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Tea Time
Single-use plastic items are a hot-button issue, and an increasing number of event planners and marketers are searching for eco-friendly alternatives to traditional straws and cutlery. Enter the Sprout Spoon, a fully biodegradable spoon and tea bag in one. This matchbook-sized promotional item, the exterior and interior of which can be printed with custom text and imagery, opens to form a paper spoon with a tea bag stitched into the bowl. Marketers can choose from three Fair Trade blends (black tea vanilla, green tea ginger and lemon, and herbal), all of which are nongenetically modified, free of artificial flavors, and contained in an organic-cotton bag. A novel addition to hospitality spreads and giveaway programs, Sprout Spoons are a Green means of offering attendees a moment of respite and additional exposure to your marketing messages. Contact: Sprout USA LLC, Boston, 617-650-1958, www.sproutworld.com
Online Encounters
The UgoVirtual online platform from Virtua Hospitality Inc. enables event organizers and meeting planners to virtualize events such as trade shows, corporate meetings, and conferences and allow long-distance prospects and clients to experience the happenings remotely. Using their own computers or mobile devices, online "attendees" can navigate custom-designed virtual environments that replicate or approximate elements of the physical event locale, e.g., lobbies, lounges, auditoriums, and exhibit halls. These remote attendees can view live streams of panel discussions, keynote speeches, and seminars, all of which can be archived and made available on demand after the event. As for the virtual exhibit hall, exhibitors are provided customizable templates that incorporate their existing digital assets, including videos, e-literature, slideshows, and recorded presentations, into a digital booth. Meanwhile, an integrated chat function lets users converse with on-site or remote exhibitor reps. Contact: Virtua Hospitality Inc. (dba UgoVirtual), Sugar Hills, GA, 888-846-8751, www.ugovirtual.com
Holey Moley
Add visual interest and dimensionality to your exhibit walls, stage setups, and outdoor events by deploying Swiss Cheese Flat Panel Sails by Stretch Shapes LLC. Offered as a design add-on to any of the company's 13 panel shapes in stock sizes up to 30-by-30 feet (custom shapes are also available), the fromage-inspired stretch fabric can be treated with uniformly or randomly placed holes. Panels can be affixed to truss or other sturdy framing via hooks or monofilament line and layered to create eye-catching displays. Exhibitors have more than a dozen fabric colors to choose from, although the bright-white option is particularly suited for LED wash lighting. Contact: Stretch Shapes LLC, Eugene, OR, 888-370-0202, www.stretchshapes.net
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