The Wild Game Entertainment Experience encompasses more than 24,000 square feet of space for eating, drinking, games and gathering in Evergreen. The entertainment center has the ability to host almost any type of event imaginable for up to 750 guests, but planners and potential clients were having a tough time visualizing their formal events amongst sports banners, arcade games and bowling lanes.
That’s when the decision to celebrate The Wild Game’s second anniversary came to fruition, and a team was assembled and led by Chrystal Huskey, event architect and owner of Logistical Meetings & Events in Littleton, and Donise Newkirk, owner/designer of A Berry in the Wild in Castle Rock, to explore the possibilities.
From 5-8:30 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2016, nearly 300 guests attended, including people from the community, industry professionals, previous clients, and companies that had at one time decided not to book The Wild Game. It also was a chance to network and talk about the company’s second location, which opened in Longmont only a few months later in February.
“My goal for the event and also my biggest hurdle is to get people to understand that our venue is multifaceted and can host a variety of events from casual to formal,” explains CJ Lydon, director of sales and marketing for The Wild Game. “Chrystal and Donise both understood my vision and were able to take my ideas and make them a reality.”
Fairly new to Colorado after moving A Berry in the Wild to Castle Rock from California, this was the perfect opportunity for Newkirk to demonstrate her company’s creativity. With 30 years of experience as a florist and now also an event designer, her hope was to have event attendees visually experience what could be done with the venue. “With imagination it can be turned into what you need,” she emphasizes.
Originally a movie theater, The Wild Game is “kind of segmented, so we had to get people to walk around all the separate spaces,” Lydon shares. Much of the venue’s furniture, décor and features were used, and some extra pieces were added to carry out various themes.
Lydon, Newkirk and Huskey brainstormed examples of what types of events could be hosted at The Wild Game and used the various spaces to create a bridal shower in a small meeting room near the bar, class reunion and nacho bar in the conference room, farm-totable dinner in the banquet room, mountain lodge atmosphere and hot chocolate station in the bowling area, circus theme in the arcade, and a formal wedding ceremony and reception in the large Clubhouse area.
“It showed what can be done with a different palette on the same canvas,” Huskey explains.
After the general concepts for the anniversary celebration were mapped out, suppliers and entertainers were plugged in to add their vision and talents. Food prepared by The Wild Game’s culinary staff was staged throughout the venue, along with mouthwatering cupcakes by Smallcakes Park Meadows, and planned according to the various types of event vignettes.
The Clubhouse section of the venue has a sports bar-like atmosphere but with loads of games and a stage as part of the action. The plan was to show the space’s suitability for a black-tie affair with touches like crystal curtains replacing the banners, the bocce court being turned into a wedding ceremony location, and a reception and dance floor filling the rest of the room. Models dressed in designer wedding gowns, provided by Compleat Couture, helped complete the elegant look.
“This room spoke the most to me,” Lydon says. The makeover also impressed Huskey. “It is a huge space that was transformed into a wedding venue, but you can still have family and friends playing games. There is something for everyone—and the same is true for a holiday corporate gathering, fundraiser or marketing event—but it still had an upscale feel,” she says.
Lydon’s ultimate hope was to show what a little time and creativity could do to transform The Wild Game into a venue suitable for a variety of uses and looks, and there were at least eight event bookings that can be directly attributed to the anniversary celebration. “It was a huge success because that is exactly what happened,” she confirms. “I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the outcome.”
The most successful part was when attendees walked through the venue and “they were inspired with different thoughts about how to accomplish their vision,” Huskey says.
Newkirk agrees: “Everyone was amazed, and it felt good that we hit the mark. There are a ton of events that The Wild Game can be used for.”
The Clubhouse has been slightly redesigned so it can be more easily changed up for events, and The Wild Game has found a reliable and talented pool of partner vendors thanks to the second anniversary experience. “They proved themselves,” Lydon says, “and when the opportunities arise we have hired them for our own use and provided referrals.”