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Memorial, for its fantastic auditorium and built in stage technical features. As a non- profit our rate was 50% lower since the venue was owned by the State of New Jersey. The Trenton Marriott hotel being right next-door, made it easier since their key client, the government was totally shut down for the long weekend and we were able to negotiate favorable rates.


people within a small dining area that could seat only 450 people. So we engaged the finest restaurants of New Jersey to cater for our event - Saravana Bhavan, Anjappar, Dosa Grill & Marriott. We engaged 45 volunteers per meal headed by 2 leads for each meal, along with the dedicated resources for refilling for the 4 stations planned. Because of all this planning we were able to feed 1200 people in an hour in many cases. Over the course of 2 days more than 6400 meals were served. Many steps were taken to ensure the costs were as minimal as possible including for each and every item we found local wholesale distributors. During the retreat with the overwhelming support of hundreds of volunteers from every region, the leads were able to ensure that unloading, setup, serving, refill, and cleanup teams ahead of schedule.


“I usually will not have more than 2 vadas at home. Here I had 4 vadas, since it was very tasty and crunchy.


Opening Ceremony Sub-Committee


We were tasked with coming up with a opening ceremony program that would, for one welcome the attendees in a grand manner and also set the tempo for the rest


of members in this committee, all of these responsibilities were handled with ease. We would like to thank Visalam Chit Funds for sponsoring the beautiful Manais made in Tanjore style included in the goody bag. Hospitality has always been a trademark of our Chettiar culture and we hope that our committee was able to bring that to this retreat.


Souvenir Book Sub-Committee


The souvenir book was meant to commemorate our retreat and a short keepsake that we could all enjoy reading


even


afterwards. We also wanted


to


acknowledge all our sponsors


without


of the exciting cultural programs. 12 Chettiars, 20 Achis, 8 girls, 10 off stage volunteers started off as a group, became a team, and by the end we were one family. We can‘t ask for more dedication, sincerity, energy, hospitality, pot lucks/ snacks during practices. All the participants took part with great enthusiasm and definitely delivered a fantastic performance to start this grand retreat in a terrific manner. Now we can't believe it's all over.


Registration Sub-Committee Hotel & Theater Sub-Committee


Finding a place that was ideal to meet our entire


hotel,


cultural and food needs proved to be a greater challenge than we expected.


After reviewing over 30


theaters in detail, we were able to prune the list down to a handful that met all of these conditions. Cheaper theater options were available but the cost and logistics of shuttling 1000 people back and forth from hotels a few miles away did not seem logical or they did not have a large enough dining area. We went with the historic Patriots Theater at the Trenton War


Volume 12, issue 3


Since the registration committee is the first committee that the attendees come in contact with, both before the retreat and also at the retreat, special care was taken to ensure that all points of contact was as smooth as possible. The online registration process, the emailing of receipts, hotel allocations and reminders for payments ensured that as much of the registration happened before the actual retreat itself. The responsibilities of our sub-committee grew to include radios, snack & books sales, parking signs, internal signs, retreat FAQ, hotel shuttles and all kinds of printing. But given the enthusiastic bunch


“You guys streamlined so much of your registration through the website and emails, that the onsite registration is going so smooth.”


whom the retreat would not have been possible. With that


objective in mind we had short articles on Nagarathars and spirituality. We would like to thank Elango Chidambaram for the typesetting.


Stage Technical Sub-Committee


What a great experience, working with all performing artists and the stage technicians on lighting, sound system, timing of the program and other cues that the performers requested. We spent several days in planning and it was team work to make it an excellent event. It came out well, right from our promotional DVD to our final retreat DVD! We also got to learn plenty of new techniques including video editing, movie making, lighting, audio mixing etc. Flawless stage technical management and smooth transition of the programs made sure that every minute of stage time was PRIME TIME.


Vendor Stalls Sub-Committee


The corridors of the Trenton War Memorial were filled with vendor from financial companies, jewelries, South Indian and North Indian apparels and food stalls. Instant gorgeous Mehandis and jasmine flowers in the evening were added attractions. Thanks to the following vendors for participating at the retreat:


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