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WETPIXEL / DIVEPHOTOGUIDE COCKTAIL PARTY
October 23, 2008 - 7:00 PM
For the past few years, Wetpixel has been throwing happy hours at DEMA, which have been supported by some of our sponsors.
This year’s cocktail party was thrown in conjunction with DivePhotoGuide, and was sponsored by Amphibico, Aquatica, Backscatter, INON America, Reef Photo & Video, Marine Camera Distributors, and Worldwide Dive and Sail. THANK YOU, sponsors, for making the party possible!
Last year, we held our party in a roped-off alcove at the host hotel in Orlando and had about a hundred people show up; it was pretty much the perfect place to throw a little happy hour. Las Vegas didn’t have an obvious place to throw such a party, so Jason Heller and I decided to rent a suite at the Hilton for the party. Being a destination event, we assumed that we would lose a good percentage of people to Las Vegas evening events, and planned for the arrival of about 40 people.
We vastly underestimated.
I don’t know how many people showed up, but it was well over 100. Virtually every company that provides equipment to the underwater photography and video industry showed up, along with dozens of photographers and videographers. As a bonus, Sea Shepherd arrived, heading directly to our party from the airport. More than once, I heard people say, “Is that Paul Watson? That is SO COOL.”
I have to say that when I first walked into the room at 7pm, my first thoughts were ones of worry. “Whoah. This is, like… a hotel room.” The alcohol hadn’t even arrived yet, and there were already 20 people in the suite, just sort of standing around. The first two drink runs dried out within an hour, forcing Eli, Shawn and me (and Matt, Matt, and Adam) to run out to get more—a LOT more (man, you people drink a lot. :), and the room was so packed that it was hard to walk around. The air conditioning struggled to keep up with our collective body heat, and the heat forced some folks to flee.
Most people seemed to get used to the ambiance after a few drinks, and seemed to genuinely enjoy the party. “It feels kind of like prom night,” said Jenny Collister.
At about 9:30, hotel security arrived, and we sent Jason out into the hallway to negotiate. Since we had planned the party through Hilton events, we refused to shut it down, and over the next couple of hours, the hotel sent progressively larger and larger security personnel to “negotiate.” Finally, at around 11:30pm, a giant appeared, and I started turning off the lights in the room in an attempt to get people out the door.
Thank you, everyone, for such a great evening! It’s not often that you get everyone in the industry together in 2 adjoined rooms. :)
Other party coverage:
Special thanks to Adam Lau for taking photos (below). Adam left really early, so there are no photos from when the party started getting more crazy.