Log in
Log in

2023 WFEA Annual Conference 

Register Now for the No.1 Festival and Event Conference in the Pacific Northwest

October 8-11, 2023

Hosted at the Hilton Garden Inn &

Historic Downtown Issaquah

Including a Behind the Scenes Look into the

Issaquah Salmon Days Festival

Hilton Garden Inn Issaquah

1800 NW Gilman Blvd

Issaquah, WA 98027

Phone: 425-837-3600

Hotel Discount:

Click Here to Book Hotel (special conference discount) 


Sunday, October 8

Pre-Conference Living Classroom:

´╗┐Behind the Scenes at Issaquah Salmon Days

The Miracle of the Salmon

Take a behind the scenes tour of the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival and see first hand how they produce the event. See how they run food and beverage, run their volunteer program, how they market, and other areas of the event.

Most of all, here’s your opportunity to see salmon return to the Issaquah Hatchery, including Chinook, Coho and Sockeye. From the hatchery, you will be able to see adult salmon digging their redds (nests) and spawning in Issaquah Creek. Visitors can also get an up close nose to nose view of the salmon from the hatchery’s glassed in fish ladder.

Reception following for registrants at the Hatchery.


Monday, October 9

Pre-Conference Workshop:

Marketing and Media Relations

Developing a Marketing Plan in the Digital Era

9:00 - 10:15 AM

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, building trust and sharing safety protocols with your guests, while remaining focused on proven metrics of engagement and attendance growth.

John Thorburn, Boldhat Productions

Melissa Jurcan, Amazon/Amazon Studios-Compass USA

Adaptive Strategies for Leveraging Social Media for Events

10:30 - 11:45 AM

The social landscape is vast and changes fast. Learn how you can successfully create a social media strategy to effectively and efficiently promote your event(s).

Natalie Maitland, Fort Worden Hospitality


12:00 - 1:30 PM

Learn How to Make the Most Out of Traditional and Non-Traditional Media

1:30 - 2:45 PM

Not only do events have to continue to work with traditional media like print and broadcast, they also need to best utilize digital marketing. Hear from the Vice President of Sound Media, who works in both areas.

Rudi Alcott, Sound Media


Monday, October 9

3:00 – 3:45 p.m.

The Sporting Agenda: Here’s What’s In Store for Us!

With the Major League All-Star Game and the World Cup coming up, Seattle has scored major wins. Learn what’s ahead for Seattle sporting event organizers and how you might be involved.

Beth Knox, Seattle Sports Commission


4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Round Table Sessions

(Change every 30 minutes)

As part of our round table discussions, you will be able to sit in on a round table discussion for events from you region.

Those regions include: North Olympic Peninsula/Pacific, Southwest Washington, North Puget Sound, Central Puget Sound, Greater Tacoma, South Puget Sound, Central Washington, Southeast Washington, Greater Spokane

Round table discussions:

  • Fundraising Events
  • Sponsorship
  • Chambers, Municipalities, Park and Recreation Departments
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Event Production
  • The New Technology for Events
  • Event Branding
  • Preserving the Environment
  • Event Sustainability
  • Ways to Streamline and Monetize With Your Vendors and Sponsors

6:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Newcomers Session


6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Opening Reception


8:00 – 11:00 p.m.

Hospitality Suite – Networking After Hours


Tuesday, October 10

Opening Keynote

8:30 – 9:30 AM

The Impact of Sports, Events and Festivals on Communities

When sports, events and festivals of every kind were cancelled in 2020-2021, people realized more than ever that events are important. Not only did they miss the excitement, their mental health suffered because they ceased to co-mingle with people that they wouldn’t ordinarily meet. Also, local businesses suffered financially during the weekends that those events were normally held.

