Held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from July 11-17, the celebration included nearly 40,000 attendees, marking the highest convention attendance in the 100-year history of the sorority. A private, non-profit organization that provides assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a sisterhood of more than 200,000 predominantly black college-educated women.
“Delta Sigma Theta’s crimson-and-cream presence touched every part of restaurants, retail, transportation and attractions – resulting in great economic benefit for the city,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and CEO, Events DC.
Accomplished during the convention’s sessions, 45,000 chairs were set up in five halls in theater-style sets within an eight-hour timeframe, and three halls were changed over to a 16,000 banquet-style set with 1,600 tables within six hours. In addition, 9,000 feet of truss were utilized, 350 chain motors, more than 500 scoop lights for house lighting, 60 digital video screens, 64 projectors and 40-dimmer racks within the Convention Center halls.
Centerplate/NBSE, the convention center’s catering partner, served 49,780 meals from July 15-17 and utilized over three miles of baking sheet pans and 42 refrigeration trucks for storage. Food and beverage served during the event included 23,250 pounds of chicken breasts, more than eight tons of vegetables, 14,400 liter bottles of water, 6,300 pounds of cheese and 4,800 gallons of iced tea. To ensure the event ran smoothly, Centerplate/NBSE coordinated more than 3,100 servers and used 139,000 plates, 139,000 forks, 94,500 knives and 50,000 spoons.
“It has been our honor and privilege to provide an extraordinary experience to this organization, which has contributed so much to communities worldwide,” said Vince McPhail, vice president of operations, Centerplate/NBSE.
To help accommodate the number of attendees, Centerplate/NBSE solicited assistance from wait staff throughout the East Coast. Staffing the event required 275 culinary personnel and 40 managers to oversee operations. Centerplate/NBSE’s network of chefs and convention center professionals borrowed personnel and equipment from New York, Denver, Florida and Dallas to assist.
Convention attendees and guests spent millions of dollars on hotels, food and retail. Washington hotels, restaurants and attractions orchestrated an array of themed cocktails, receptions, dinners and other programs and meetings to welcome the sorority in concert with Events DC partners, including Destination DC, the official convention and tourism marketing arm for the city, and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, formed to unite, represent and promote restaurants and its regional food service industry.