Celebrating liberty and Coca-Cola®

Main Attractions handles Coke’s 125th anniversary

Event Profile: Coca-Cola 125th Anniversary celebration, by Main Attractions, Edison, N.J., on May 7, 2011.

When and where: Liberty Island, New York

Background: The Coca-Cola Co.’s 125th Anniversary coincided with the 125th anniversary of Liberty Island being established. According to Coca-Cola, the company was formed on May 8, 1886, in Atlanta by Dr. John S. Pemberton and first served at Jacobs’ Pharmacy. The Statue of Liberty, a gift to the United States from the people of France, was dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886, less than six months after the first Coca-Cola was served. To observe the event, the Coca-Cola Foundation endowed a $1 million donation to support the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation’s People of America® Center.

Timeline: “Coca-Cola contacted us in December 2010. The event appeared on our radar screen before Christmas that year. We are a preferred vendor for the island, so when events occur on Liberty Island, we are usually involved,” says Rocky Sconda, president, Main Attractions.

“After five months of planning, we began the process of setting up for the event. We started sending items over to Liberty Island in mid-April for the May 7 event. It took an entire week, with two barges a day, to get all the materials to the island,” says Theresa Ascolese, office administrator, Main Attractions.

Other companies involved: Party Rental, Teterborough, N.J.

Major items used and products bought specifically for the event: “The company fabricated a clear roof and installed it on a 115-ft. Losberger tent. The tent was secured by 324,000 lbs. of concrete block. Other tents included a 15-ft.-by-60-ft. green room tent, a 15-ft.-by-80-ft. kitchen tent, a 32-ft.-by-66-ft. storage area, several 10-ft.-by-20-ft. and 10-ft.-by-10-ft. tents, and a 12-ft.-by-260 ft. walkway. Rental items also included Bil-Jax flooring, carpeting, lighting, concrete blocks, HVAC, generators, restroom trailers, glass wall panels, tent doors and armor deck. In addition, we set up a 15-ft.-by-45-ft. check-in tent at Battery Park, as well as a 1,000-ft.-long walkway, restroom tents and red carpet for guests to check in on the New York side and ride the ferry over to Liberty Island,” Ascolese says.

Challenges and solutions: “Liberty Island is a national park and a historic site. Over the years, we’ve put guidelines together that we follow for Liberty Island internally and pages are always being added to it. The two biggest concerns are no damage is done to the historic site or monument and that what we do has a minimal impact on people visiting the island,” Sconda says.

“Since Liberty Island is a historic site, nothing can be staked into the ground there, so we had to bring all the concrete block ballast material with us. This required extra planning. All items had to be transported by barge to the event site. The barge takes about an hour to get to Liberty Island, where the equipment is then moved to the site via forklift. We made two barge trips per day for a week prior to setting up the event,” Ascolese says.

What went well: “The Coca-Cola Co. had hired an outside company specifically to take this event under their wing. It was such a pleasure dealing with Coke individuals, who were there from the beginning to the end of the day. If you had a question, they had an answer for you. When changes were necessary, they had the focus and knowledge to talk through the ramifications of the changes, as to how it would affect parts of the event. Without the cooperation of the park management, the event consultants and Evelyn Hill Co., even the company we rented the barges from, we wouldn’t have been able to put on this event. There didn’t seem to be many jams or speed bumps to installing and creating the event,” Sconda says.

Why equipment rental is important for events like these: “Like most historic sites, Liberty Island doesn’t have accommodations or the equipment to support such events. Without rentals, I don’t know how it would happen. They would be at the mercy of the weather. We could provide what they needed,” Sconda says.

Sources: thecoca-colacompany.com/dynamic/press_center/2011/05/coca-cola-statue-of-liberty-celebrate-125th-anniversaries.html