Heroic team couldn’t help but reflect on our exciting week spent at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The trip was an inspiring cocktail of fun, education, and making friends from all corners of the world. The countdown to next year’s rendezvous has officially begun – trust us, we’re already donning our party hats in anticipation!

To find out where the Heroic team is headed next, follow us on LinkedIn.

To learn more about what Heroic Productions can do for you, visit our website.

Live Events Are Back: Celebrate With Entertainment

Live, in-person, events are back. People want to socialize, share ideas, and celebrate. It feels good to be together again!

Let’s talk about the celebratory part of the return to in-person events. Celebrations usually include entertainment, all kinds of entertainment. Of course, it’s exciting to see our favorite big-name artists, but many a fabulous event has been accomplished with lesser-known talent.

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Don’t Cancel That Meeting. Consider Live Streaming!

The meetings and events industry has been shaken by the realities and uncertainties of the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Companies have started to second-guess their meeting plans, or are canceling them altogether, especially when travel is involved. Hindsight will be 20/20 as to whether or not these steps are overreaction or prudent. But, at the very least, they are certainly well-intended. And though that intention for your audience is there, the delivery of your event’s message has now been compromised. So, short of canceling altogether, what can your organization do to share its message, in a safe and timely manner?

Continue reading “Don’t Cancel That Meeting. Consider Live Streaming!”

Home For Life Gala With Guest Jane Goodall

International Market Square, Minneapolis

Recently, Heroic was honored to work with “Home For Life,” providing lights (incredible gobo effects!), sound reinforcement and HD projection for their Spring Gala fundraising event at International Market Square in Minneapolis. Famed researcher Jane Goodall was guest speaker at the event and raised much-needed funds for the Star Prairie, Wisconsin animal sanctuary “for cats and dogs who have been unable to find adoptive homes.”

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2019 MN ILEA Star Awards

2019 MN ILEA Star Awards

The 15th annual MN ILEA Star Awards highlighted the incredible work of this year’s Star Award nominees and showcased the best and brightest in MInnesota’s event world. 2019’s reception/awards and after-party were held at the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel – The Depot.

As a Platinum Production Sponsor, our intent was to deliver an “over-the-top” AV experience, and everyone at Heroic jumped in to make that happen. With thematic, mood-setting lighting, dynamic LED scenic banners, an LED wall, and an LED podium (all from our ContentCanvas™ family), and crisp-clean audio, attendee response indicated mission accomplished!

For us, the highlight of the evening was being presented with an ILEA Star Award for “Best Technical Production” for our work at 2018 Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. (All awards were judged by independent ILEA chapters from outside Minnesota.) Congratulations to everyone involved in the planning and execution of Star Awards. It was truly an awesome event for all that attended!

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