• Permalink  Star-Spangled Banner from the War of 1812. Baltimore Harbor is the site where Francis Scott Key penned the Star-Spangled Banner after Americans won the Battle of Baltimore and raised the flag over Fort McHenryGallery

    Cocktails with Connolly – Baltimore: Talking Trash in Charm City

Cocktails with Connolly – Baltimore: Talking Trash in Charm City

A frosty local IPA, a fully laden ballpark dog, the anguishing torque of the pitcher’s arm…and when I whisper Camden Yard’s sustainability stats in your ear, I hope I’ve taken you to The Zone. Welcome to my 8th blog about 3 of my passions: event planning, sustainability, and fine food and beverages.

We are in Baltimore to produce DrupalCon, taking place at the Baltimore Convention Center. My team and I manage production logistics for catering, AV, IT, signage, registration and the exhibit hall, and touch many decisions that affect whether the conference is executed in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

Sustainability is war. It’s messy. There are compromises. It’s a daily fight against convenience, habit and the status quo.  There are days when we feel hope and days we feel hopeless. We might lose some battles but we must persist.

I am often war-weary when I encounter facility staff who live in a mythical world where clean air, water, land, and fossil fuels are infinite resources. You know, that ideal world, where the Free Hand of the Market might actually work. Alas, we live in a world where our economic system needs to be redefined, based on the real world of finite natural resources and imperfect transparency of information.  Fortunately, I was heartened to learn that the Baltimore Convention Center follows ASTM/APEX sustainable event standards, and is an ally in this battle.

Today let’s talk trash. DrupalCon, like any conference of approximately 3500 people, has quite a bit of environmental impact. Consider the scale of our catering needs: we serve over 9,200 lunches, 750 gallons of coffee, and 1,500 beers over the course of 5 days.  What happens to all that catering waste? I was eager to dumpster dive to learn more, and requested a sustainability tour. I was pleasantly surprised when Mac Campbell and Chris Simmons at […]

  • Permalink Convention Center Dublin and the Irish harp shaped Samuel Beckett BridgeGallery

    Cocktails with Connolly: Dublin – an ode to Irish Hospitality

  • The CCD bakes their bread and pastries in house. The homemade crusty bread and herbed butter made the staff so happy

Cocktails with Connolly: Dublin – an ode to Irish Hospitality

One hundred thousand welcomes to my fifth blog about three of my passions — sustainability, event planning, and fine food and beverages.

Céad mile fáilte – one hundred thousand welcomes – are the words engraved in the atrium of the Convention Center Dublin. During our week working there, we came to realize that this was not just a tag line. The staff and the catering department of the center made our delegates and staff feel welcome, satiated and well taken care of.  While Irish Hospitality harkens back to the Celtic law of welcoming strangers, the CCD is ahead of its time. The CCD operations go above and beyond the environmental guidelines of the ISO 14,000. For a green event planner like me, that was the most welcoming part of the experience.

With its many curving streets, bridges, historic buildings and stunning views along the River Liffey, Dublin is a city is best travelled by foot.  After a long work day, and a bracing walk against the whipping wind and darkening sky, we are quite happy to enter the warm, wood-paneled Kehoe’s, an unpretentious and lively local pub.  And when the creamy-topped, ruby-red pint of Guinness arrives, and (in the words of James Joyce) the light music of fine Irish Whisky falls into a glass, we’ve arrived at the best part of the day. Pull up another stool, and I’ll order you a…

Nitrogen tapped Guinness Draught and 12-year Redbreast Single Pot Irish Whiskey. Kehoe’s Pub, Dublin.

The spicy fire of George Bernard Shaw’s liquid sunshine cuts through the cold and warms you from the inside out. The velvety texture of the Guinness soothes the burn; the pleasantly bitter, subtly citrusy, hoppy beer is filling and comforting. Taken together, it’s almost as good as…umm…another thing mother didn’t tell me about. Bartender Luke is a […]

  • Human Rights Wall at CCIB
    Permalink Human Rights Wall at CCIBGallery

    Cocktails with Connolly: gin, fresh grapefruit, human rights, event swag, over ice

Cocktails with Connolly: gin, fresh grapefruit, human rights, event swag, over ice

Cheers to human rights in Barcelona

In this blog I’ll be writing about three of my passions — sustainability, event planning, and fine food and beverages.

I’ve been producing “green” conferences, trade shows and other events around the world for the last 20+ years. Through this work I have gained a unique perspective on how different cities and venues approach sustainability. I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned with you.

Whether scouting locations or producing an event, the days are long and often stressful, but evenings are the reward. At night we get to experience local culture, and finding just the right spot for a cocktail is one of the best ways to capture the unique vibe of a city. In this series, I’ll not only be sharing event planning advice— I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite cocktails with you too.

So sit back, relax, and let me order you a…
Bitter & Twisted – made with gin, grapefruit juice, Compari, passion fruit juice, served over ice and garnished with large slices of fresh grapefruit, from the super fun Crepes Al Born, in Barcelona’s Born district.

After 7 long days at the (spectacularly cool) Barcelona International Convention Center (CCIB), when the 999th detail – flawlessly executed – has fried you as crispy as a Croqueta de Bacalao, this refreshing tropical cocktail will turn around your day and set you right for enjoying a balmy Catalonian evening.

This cocktail pairs nicely with the entrancing Modernisma architecture, the sensuality of the water’s edge; the live music wafting through the streets, and that table-side Iberian ham carver, with his leather carving glove, offering to “carve your ham,” that you just can’t say no to…

But of all my Barcelona impressions, I was most moved […]

DrupalCon: Producing a Sustainable Conference

The Drupal Association aims to produce DrupalCon conferences in alignment with our commitment to environmental and social responsibility. As the production manager, I have an important role in making sure we make informed purchasing decisions and form strategic partnerships with our venue and vendors. I’d like to share just a few of the things we address behind the scenes during the planning process.
Read more….

All Events Should Be Green Events

From public conferences, to industry meetings, to world summits, events are where people gather to announce academic breakthroughs, discuss industry changes and societal challenges, and put forth our best ideas and thought leadership. Live events are not going away.

All of us who plan events need to understand how the decisions we make at even the smallest level contribute to a global industry impact. SOCAP (Social Capital Markets), acts on values by making informed decisions in order to minimize impact and support vendors and suppliers who are making a difference.

Read more in this article from Diana Connolly:

Green Event Planning: Sustainability at SOCAP

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