OCTOBER 13-15, 2020


Learn from leading experts in the events and festival field at WFEA’s Annual conference



(Requires Separate Entry)

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

9:00 am–2:45 pM



Non-Dues Income: Explore ways to grow the bottom line of your organization through merchandise, promotions and non-traditional fundraising

Mike Berry, Secretary of Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet

What started as a way to generate community support for Kentucky Derby Festival by creating a plastic lapel pin has turned into a million-dollar program involving collectors, event admissions and grand prizes. Place your bet that these promotions might work for you, too.

Music and Your Event

Ken Deans, COO, Flaregun

Who, What, When & Where: Know your audience. Hear from a seasoned veteran in producing live events, who consults and performs operations management annually around the world to many festivals and companies including Coachella, Stagecoach, BottleRock, Thunder on the Ohil and the World’s largest grossing multi-day event, Desert Trip.

Non Sponsorship Revenue

Bruce Skinner, Washington Festivals and Events Association

As the former CEO of the International Festivals and Events Association, Bruce Skinner got to know many of the world’s top event organizers and was often the first person to hear about their new ideas. He’ll present the ones that will help your bottom line.

How to Produce an Amazing Live Event That Makes Everybody TALK

David Doxtater, The Workshop

Live events exist in the marketing space, and are a blend of creativity that touch both the physical and digital world (often referred to as “experiential marketing.”) Behind every delectable bite of finger food and every stunning electrical display, there is thought, creativity and ingenuity happening on the back end to pull it all together. The leader of The Workshop will explain what goes into making an event a great one that makes everybody talk.



2020 WFEA ANNUAL Conference

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

3:00 - 4:30 PM

The Latest on Event Public Health and Safety Issues

Kate Becker, Creative Strategist at King County Executive’s Office, and Chris Swenson, Seattle Special Events Committee Chair

4:45 - 6:15 PM


These sessions are held for professionals on a specific topic. Held in a roundtable setting, attendees can pick their topic and ask questions in an informal setting. It’s a great opportunity to get to know people in your area of expertise.


Kate Becker, Creative Strategist at King County Executive’s office, Chris Swenson,  Seattle Special Events Committee Chair and Melissa Jurcan from Compass U.S.A. will discuss Crisis Communications. We will also discuss how events can develop a collective response working together.

Healthy Active Lifestyle Events

Jared Loranger, Fizz Events Northwest; Tom Anderson, And Events, Patty Swedberg, Raise the Bar, Victoria Jones, North Olympic Discovery Marathon

Arts Festivals

Miguel Guillen, Karen Hanan - Washington State Arts Commission

Learn about your Washington State Arts Commission’s programming and funding opportunities, and where they might intersect with your festivals and events.


Melissa Jurcan, CSEP –  Director of Marketing & Experience, Compass Group

Maritime Events

Carol Riley, Olympia Harbor Days; Chris Moore, Executive Director, Washington Trust

Chris Moore is the local coordinating entity for the newly designated Maritime Washington National Heritage Area

Cultural Events

Putter Bert, President/CEO of KidsQuest Children's Museum

Parks and Recreation Events

Mark Hendrickson, Kent Parks and Recreation Department; Chuck Denney, Tumwater Parks and Recreation


Jon Stone, CEA Partners

Vendor and Suppliers

Eddie Redman, Grand Event Rentals, Tim Medved, U-Cool

Monetizing Your Ticketing System

Ryan Kitz, Afton, LLC & Afton Tickets, Inc.

Working with Vendors

Scott Nagel, Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival

6:30 - 8:00 PM


8:00 - 11:00 PM

Hospitality Suite

Sponsored by Western Display Fireworks

Continue learning and networking with some of the industry’s leading experts. WFEA board members will be available to answer any questions that you might have.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

8:00 – 9:00 AM

Opening Keynote

Deal or No Deal: Finding Solutions When Problems Arise

Mike Berry, Secretary of Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet

Finding Solutions When Problems Arise: It is easier to come up with a plan to address a major issue when you’re not on a media deadline, your cell phone is not ringing and people aren’t staring at you! Hear some real life examples of when one of America’s largest civic celebrations got it right (and sometimes wrong!) and learn how a little preparation can make life easier in a crisis.

9:00 – 10:00 AM

Professional Development Sessions

The Future of Sponsorship

Paula Beadle, Caravel Marketing

Paula Beadle, a results-driven leader, will share industry trends and best practices in the areas of sponsorship sales, valuation, activation, and emerging categories. She has an established record of increasing revenue and improving performance for organizations including Seafair, Seattle Center, Special Olympics, University of Washington and the Washington State Fair.


Susan Watchie, Watchie Insurance Group

Joe Mullens, Principal at Safety Northwest

Please join us for a discussion on workplace violence insurance and how your organization can protect itself against this hazard. Watchie Insurance Group outlines prevention, crisis management and insurance indemnification that protects your event against a threat of, or an actual assailant attack whether it be at a fair, festival and/or any other public venue insured. We will tell you how it differs from your general liability policy as well as go over things to think about if a loss should happen. There is immediate primary coverage to respond to your directors, officers, employees, volunteers and patrons and of foremost magnitude: any victim or survivor. Question and Answer period will follow.

