Excel staged the Association of Exhibition Organisers Excellence awards for the first time in July and the event was a carnival of sights, sounds and colour.
Performers in an array of spectacular costumes greeted guests at the Docklands venue as part of the carnival themed event. Comedian Al Murray hosted the ceremony as his stage and TV character Pub Landlord. Cabaret came from opera outfit Tenors Incognito.
This year's multiple voting system resulted in a 58% increase in the number of votes cast in the Contractor and Venue categories compared with 2002. Four new organiser-related categories produced more than 100 nominations between them.
Winners on the day included Stoneleigh Park in Coventry, which beat rival venues including Excel, NEC and The International Centre, Telford to the UK Venue Event Management award. Best Launch Show - Trade went to Single Market Events' hospitality exhibition RSVP.
The Contractor/Venue Employee of the Year was awarded to Trevor Nock, operations director at Melville Teamwork.
The final and most prestigious presentation of the night, the Industry Lifetime Achievement Award, went to Montgomery Exhibitions founder Bryan Montgomery. He received his accolade from Reed Exhibitions chairman Mike Rusbridge.
AND THE WINNER IS ...
AWARD WINNER SPONSOR
Shell Scheme Stanco IIR Exhibitions
Furniture Hire Stanco Dmg World
Electrical Melville Exhibition Emap
Lifting/Freight GeoLogistics Centrex
UK Venue Event Stoneleigh Park Haymarket
Exhibition Industry Perton Signs Inside
Contractor/Venue Trevor Nock CMP Information
Employee of Year
Best Launch RSVP - Single NEC
Show - Trade Market Events
Best Launch The Outdoors Show Excel
Show - Consumer - Brand Events
Best Marketing Pure - Emap Event
Campaign - Trade
Best Marketing Southampton Hilton
Campaign - Consumer International Boat Birmingham
Show - National Metropole
Industry Lifetime Bryan Montgomery Reed Exhibitions