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A week of BBQ and bodyslams has wrapped up as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) presented WrestleMania 32 – professional wrestling's annual promo-filled Super Bowl inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
An all-time WWE attendance record of 101,763 people from 50 states and 35 countries made the pilgrimage to witness their favorite athletes clash at the nearly seven-hour event. "On behalf of the Dallas Cowboys organization, we congratulate WWE on their historic achievement," said Dallas Cowboys Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones Anderson in a press release. "WrestleMania was an incredible spectacle like none other, and we look forward to hosting it again at AT&T Stadium."
WrestleMania 32 also became the highest-grossing live event in WWE history, grossing $17.3 million. The record was set last year, as WrestleMania 31 in Santa Clara, CA, grossed $12.6 million. It also generated $139 million in economic impact for the Santa Clara/San Jose area; $22 million of which was spent on hotels and accommodations. That's why cities bid on hosting the pop culture extravaganza each year – Orlando has been chosen over Philadelphia and Minneapolis to hold WrestleMania 33 next year.
"We are thrilled that we made history tonight at WrestleMania, further cementing its place as one of the top sports and entertainment events in the world," said WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon.
As soon as fans arrived at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, they were greeted by WrestleMania signs and life-size WWE Superstar cutouts at baggage claim and rental car stations. Even the streets of downtown Dallas were plastered in WrestleMania banners showcasing top stars such as The Rock and John Cena. StubHub handed out free lanyards with plastic pouches to securely hold tickets to the event while fans scooped up hats, shirts, wristbands and posters emblazoned with the WrestleMania and WWE logos.
Throughout the week, fans mobbed the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas for WrestleMania Axxess, an annual fan fest with autograph signings, exhibits and merchandise. Snickers sponsored the event, giving out free candy bars and sharing clips through social media and YouTube. During the WrestleMania broadcast, an ad featured WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair and WWE Superstars Charlotte and Zack Ryder as part of the "You're Not You When You're Hungry" campaign.
Few bibliophiles could resist delving into cafeteria tables laden with more than 16,000 books, all sorted and sold for a fraction of the original sticker price. Sweetening the prospect of a used book sale, however, is the promise of ample free food and other giveaways.
The Emmaus Public Library, a community library in eastern Pennsylvania, teamed up recently with The Nutrition Group, a full-service food and utilities management company, to hold a used book sale and a Nutrition, Health and Safety Fair at Lower Macungie Middle School, one of the institutions serviced by The Nutrition Group. The school’s cafeteria was transformed into a mecca for readers of all ages, and the halls outside the book sale were stocked with booths providing free screenings and sharing information on healthy eating, the dangers of smoking and the importance of good oral hygiene.
Booth workers gave away bags of popcorn, packets of flavored raisins, and samples of fruit smoothies. But there were also a slew of promotional products at the fair. A local hospital had a basket of spray hand sanitizers set up next to a display about germs. An orthodontist gave out logoed water bottles. Other swag on site included stress balls, erasers, stickers, bumper stickers, keychains, can coolers and crayon packets with nutrition-themed coloring pages.
Plan on having your own public event or fair? Make sure you have an ample supply of fun and functional promotional items to hand out. Contact your distributor partner for great ideas and products.
In honor of April being Autism Awareness Month, national charity Jaden’s Voice recently held the grand opening of its West Philadelphia office. The open house included supportive politicians, educational seminars and plenty of promotional products.
UnitedHealthcare gave away bags full of logoed items tailored for children with autism. Inside the bags were a giant placemat plastered with a balanced diet diagram, a plastic plate version of the diagram with a Spanish translation, a colorful informational booklet, a car charger, crayons and a cute stuffed animal named Dr. Health E. Hound.
“They say it takes a village, I say it takes the world,” said Jaden’s Voice founder Terri Matthews, whose 9-year-old son Jaden was diagnosed at age 2. “He lost his voice, so I became his voice.”
About 1 in 68 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder, according to estimates from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Jaden’s Voice advocates for children with autism in underserved communities, providing financial assistance to families and teaching parents how to live with the disorder. “We need to train people so they’re accommodating and understand how our families are impacted,” Matthews said.
Pennsylvania State Representative Vanessa Lowery Brown and Philadelphia City Councilman Derek Green were also in attendance, both of whom have children on the autism spectrum. Brown’s son suffers from learning differences and wasn’t properly diagnosed until he was an adult. Green’s 15-year-old son Julian was diagnosed around the same age as Jaden. He was able to get through kindergarten, Green said, but first grade was more challenging, so the councilman and his wife developed an autism support class at Julian’s elementary school, which has now grown to three classes.
“You really can’t dwell,” Green said. “You have to be an active advocate and get intervention as early as possible so it will help your child in the future.”
In addition to educating and assisting families, Jaden’s Voice hosts a Web-based business membership program listing vendors whose products, services and locations have been certified as making life with autism easier and more dignified. For more information, visit www.jadensvoice.org.
Jennifer DeBouver founded the foundation, which raises awareness about blood clots in small children, after losing a baby girl before childbirth, and then losing a boy, Asher, six weeks after he was born due to a congenital heart disease called Aortic Stenosis. "After he passed away, the doctor told us there weren't any foundations or much research to support blood clots in children," DeBouver says.
Since Asher passed away in October of 2012, DeBouver has partnered with Mended Little Hearts, an organization that supports families with children with congenital heart defects, and has held an annual softball game between the two organizations on Asher's birthday.
Prior to his birth, Asher had had a baseball-themed baby shower which inspired DeBouver to hold the softball game in his honor. Working with a distributor partner, DeBouver created the theme, "Lions, Giraffes, Softballs, Oh My!" and tested three different designs for the event's T-shirts on Facebook. All three designs included two little birds to represent the children DeBouver had lost. The Mended Hearts' T-shirt featured a lion, and the Asher James Foundation shirts featured a giraffe, which DeBouver has always associated with her son.
The winning design was featured on the T-shirt at the softball game (held in October at a park in Schaumburg, IL), and DeBouver said they were a big hit. The event raised hundreds of dollars for DeBouver's foundation, and, most importantly, continues to raise awareness for the cause. "If this little T-shirt can make one person aware of our foundation, I've done my job," DeBouver says.