(Business Week) – During the economy’s slow crawl back from recession, many companies have cut out lavish holiday parties. But with the Nasdaq up 11 percent for the year and companies like Uber raising record amounts of investment capital at valuations in the billions or tens of billions of dollars, the Bay Area’s tech elite is feeling celebratory.
On Dec. 6 at AT&T Park, the home of the reigning champion San Francisco Giants, a jazz band welcomed thousands of Facebook(FB) employees and their guests into a large white party tent spanning the outfield, accented with giant hanging lights in the shape of baseballs. Guests danced, played beer pong on Facebook-branded tables, and took selfies in front of a 6-foot-tall baseball-filled Facebook logo. The World Series trophy and Giants mascot Lou Seal were on display and available for photos, and a live feed of the party streamed on the park’s jumbotron as revelers enjoyed ballpark hot dogs alongside macarons and fancier fare. The cost of booking the stadium is $200,000.
The same weekend, Google (GOOG) took over the Exploratorium, an arts and science museum overlooking the bay. The party included a giant snow globe inside which partygoers could pose and, nearby, a throne sculpted from ice. That wasn’t all: The company also held a masquerade ball elsewhere in the city, and the New York office held a Great Gatsby-themed party at Wall Street favorite Cipriani. Dropbox hired electronic dance music duo Chromeo to perform at the Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco, and Airbnb had stilt walkers, acrobats, and body-painted models inside a faux circus tent within the Armory, a city landmark owned by porn site Kink.com.
Google spokeswoman Meghan Casserly declined to comment beyond saying that the company holds multiple parties for different groups of employees. The other companies confirmed that they’d held holiday celebrations but declined to discuss them.