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Grand Tour Gala 2014 Ready For Biggest Night Of Travel, Tourism And Hospitality Recognition In Central Florida

(TRAVPR.COM) FL - October 6th, 2014 -

More than 45 companies to participate in production of Nov. 1 premier industry event, among producers, designers, florists, entertainers, musicians, vocalists, chefs, and many others  

In a little more than 30 days, the curtain will rise for Grand Tour Gala, Central Florida's premier hospitality, travel and tourism fundraiser event honoring this year's Dick Pope Legacy Award recipients on Nov. 1 at Hilton Orlando Resort, to include: Steve Hogan, CEO of Florida Citrus Sports; Adrian Jones, General Manager of LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and VP Merlin Entertainments USA; Richard Kessler, Chairman and CEO of Kessler Collection Hotels; and Emeril Lagasse, Celebrity Chef and Host of TV's Emeril's Florida.  The extravagant London themed evening of cocktails, entertainment, dinner, awards and After Glow Party encompasses the involvement of no less than 45 of Orlando's hospitality, entertainment and event companies, who have all donated or greatly reduced their costs in order to deliver the "party of all parties" for the industry.

"Our audience is the best of the best in travel, tourism and hospitality so we involve the industry's best providers to create one of the hottest events they will attend this year, " said Dr. Mary Jo Ross CSEP, CPCE, professor at The University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management, who is executive producer of Grand Tour Gala.  Dr. Ross is a leading academic expert in the field of special events and catering with more than 30 years experience as an artist and producer.  Fueled by a passion for the performing arts and musical theatre, she has produced and directed dozens of semi-professional shows, pageants and galas.  Her sharp technical and theatrical skills support the creativity necessary for the special events industry.

Along with Dr. Ross, the Grand Tour Gala Charity Fundraiser is produced by the Orlando Chapter of the National Association of Catering and Events (NACE), led by President Patricia Buchanan. They are joined this year by some of the brightest stars in Orlando's entertainment and special event industries. 

Serving as lead designer of the show is Remmal Karamsadkar, owner/designer and principal at Occasions by Shangri-la, a full service event decor and floral company known for traveling the world to find the perfect textures and structures to lead the market in new, unusual and avant-garde ways.  Lead florist is Randy Lowe, founder and CEO of Lowe and Behold, creating world-class events with sensational fresh floral creations and enticing clients to stretch their boundaries and think outside of the box.     

Providing and overseeing entertainment will be Joshua Vickery, founder and executive director for Central Florida Community Arts and Tara Snyder, musical theatre voice specialist and assistant professor for Theatre UCF.  Central Florida Community Arts is a non-profit musical arts organization that believes every artist of every age should have a cultural platform to connect, serve and perform.  Its mission is to make the arts accessible and affordable for all.  Theatre UCF provides students with the training, education and experiences necessary for the successful pursuit of professional theatre careers.  Degree specialties include Acting, Design and Technology, Stage Management, Musical Theatre and Theatre Studies.

This year's Gala will provide guests with a unique London Experience, featuring an entire evening of festivities filled with unique foods, Broadway-style entertainment, a silent auction and concierge-level guest services by NACE at UCF students from the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

"Each year we provide a unique and high quality event for those who come join us, and this year will be no different.  We definitely keep raising the bar," said NACE Orlando's Buchanan.

Since Grand Tour Gala began in 2011, more than $180,000 has been distributed in student scholarships and programs.  Event proceeds provide scholarships benefitting students at the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management, Valencia Community College, Daytona State College, Mid-Florida Tech Orlando, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation, and NACE Education Foundation.

For more Grand Tour Gala information, go to or send an email to  For details on sponsorships and corporate tables, contact Patricia Buchanan at (407) 383-2132 or


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