Thanks to plenty of planning, Professional Event Solutions of San Diego helped turn a dirt arena at nearby Del Mar Racetrack into the site for a high-style fund-raiser last year for 1,500 guests.

“Nine months of preparation, constant contact with the planning committee and several examinations of the show site eventually brought a crew of more than 40 to this 47,000-square-foot rodeo arena full of dirt to create an ethereal scene for a fund-raising gala and performance by Cirque du Soleil,” explains Todd Lass, production manager with Professional Event Solutions. “After five days and 1,800 man-hours of stage building, multi-level seating creations, and installation of 54,000 square feet of carpet, more than 250 lights and a custom sound system, the foundation was ready.”

The video presentation brought plenty of challenges. “Natural light and darkness, wind and atmosphere became an issue,” Lass says. “Great care had to be used in creating the truss structures used to hold the two 10 ½-by-14-foot rear projection video screens. The structures had to be load bearing and handle the impact of the wind on the 147 square feet of screen.

“The other obstacle,” he adds, “was the heavy moisture in the air, particularly in our location less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean — everything gets wet. The biggest worry here was with the switching equipment's electronic components. Our solution was to build the switching area inside the delivery truck so that the equipment was protected when the air got heavy. At the end of the night, we just closed and locked the truck doors.”