Hear from three of the most dynamic people in the events industry:

  • Patrick Crumb currently is the President of Regional Sports Networks for Warner Bros. Discovery and has also held senior leadership positions with Fox Sports, Liberty Media, DIRECTV and AT&T. He is also the chairman of the board of the UW Foundation, co-founder of Montlake Futures, a past President of the UW Alumni Association, a Commissioner on the Seattle Sports Commission for the last 16 years, and a past chairman of the Washington Athletic Club
  • Beth Knox is the President and CEO of the Seattle Sports Commission, Co-chair of the Seattle 2026 FIFA World Cup Host City Board, and the former CEO of Seafair and the USA Games Special Olympics She also worked for One Reel and Teatro ZinZanni
  • Bruce Skinner is the President of WFEA and produces fundraising events in small to mid-sized markets. He is the former CEO of the Fiesta Bowl, and along with Knox, brought the Rock n Roll Marathon series to Seattle. He is also the author of the book Event Sponsorship.


9:45 – 10:30 AM

Building a Mega Event

How do you take an idea and turn it into one of the largest and best events in the West?

Bill Burke, Pig Out in the Park, Spokane

Small Market Events: Putting Creativity Into Your Sponsorship

Learn 5 ideas to identify opportunities to build in creativity into your sponsorship development and procurement process.

George Sharp, Thurston Economic Development Council; Victoria Jones, North Olympic Discovery Marathon


Production Track: Eight Steps for Producing a Successful Event – No. 1

STATE OF THE ART: How to organize and plan complex experiences

  • Introduce our team of professional site management and teaching experts
  • How to build an event, roles, and specialties
  • Critical element/documents needed for a large event
  • Critical documents
  • Pre-production planning tools and approach
  • Site planning theory
  • Drawings, renderings, and site visualization
  • How far to take contingency planning; 80% planning vs 20% chaos


The Workshop is one of the top event production companies in the country. David Doxtater founded The Workshop in 1997 with a vision for inspiring people to connect with new ideas, celebrate achievement and participate in making our world a better place. Following this vision, The Workshop has produced hundreds of events, concerts, galas, festivals and community celebrations that strive to build a stronger engaged community. Their work is iconic moments in Northwest event history. Think Bumbershoot, MLB All-Star Game, New Year’s Space Needle Fireworks Show, Summer Nights at the Pier, Viaduct Closing Celebration, Lake Union 4th of July, and many, many more iconic Northwest experiences.

(To be presented throughout the conference, presented by the Workshop)

Fundraising Event Professional Track:

Event Spotlight - The Showcase and the Boulevard

Jon Neill shares observations from his new role as Executive Director of the Community Cancer Fund in Spokane regarding hosting the region’s premier charity even ton the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene and launching a brand new road race on the streets of downtown Spokane.

Jon Neill, Spokane Community Cancer Fund

Sustainability- How Can We Take Small Green Steps One at a Time

In this session we will go through cause and effects of climate change, and then examine what we can do one step at a time to change the world throughout our event industry.

Eddie Redman, Grand Event Rental


10:45 – 11:30 AM

Big Market Events: ArtsWA: Grants and other Opportunities for Festivals and Events

Learn what your state Arts Commission – ArtsWA – has to offer in terms of services, grants and other opportunities for engagement and support.

Karen Hanan, Washington State Arts Commission

Small Market Events: The Secret to LTAC Grants

Many cities and counties in the state offer LTAC (Lodging Tax Advisory Committee) grants to festivals and events in their communities. Learn about the parameters, where to apply, and the secrets to obtaining the maximum amount from people from both sides of the fence – those who serve on committees and make decisions, and those that apply and receive.

Donya Alward, Red Lion Hotel; Victoria Jones, North Olympic Discovery Marathon

Production Track: Eight Steps for Producing a Successful Event, No. 2

GOOD PEOPLE: Hiring and Training Staff, Managers, Crew and Service Vendors

  • Event map
  • Staffing and defining expertise needs
  • Contract and training
  • Find, contract and manage service vendors

´╗┐(Presented by the Workshop)

Fundraising Event Professional Track: SOLD! Auction Items that Wow For Maximum Fundraising Success!

Procuring exciting auction items is critical to the success of and fundraising gala. . .but where to start? This session will discuss ways to take even basic items to the next level! We will delve into top performing items at events, how to package them for maximum dollars and the best way to promote them guests. We will also look at the pros and cons of using consignment items, how revenue enhancers can add spark to your audience and what to look for in selecting the right auctioneer for your event.


