CityWalk-area hotels overbooked, flights are full

With after-parties, luncheons, special screenings, sponsor brunches and travel arrangements to be planned, the committee of the NAACP’s Image Awards, under the guidance of executive director Ernestine Peters, has its plate full with the org’s biggest kudos event to date.

With the show split into two tapings, events and corporate sponsor fundraising planner Margo Wade must prepare for two separate after-parties, in addition to eight events that orbit the festivities.

Hotels surrounding the Universal CityWalk location are overbooked, flights are full, and ground transportation is being creatively deployed as possible.

“We’ve even had to fill the hotels in Burbank, Glendale and surrounding cities, in order to accommodate all of our guests,” says Peters.

CityWalk’s restaurants and nightclubs will be bought out exclusively for partygoers, who will be offered an eclectic atmosphere of live music performances and dancing. With Image Awards performances by R&B acts Destiny’s Child, Jill Scott and Joe, the afterparty for the first night’s taping should attract some of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest entertainers.

But there’s a lot more happening before the final big night. The afternoon of March 2 will provide a more reserved event for NAACP members and committees at the Nationwide Luncheon to take place at CityWalk. Later that evening, the org, in association with Blockbuster Entertainment, will invite guests to a special reception and screening of Fox Searchlight’s April release “Kingdom Come,” starring Whoopi Goldberg, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Loretta Devine. B.B. King’s House of Blues will host a reception and concert to follow.

The last day of festivities kicks off with an early afternoon brunch¸ given by General Motors, at the Pasadena Ritz-Carlton. Meanwhile, the Image Awards committee and production team will prepare for the second night of taping at the Universal Amphitheatre, in which the honors for film and TV will be awarded.

That night’s afterparty, under a tent at Universal Studios, will be attended by 1,700 guests.

“We definitely try to cater our after-parties to the sort of guests that will be present,” says Wade, who handles the NAACP’s fundraising and events. “In this particular case, we decided to have more of an elegant-style gathering, because of all of the partying we’ve planned throughout the week.”

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