Managing Technology

Eric Corning, Seattle Seafair

Special events large and small can often utilize similar best practices to ensure a successful event. Take a look at traditional best practices and how technology can help and hinder your efforts to organize events.

Building a Better Festival – Waste Audit Strategies to Identify Future Progress

Meg Johnson, Waste Connections of Washington

The annual Recycled Arts Festival is one of the largest public gatherings in Clark County, WA. As a method to further their waste reductions goals, a waste audit was performed on all solid waste generated from the two-day festival. Methods of collection and source separation will be discussed as well as the importance of partnership across vendors, volunteers, organizers, and festival goers. With thousands of people joining The Recycled Arts Festival with “going green” on the mind, there are just a few more steps that can be recognized to reduce and reuse on a broader scale to make this festival going experience even better.*

10:15 – 11:15 AM

Professional Development Sessions

Let’s Make A Deal

Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival

Just like the popular game show, sponsorship activation can be a game of negotiation, strategy and choices. Should you keep providing the benefits you offer to a sponsor or entice them to trade for what’s behind Door Number Two?

Programming the Future Waterfront Park with Cultural and Recreational Activities

Heidi Hughes, Friends of the Waterfront

Heidi Hughes, Executive Director of Friends of Waterfront Seattle, the City's nonprofit partner helping to help build the park and operate the future public spaces in partnership with Seattle Parks & Recreation, will discuss how the future park will be a year round gathering place for Seattle and the region. Like other signature parks around the country, Seattle’s future Waterfront Park will be a platform for community programming and a variety of cultural, educational and recreational activities.

How to take your event to the next level 

Morgan Marum, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Hoopfest

Hoopfest is the largest three on three basketball tournament in the world, bringing 250,000 spectators annually to Spokane and generating $48 million in economic impact. Hear how they have grown it over the years and how you can do the same with your event.

Maximizing Your Food and Beverage Profits

Shelby De Lappe, Trudi Webster, Festivals, Inc.

The increased number of food and beverage events in the region creates an ongoing increased level of competition that currently challenges all major festivals and events to step up their game. Join Trudi Webster (Media Director) and Shelby De Lappe (Vendor Relations Manager) to hear how the combination of strong vendor relationships, social media delivery, new concepts, and staying on top of current trends, can assist to maximize food and beverage profits.

11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Network Supplier Lunch

Building Connections – EXPO Speed Dating

Discover the latest trends in our industry with many top event suppliers and producers. Each table at the lunch will be hosted by a vendor/exhibitor, who will distribute material sand discuss the merits of their product with fellow table members. During the four course lunch, each table will be visited by 12 different suppliers, who will discuss 12 different topics.

1:45 – 2:45 PM

Professional Development Sessions

How to Make Something From Nothing

George Sharp, Thurston Economic Development Council

This session is both for you as a professional and for your festival or event. You will learn ideas on how to be seen as leader and expert in your field and community, as well as how to have your festival or event standout from the 1,000’s of festivals taking place annually. Learn how the National Lentil Festival was in the New York and L.A. Times in its second year of existence in 1990 and how the Tiny Town of Bucoda, Washington and their first year Boo-Coda Spook-Tacular Festival received an estimated $100,000 of earned media in 2018, including a segment on King5 News.

Scaling Up Your Events Organization

Michael Bleau, Co-founder and CEO of Event Hub

This session is about how to scale up your event in an increasingly competitive landscape: whether that means increasing the attendance at a single event or spawning new events within your portfolio. It incorporates tangible best-in-class examples from Event Hub’s 400+ annual festival, fair, expo, and sporting event customers.

What Brands Are Looking for in a Successful Partnership

Kristi Ellefson, Delta Dental

Learn what sponsors are looking for from the first approach to the final recap report from the senior manager for public relations and brand of Delta Dental.

Low Cost Economic Impact Reports

Scott Nagel, Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival, Port Angeles

The need for information about the economic impact and demographics of the audiences of festivals and events has never been greater. Festival management is serious business, but sometimes it’s difficult to persuade government, sponsors, and business that a festival contributes to the economic vitality of your community. Learn the basics of economic impact and demographic studies, what they do for your organization, and how this can answer those LTAC grant questions required by the State.

3:00 – 4:00 PM

Professional Development Sessions


Amy McGuffin, Kittitas Chamber of Commerce, Britnee Christen, National Lentil Festival, Pullman

The Kittitas Chamber of Commerce is very successful at coordinating small to large events in Central Washington. The use of lodging tax funding has been a driving force to implement the operations and promotions of events. Learn how you can adapt their ideas to your area.

Planning for Seattle’s Future Major Events

Ralph Morton, Seattle Sports Commission

Seattle is experiencing a true sports renaissance, with an opportunity to seize the world’s stage in hosting impactful events in the coming decade. Be a part of seizing the momentum and elevating Seattle’s sports and event industry, because the region has to lean in to make it happen.