Elizabeth McLaughlin, Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties


How to Prevent Becoming a Victim of Your Own Success

What do you do when your growth and audience succeeds beyond your wildest expectations? This session will discuss the lessons, celebrations, challenges, and pitfalls of growth and scaling the audience of your events. From parking to volunteer coordination to regional traffic impact, we will look at real-world examples of festival and event growing pains, with some tips and tricks to help your own events scale successfully.

Joe Muharsky, Washington Renaissance Fair 

Networking Supplier Lunch

11:45 AM – 1:45 PM

Discover the latest trends in our industry, including those developed during COVID that will still exist post-pandemic. Each table at the lunch will be hosted by a vendor/exhibitor, who will distribute materials and discuss the merits of their product with fellow table members. During the four course lunch, each table will be visited by 24 different suppliers


2:00 – 2:45 PM

Big Market Events: How to Wow Them

The WOW event is about engaging your customer and providing an unexpected and unique experience. Learn the elements that make up the WOW experience: impeccable service, personalization, surprise and delight, emotional connection and storytelling.


Peter Metz, Event Design and Consulting


Small Market Events: Put the WOW Factor into your Event

Learn 10 ideas to implement to make your audience go WOW that was cool and create a buzz about the activity. It is all about the experience you create.

George Sharp, Thurston Economic Development Council


Production Track: Eight Steps for Producing a Successful Event, No. 3

CONTROL: Communications Systems, Public Safety, Crowds and Safety

  • Communications system model for festivals
  • Controlling emergency and non-emergency communications
  • Safety plans, medical & non-medical response, lost kids
  • Guest flow, crowd management, public safety, and safe revenue control 
  • Onsite control and live production tracking


(Presented by the Workshop)

Fundraising Event Professional Track: Pre, Post and During Your Event Technology Tips to drive Engagement and $$$

In this session, you'll learn how to best utilize today's technology to set your event up for success.  You'll learn how to  message and create engagement pre-event; ways you can utilize technology for engagement and streamlining the night of your event; elements of your website you need to include. We'll discuss strategies on how to create excitement; driving bidding and donations during your event; as well as post-event evaluations for measuring success and planning the next event.

Debby Roth & Kim Bauman, Greater Giving

The Advances and Opportunities in the World of Entertainment

There have been recent fluctuations within the entertainment industry – augmented costs, booking, etc. Gain insight from one of the country’s top industry professionals on how to harness opportunities, thrive, and breathe new life into the industry.

Gloria Connors, Founder; Connors and Company


    3:00 – 3:45 PM

    For Big and Small Events:Breaking Barriers and Building Community to Create Equitable, Diverse, and Inclusive Experiences for Events Professionals

    Join us for an engaging panel discussion on the barriers faced by underrepresented communities in events and festivals. Our esteemed panelists will shed light on the challenges and opportunities for creating more inclusive spaces and experiences. We'll explore strategies to ensure equitable access, celebrate diverse cultures, and foster a sense of belonging for all.

    Deci Evans, Kind + Co., Moderator; Karen Foster, KF Curates; Kyle LeMaire, Juan de Fuca Festival


    Production Track: Eight Steps for Producing an Event, Part 4

    WATCH OUT! Medicals, life-threatening situations and emergencies

    • Safety Watch overview
    • A practicum for outdoor event first aid and essential supplies, expertise needs, and staffing
    • Moulage interruption

    (Presented by the Workshop)

    Fundraising Event Professional Track: Revamping Live Auctions

    What’s the secret sauce to in-person fundraisers? After years of the same old same old, plus the impact of the pandemic on live events, how can fundraising event producers bring new life, excitement and engagement to donors, sponsors and attendees at our live fundraisers. What approaches truly add value, and make them want to donate, to come back next year, and be more engaged in the non-profit they’re supporting? 

