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Minnesota B.O.L.D. Serves Super Bowl LII

Imagy by Frederic Nadeau /

Event planners need to be capable of thinking outside the box. Good event planners will try to always think outside the box. Great ones will shatter it completely and create life-long memories.

Event planners tend to create events indoors, and many times this is appropriate. However, sometimes, it’s nice to get out of the ballrooms and conference centers and create unique experiences that accomplish the same ends. I once had a conversation with an executive who told me if he had to go to one more meeting in a ballroom without windows, he was going to lose it.

I reside in Minnesota, and I simply love where I live. It’s a beautiful state that has so much to offer! But unfortunately, since we are “Up North” and winters are snowy and cold, we too often get a bad reputation before anyone has the ability to experience its wonders! Many people simply do not know how many incredible opportunities there are to experience this beautiful place – and they can do it in the most unique and memorable ways.

Those of us that live here know the abundance that Minnesota offers. Summers in Minnesota are rich with culture and nature. We have lakes, rivers, woods, and the countryside to enjoy. Spring and Autumn are both alive with beauty, activity, planting and harvest, rest and rejuvenation. It’s easy to feel grounded when you really dive in and experience Minnesota.

And when it comes to wintertime, despite the cold, winter most certainly does not slow us down! When the snow arrives, we take our jackets and hats out of storage, dust them off, and go about the business of enjoying the beauty and wonder of winter.

And we’re good at making the most of winter.

It was with all of this in mind, I collaborated with a friend of mine, who is an expert in the great Minnesota outdoors, and we came up with the idea for Minnesota B.O.L.D.

What if we took event planning to another level?

What if we used our combined event planning and MN outdoor skills to create one-of-a-kind experiences?

What if we focused on helping people really experience all that Minnesota has to offer?

And get them out of closed-off ballrooms and into really cool spaces!

That was where the idea of Minnesota B.O.L.D. began. It stands for Brilliant. Outdoor. Learning. Destinations. We examined all there is to do here and created local, unique, personalized, memorable experiences that take place in really inspiring locations. It was something that was relatively unexplored territory for corporate event planners – this was almost like vacation planning!

An example of a unique location to host meetings and events for large groups.
Silverwood Lake Visitor Center, St. Anthony, MN
(Image courtesy of Silverwood Lake)

But was the idea going to take off?

Well, during the week of Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis in January of 2018, I had the opportunity to find out how well this concept was going to be received. I was able to pitch the idea of Minnesota B.O.L.D. to the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. They loved it, because it fit perfectly with their brand, Bold North, and they then decided to market it under their flag to all the Sponsors, 32 NFL Clubs and VIPs attending Super Bowl LII.

About a week before the Super Bowl, the Host Committee contacted me to ask if we could find a Minnesota B.O.L.D. experience for the crew with Verizon. Verizon is a major sponsor of the NFL, and they were in town to set up and run all the tech for the big game. They also ran the entire outdoor Nicollet Mall experience in downtown Minneapolis.

The Verizon Experiential Events Team wanted to have a memorable Minnesota experience doing something unique that they had never done before, since they were all from New York City. Initially, they wanted to experience ice fishing, as that isn’t something that is very common where they live. I thought that would be fun, so I got in touch with my ice fishing contact.

Nope, ice fishing was not in the cards…
(Image by Alexander Lukatskiy /

Unfortunately, due to licensing guidelines, I would have needed a full 21 days to get a group fishing license approved. Otherwise, each person would have needed to get a personal license independently, by standing in line at local gas station. And I knew that with the schedule this crew had, that was not going to work.

I only had 5 days! So, I went back to the drawing board.

I thought:

What is something uniquely northern?

What is an experience that they probably have never had before?

What is there to do that is FUN in January and February in Minnesota?

What is an unorthodox event that will rejuvenate this crew?

Furthermore, what is something we can do in a short, half day experience?

What did I come up with?

Dog sledding!

I contacted the coordinator of the group to see what they thought and the response was overwhelmingly, “Yes!”

On the day of the event, I met the crew at their downtown hotel with breakfast and coffee at 7:00 am in a luxury Mercedes Sprinter van. We drove for about 45 minutes to the dog sledding event. They spent a full 3 hours with the dogs going sledding, learning the ropes of harnessing the dogs and driving the sleds, playing in the snow, enjoying the fire pit, and having a great time. With a fresh coating of snow, 28 degrees and clear blue skies, it was the perfect day for dog sledding. They were able to relax and take a well-deserved break from the immense pressure of work.

The group enjoying the event and the cute dogs!

During the event, I kept their coffee warm, took pictures, and kept them company. We had lunch on the bus while we were returning to the city, and they were able to get back to work that afternoon to continue preparing for the Super Bowl. What an honor it was to serve this group of workers! I watched them connect and rejuvenate throughout the morning, and they really enjoyed themselves.

The Verizon Experiential Events Team
Lake Byllesby Regional Park, Cannon Falls, MN

That morning, the lead executive for Verizon told me that the dog sledding event was perfectly executed and was the highlight of their trip – and this was the crew that was charged with running the Super Bowl!

I’m excited to be offering and coordinating more Minnesota B.O.L.D. experiences – it was everything I was hoping it would be!

How would you like to create a unique experience outside the mainstream ballroom?

Contact me for a consultation, and we can create a custom plan for you and your company! And get outside!

Northern Lights Image by Frozenmost /

Wendy Porter is the Owner/Chief Events Architect at Wendy Porter Events, LLC, and a national award-winning event strategist. Connect with Wendy on her Website, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


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