“We can do that” is the philosophy/motto of Big Top Entertainment (BTE), a party, wedding and corporate event supply company, owned by Julianne and David Kiedinger (kid-ding-ger). The business is located in York County in a 20,000-square-foot office/warehouse. “We moved to this location in the spring of 2020 and we have already outgrown it,” says Julianne. BTE owns acreage behind the current building and plans to add another 15,000-square-foot warehouse soon. The Kiedingers have been in business for 26 years.
“Corporate events were our main business, but now we have a backlog of weddings,” says Julianne. According to the website, BTE provides supplies and equipment for “dream weddings” to fulfill every desire of the engaged couple. The BTE creative team works with the couple to custom design the special event. “The day belongs to them,” adds Julianne. “However, we are not ‘wedding planners.’ We work with the professionals to supply the couples’ needs,” she adds. Weddings are becoming larger and more complicated.
The warehouse has several shelves from floor to ceiling. There are basic items, such as tents, tables, chairs and other furniture. Specialty accessories can be added, such as fountains, signage, even mirror balls and a bubble machine. If the desired item is not in the inventory, BTE will build or buy it. “Currently the ‘farm table’ is in demand,” adds David.
Tent sizes range from 30×30 to 40×140. The tent area can be air-conditioned and include a dance floor. There are many choices for lighting, table cloths, flatware, china, glasses and other supplies. There are props and supplies for theme parties, including “The 70s,” James Bond, beach, casino and carnival.
In the past corporate events were the mainstays of BTE’s business. These would involve company retreats, trade shows and other exhibit services, even outdoor games.
“BTE will travel to set up events that are not local,” says David. “We hire trucks and any equipment needed. We have traveled to 29 states and even Mexico.” Corporate annual meetings are frequently at “vacation destinations” — a treat for the executives. BTE works with a lot of “high-end” clients. “We frequently have to turn away business and we are always hiring. Of course, it’s a lot of fun — and a lot of hard work!” adds David.
Julianne was Miss Virginia in 1986 and first runner-up in the Miss America Pageant. As Miss Virginia, she toured for several years with “misses” from five other states, appearing at various events around the United States. The group performed at the Miss Wisconsin Pageant, where David was acting as emcee. He was also starring in a children’s TV show as Cuddles the Clown. “I came from a family of thespians,” he says. “We did musical theater. A summertime job as a clown in a circus show evolved into full-time work.”
After marrying, the couple began a party business, which they moved to Virginia. It wasn’t profitable,” says Julianne. “That’s when we expanded to our current business.” They now have 14 employees. David manages the business with his son. Julianne helps out when needed, but her main job is voiceover work.
For the past 15 years, Julianne has done voiceovers for TV and radio. She has voiced ads for an auto dealership and other businesses. She has a recording studio in her home and also uses one in Virginia Beach. Currently she is providing the voice of “Mama Fish” for a children’s cartoon.
Julianne also sings with the band Cornerstone, performing classic rock and roll (60s and 70s). “We like playing outdoors and usually perform a couple of times a month,” she says.
The Kiedingers have an adult daughter living in New York City.
As for hobbies and travels, “We just don’t have time,” the Kiedingers say simultaneously. Now busier than ever, Julianne and David have found a way to pack 26 hours into a day. “We will work hard now and play later,” Julianne says with a smile. “But I do miss the skiing in Wisconsin,” she adds.
TO THE POINT:
Big Top Entertainment
Address: 500 Old York-Hampton Hwy., Yorktown, VA 23692
Contacts: Julianne and David Kiedinger, owners