    Kevin Joyce, Martha Enson, EnJoy Productions


    Rev Up Your Revenue: Battle-Tested Ways to Double Your Food, Beverage and Merch Sales

    Join Brenton Webster, CEO of FastBar Technologies, as he shares battle-tested tips and tricks on how events can optimize their food, beverage, and merchandise revenue. Discover the reasons why most events are leaving tens of thousands, or sometimes hundreds of thousands, of dollars on the table, and learn what you can do to maximize your event's earnings, potentially doubling your revenue. Brenton shares experience from 10+ years at the helm of FastBar Technologies, a leading provider of event-specific point of sale systems, which powers millions of dollars in onsite F&B and merch sales for hundreds of events nationwide each year. Don't miss this opportunity to unlock the untapped potential of your event's financial success.

    Brenton Webster, Fastbar Technologies


    The World of Grants Part 1: Strategies for Prospect Research

    Navigating the maze of grant opportunities can be challenging. Learn how to diversify your revenue source from government, corporate, trusts and foundational grants

    Wendy Tyner, Bellevue Wintergrass


    4:00 – 4:45 PM

    Big Market Events: The Many Ways of Getting People to Your Event

    • How to Write a Press Release
    • Social Media
    • Developing a marketing content calendar
    • Utilizing businesses to promote your event

    John Thorburn, Boldhat Productions, Andrea Thayer, Washington State Fair


    Small Market Events: Attracting Out of Town Guests

    You’ve saturated your local market and everyone in town knows about your event, but you still want to grow your audience. How do you do it? At this session, we will explore what motivates people to make the trek to your event and how to use Lodging Tax funds and other creative marketing strategies to reach them.

    Meredith McIlmoyle, Anacortes Arts Festival


    Production Track: Eight Steps for Producing an Event, No. 5

    BREAK-A-LEG: Entertainment, staging and technical planning

    • Successful technical direction, staging and entertainment production
    • Talent buying, contracting, advancing and hospitality

    (Presented by the Workshop)

    Fundraising Event Professional Track:

    Revolutionizing Experiences -Unleashing the Power of Visual Communication in Events

    In this thought-provoking session, we delve into the exciting realm of event branding, marketing, and visual communication, where forward thinking and unique approaches take center stage. Discover how to revolutionize the way we create and deliver unforgettable experiences to captivate audiences and leave a lasting impression.

    Amanda Korb, Blue Ink


    The World of Grants, Part II

    Grant applications can be lengthy and cumbersome. Learn new ways to cultivate a prospective grantor including effective writing techniques that will set the stage for a future grant award. 

    Wendy Tyner, Bellevue Wintergrass

    WFEA Awards Dinner and Auction

    Presented by U-Cool Refrigeration

    5:15 PM

    Help us recognize the best in our industry, as we welcome new inductees into the WFEA Hall of Fame presented by Grant Event Rentals, the State’s Volunteer of the Year presented by Stages Northwest and the winners of the Summit Awards, presented by Honey Bucket. Also recognized will be the first graduates of the WFEA Certification Program presented by Ticket Tomato, the Event of the Year Presented by Alexander Party Rentals, the Event of the Organizer sponsored by Cort Party Rentals and the Event Supporter of the Year sponsored by Morgan Sound.

    Hospitality Suite – Networking After Hours

    8:00 PM


    Wednesday, October 11


    8:00 – 9:00 AM

    Tips for Selling Alcohol Legally and Safely at Events

    Here’s what festival and event organizers should know about this very important subject coming out of COVID. The WSLCB Licensing and Enforcement divisions will educate you on how to have safe and legal events with alcohol, the deepest dive yet at a WFEA Conference on this important subject. They will cover all types of licensing permits, ways to obtain and sell alcohol, and relationships with alcohol industry members at events.

    Beth Lehmann and Jennifer Dzubay, Washington State Liquor Control Board

    Big Market Events: Taking Your Parade to the Next Level

    Hear new ideas that are being brought to the parade world, the largest event at many festivals. Many times organizers keep repeating the same event every year – “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It.” Hear from two of the largest parades in the west – The Spokane Lilac Festival and Seafair – about new ideas that they’ve implemented to make their events better.Representatives from the Seafair and the Spokane Lilac Festival.