Jon Stone, CEA Partners; Susan Den

Every report begins as a unique story in draft form, yet we tend not to think about our financial documents in narrative terms. How you populate and present your numbers determines the nature of the story and influences the perception of the recipient. Session components include:

  • How to read a financial statement
  • How to refine a chart of accounts
  • Meaningful forecasting made easy



Andy Fife, Cultural Policy & Strategy Specialist

Whatever the shape or size of your organization, there is likely some group that comes together to make big decisions and set policy. Whether they are a board of directors, board of trustees, an ownership group, an advisory council or otherwise, odds are they aren’t optimized. And however glaring the need for change, it is never quite obvious just how to pursue it. In this session by Seattle consultant Andy Fife, we will talk about the peculiar challenges and opportunities of a board, how to build consensus around the areas of greatest need, and how to go about making lasting positive change.

4:00 – 5:00 PM

Professional Development Sessions

Practicing a Crisis Emergency Plan

Frank Sebastian, Emergency Management Group, Stephanie Allestad, Chocolate on the Beach Festival, Public Information Officer Grays Harbor Fire District #8

In the events world, Frank has served as the Emergency Manager for Seafair and the Special Olympics Games U.S.A.

He previously served many years with the federal government, at both FEMA and HHS Office of Emergency Management. He deployed to many national special security events, large-scale disasters and fatality incidents, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Haiti earthquake, and the SR 530 (Oso) slide.

5:45 PM


Help us recognize the best of our industry, as welcome new inductees into the WFEA Hall of Fame, the State’s Volunteer of the Year, and the winners of the Summit Awards, which embodies the best of the festival and events industry.

Interested in more info on the Summit Awards? Click Here

8:00 - 11:00 PM

Hospitality Suite

Sponsored by Western Display Fireworks

Continue learning and networking with some of the industry’s leading experts. WFEA board members will be available to answer any questions that you might have.

thursday, October 15, 2020

8:30 – 9:30 AM

Professional Development Sessions


PART 1 OF 2: Continued in Next Session

Robert Mitchell, Director of Community Disaster Medicine, Liz Purdy, Bellingham Seafeast Executive Director; Lynn Sterbenz, City of Bellingham Emergency Manager

Collaborative Disaster Response for Festivals and Events: In light of the Active Violence Events in Las Vegas and Gilroy, we'll take a look at how we embraced the disaster planning process from the ground up using Bellingham SeaFeast 2019 as a case study. Join us as we outline the [who, what, why, when, where and how for] building blocks to create a plan.

Additionally, Dr. Mitchell will remain available to lend some perspective regarding the rapidly evolving global outbreak of nCoV-19 from a disaster medicine, historical and citizen’s viewpoint.

Building a Communications Plan

John Thorburn, Boldhat Productions

The success of every event hinges on an effective plan to attract guests or ticket buyers. Learn how to develop a comprehensive marketing and communications plan and build your own playbook to increase engagement and grow attendance.

Looking at Companies as Partners Instead of “Sponsors”

Melissa Jurcan, CSEP – Director of Marketing + Experience, Compass Group

It can never be stressed enough that event organizers need to look through the eyes of the sponsors, and that we need to look first at achieving their goals. Many event organizers still enter meetings wanting to strictly to fund their events, and overlook this all important step.

Ask the ExpertS

Bruce Skinner, WFEA Executive Director; David Doxtater, the Workshop

9:45 – 10:45 AM

Professional Development Sessions

Powering an Event Through Social Media

Joshua Dircks

The last 10 years have seen a seismic shift in how consumers receive their news and information. This change has left many legacy events and brands flatfooted and struggling to find answers. However, this shift is actually a massive opportunity for the experiential marketing world which includes events and festivals. Join us for an interactive learning session about the best practices for harnessing the power of social media for your event and festival.

How to Work With Vendors

Carol Riley, Harbor Days, Olympia

There are many types of booth vendors and exhibitors – Arts & Crafts, Commercial, Food, and Non-Profit for most festivals and many events. How do you find new vendors? What is the best assortment and layout? What are the pros and cons of a juried vs non-juried selection process? What is your registration process? Share experiences with indoor vs outdoor vending, booth fees vs commissions, add-ons and other offerings. What are your expectations, communication and setup challenges, and overnight security issues? Should WFEA be supporting a members only active list of booth vendors used and recommended by current members only?

Perfecting Your Property's Elevator Pitch

Andrew Scott, Manager of Business Development, Seattle Dragons

Sports properties are the producers of some of the best events that go along with their product on the playing field. Learn how you can perfect the elevator/sales pitch for your property through compelling storytelling, content and data when considering prospects in the discovery phase. Also discover how the XFL is remembering its past, reimagining its future.


PART 2 OF 2: Continued From Previous Session

Robert Mitchell, Director of Community Disaster Medicne, Liz Purdy, Bellingham Seafeast Executive Director; Lynn Sterbenz, City of Bellingham Emergency Manager

11:00 AM – 1:00 pM

CLosing keynote

How Do Events Survive Until 2021

Discussion led by Eric Corning, Seattle Seafair CEO and David Doxtater, Workshop Events



Bruce Skinner, Executive Director
Washington Festivals & Events Association
Mailing Address
1015 Georgiana Street
Port Angeles, WA 98362

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