What is a good lesson you’ve learned from this?
No. 1 is make sure you have good partners. We have a fantastic operational partner in Navy Pier. This is their bread and butter. They do all kinds of events, from small things to massive trade shows and events. They handle all the security and labor, and all those details you never think about or see at an event but are so massively important to get right. The Chicago Sports Commission has been helpful in connecting us to all the right parties from a promotional standpoint, as well as an operational standpoint.
What’s been the largest logistical challenge for this event?
Everything shows up in 40-ft. shipping containers. There are about 60 of them. They all get driven into Navy Pier into the convention center there, and the boats will actually get built in Navy Pier. From there, we launch the boats from Navy Pier. So you have to use a big crane. We had to get the engineers and Navy Pier involved to make sure we could actually launch these boats into the water.
Navy Pier is such a popular spot with tourists and boats. How are you going to manage that aspect?
We will use Navy Pier’s convention hall, which is a secure space. From a public standpoint, it is making sure we’ve got the production schedule and are able to set up early in the morning. In a lot of respects it’s letting Navy Pier be Navy Pier for a lot of the other pieces. We are lucky we don’t have to set up a ton of concessions, extra bathrooms and kids activities because Navy Pier has that stuff already built in.