Life of the Party: The Debut of Events DC

by John Arundel

Events DC debuted last week as the Washington Convention and Sports Authority rolled out its sleek new logo and brand at a jazz luncheon and high-energy launch party.
By John Arundel

Seth Pietras, Matt Lauer, and Samantha Saults mingle with other Washington socialites at an extravagant reception hosted by Events DC. Photo by Kyle Samperton

Hospitality, events and tourism drive about $400 million in economic growth for the District each year, and no city-chartered organization is better positioned as an engine for it than the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, which adopted a new name and visual identity as part of its ongoing campaign to attract more events and provide greater economic benefits for the nation’s capital.

Re-branded as Events DC, the Authority rolled out its new look at a press conference with city, business and community leaders at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, followed by an extravagant jazz lunch reception with multiple food stations and then later that evening a Washington Life and Uptown Magazine jointly-hosted launch party at Sax Restaurant & Lounge in Penn Quarter.

The Convention and Sports Authority resulted from the October, 2009 merger of the Washington Convention Center Authority and the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission.

WCSA now re-branded as Events DC will oversee the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an anchor of the District’s hospitality and tourism economy. Events DC also manages the Stadium-Armory campus, which includes the historic Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and surrounding Festival Grounds, and the non-military functions of the DC Armory.

Events DC also built and now serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States.

President and Chief Executive Officer Gregory A. O’Dell said the organization’s new brand reflects its broader mission and expanded portfolio of venues. “Events DC embodies our true identity as one united organization offering customers an extensive array of options for events of all kinds,” O’Dell said. “It underscores our position as the premier source of Washington, DC’s event experience.”

He added that Events DC complements and reinforces two other brands that remain central to the District’s meetings and tourism industry: Washington DC and Destination DC, the city’s tourism arm. The logos for all three entities feature the bold block letters DC, joined by a central star.

“Building on the nexus between these organizations in the District of Columbia supports our ‘One City’ vision and contributes to making the nation’s capital a more exciting, livable, workable and prosperous city,” said D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. “It’s exciting to see Events DC making so much progress.”

Mayor Gray said that he believes that the best is yet to come. “More conventions and meetings attracting visitors from around the world…More sports, entertainment and cultural events that will infuse our local economy with millions in spending. And greater investment in community programs that engage, excite and entertain diverse audiences.”

O’Dell said that aligning the three brands creates an environment that’s easier for customers to understand and navigate. “We feel that because Events DC clearly expresses the organization’s focus, conference and event planners will recognize it as the place to turn when they’re in search of a Washington, DC venue.”

The brand’s graphic identity system uses color to define Events DC’s three divisions—Conventions and Meetings, Sports and Entertainment, and Special Events—enabling customers to pinpoint the division they need.

At the jazz luncheon following the news conference, Mayor Gray, Events DC Chair Jim Abdo and other city leaders dined on French-Asian fusion cuisine, including roasted Muscovy duck rolls, red chile crusted sea scallops, beef tenderloin, herb roasted rack of lamb, smoked salmon, oysters, boiled shrimp, and sushi.

Scott Thuman and Autria Thuman pose for photos while enjoying specialty drinks and hors d’oeuvres at Sax Restaurant & Lounge. Photo by Kyle Samperton

A team of four executive chefs, two sous chefs and 60 other kitchen members craft individualized menus for the Center’s special events which in the past year have included events like the George Marshall Dinner, the Congressional Black Caucus, Human Rights Campaign and the Leukemia Ball.

Hours after adopting its new visual identity and calling card, Events DC then threw a high-voltage coming-out party aptly billed as “The Launch” at the newly-opened Sax (formerly Posh Lounge), attended by about 700 of the city’s highest-profile leaders, movers and shakers.

The event ran from 9 p.m. into the wee hours and featured celebrity deejay D-Nice and corseted waitresses serving up a delectable assortment of hors d’oeuvres, wine, prosecco and Grey Goose cocktails named for the occasion.

Specialty drinks included the appropriately named “Events DC” (Grey Goose, Infused Serrano Pepper, Tangerine Juice, Fresh Lemon Juice & Agave Nectar), “District” (Grey Goose, St. Germain, Dolin Blanc & Fresh Lemon Juice), and “Star of the Show” (Grey Goose, Passion Fruit Hibiscus Habanero Wine & Fresh Lemon Juice).

VIP guests included ABC 7’s Scott Thuman, Sofitel DC’s General Manager Pierre-Louis Renou and Marketing Chief Anna Croll, The Bravery Corporation’s Kira Bates and Alexandra Ludmer, Republic National’s Jessica Gibson, Twitter’s Manager of Government Affairs Adam Sharp, Capitol Hill Chief of Staff Yelberton Watkins, Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis, Washington Examiner columnist Nikki Schwab, Luke’s Wings co-founder Fletcher Gill, Pamela Sorenson of Pamela’s Punch, K Street Kate’s Kate Michael, celebrity life stylist Paul Wharton, 8112 Studios’ Pergrin Pervez, HSBC’s Rokas Beresniovas, RepEquity’s Tiffany Carter, Panorama Productions’ Zack Huhn, Gina Ghislane Dakouni of Lima Restaurant, Kimball Stroud of Kimball Stroud Associates, The W Hotel’s Kaitlyn Ferrara, Susan G. Komen’s Kiki Ryan, and Andrea Szempruch, events director at Sax Lounge.

“The best is yet to come,” pronounced Mayor Vincent Gray.

Together, Washington Life and Uptown Magazine hosted the launch party at Sax Restaurant & Lounge in Penn Quarter. Photo by Kyle Samperton

For more information, visit

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