Mr. Event: Pairings in West Palm Beach

Dear Atlas Event Blog Readers,

Have you ever tried walking with 3,000lbs of food and drink in your stomach?

If you have, you know it’s hard. If you haven’t, try it; as long as it’s at the next West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority’s “Pairings” Event!

As you know, I don’t usually call events out by name, but this time I will because the organizers did a great job and it was unlike anything else I’ve experienced in recent memory.

The WPB DDA (that’s what cool people like you and me call the Downtown Development Authority) set up “Pairings” to take place on Clematis Street which, for those who don’t know, is a street with a high concentration of restaurants and bars. It’s a pretty long street. I have a friend who lives nearby (he invited me to come), who hasn’t even been to all of the restaurants! That pretty much changed because of Pairings!

The DDA got many of the restaurants and bars on Clematis to participate. There was a centrally located check-in booth where we got our tickets. The ticket was actually a map and list of all the participating establishments. Outside, each restaurant put pink and green balloons so you could identify who was part of “Pairings” at a quick glance.

When you got to the restaurant, they had a sample(s) of their food paired with a signature drink, cocktail or wine.

So basically they gave you a treasure map with the locations of delicious food and drink. If pirates were foodies, this would be the event of their lives!

While we were walking from place to place, we continually ran into people carrying their maps and talking about the food they just had. I rarely heard complaints about anything (largely due to the fact that no one would talk with food in their mouths).

The only problem seemed to be for the owners of the establishments who didn’t participate. Here’s an exchange I had with one such owner:

Owner: (Stands there with a solemn look of regret on his face.)

Mr. Event: You okay?

Owner: No.

Mr. Event: You regret not taking part in Pairings?

Owner: Yup! (Walks away crying.)

It happened just like that. I swear!

As for the guests, it was really fun. The event took place from 5:30pm to 9pm. By 8:15 I was crawling from one place to the next due to the previously mentioned 3,000lbs of food in my stomach.

It was a very simple concept with amazing results. The DDA, and participating restaurants, did a great job with this. I can’t wait till next year and I urge other towns to think about doing something similar.

Next blog, I’m going to give some awards out to some of the participants. So come back next time to find out who wins the “I would cross an ocean to eat that again” and the “I would have never eaten there, but glad I did” awards.

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