    Eric Corning, Seafair, Adriana Berndt & Sam Snow, Spokane Lilac Festival


    Small Market Events: The Value of Parades

    Are you are thinking about taking your parade to the next level? Maybe you're wanting to create a new parade for your community or organization? In this session, we will be reviewing the basics from a to z on how to do just that."

    Deon Kapetan, Sequim Irrigation Festival

    Production Track, Eight Steps For Producing a Successful Event, No. 6

    I’M HUNGRY: Concessions, food and booths

    • Define the environment needed around vendors, production, and support
    • Integrity and curation
    • Defining the differences between events
    • Creating an efficient and bullet-proof vendor registration system
    • Finding, contracting, and managing vendors

    (Presented by the Workshop)


    Fundraising Event Professional Track: Essential Elements for Your Next Fundraising Event

    And here’s how to find money your budget to implement them

    Shelly Tolo, Tolo Events


    9:15 – 10:00 AM

    Big and Small Market Events: The Inside Secrets to the Highest Performing Ticket Platforms

    After working with long-term client partnerships, processing millions in ticket sales, and analyzing the market. Ticket Tomato has discovered trends, techniques, and processes that will help you to create a high-performing ticket portal for your event. Discover how to maximize your features; optimize your pricing; the timing of sales and promotions; the best time to create an on-sale date; fee strategies; best practices for messaging and communication; repeat customers; and more.

    Amy Maxwell, Ticket Tomato



    Production Track: Eight Steps for Producing a Special Event, No. 7

    MAKE SOME MONEY: Beer gardens, admissions, donations, merchandise, and sponsors

    • Planning, managing, running and serving alcohol
    • Pricing, menu, staffing, permits, security, beautification, money control, product control, distributors, refrigeration, ice, etc.

    (Presented by the Workshop)

    Fundraising Event Professional Track - Drive Fundraising Through Social Media

    Fundraising is a vital part of keeping your non-profit event alive. Learn more about strategies that help you and your organization stand out amongst the clutter and cut straight through to the donors.

    Natalie Maitland, Fort Worden Hospitality

    10 Insider Tips to Mastering the Art and Science of Sponsorship

    Selling event sponsorship has changed significantly in the last five years – learn from one of the top strategists in the country on what the trends are, the results of surveys that they have completed, and what that portends for sales in 2024.

    Paula Beadle, Sponsorship Marketing Association

    The Value of Events: Bringing Economic Vitality to Your Community

    We all need to be better prepared to make the business case to policymakers, sponsors, communities, partners and stakeholders for the ongoing development, investment, and growth of the events and festivals sector. We will highlight the tools, strategies, and different data sources to provide an industry-wide standard to reporting that can get everyone excited to highlight your return on investment.

    Brad Jones, CEO, Visit Bellevue


    10:15 – 11:00 AM

    Big and Small Market Events: Keeping Track of All That You Do

    Learn how to keep all of those balls in the air, what software programs that you might use, and other time management tips.

    John Thorburn, Sara Armstrong, Boldhat Productions


    What Is Strategy? Developing a Strategic Plan for Your Event

    The event industry’s premier strategic planner will give you real life industry examples of both successful and failed strategy. Also, learn how strategy is foundational to long term success, and how developing strategy is a commonly misunderstood process. Explore the very essence of strategy, learn the indicators of bad strategy, and begin to see your trajectory with newfound clarity.

    Jon Stone, Jon Stone Consulting

    Fundraising Event Professional Track: Thinking Outside the Box

    Too many times Nonprofit Events and Galas follow the same cookie-cutter format. How can you as a nonprofit think outside the box and bring your mission to life? Learn some unique ways to engage with your donors and guests which will lead to even more money generated for your cause!

    Gazala Uradnik, GSF Events


    Why Customization Matters: Celebrating our Client’s Stories

    How do we truly honor our communities with entertainment in live events? In these crazy days when isolation and disengagement threaten our aliveness as communities, how can we help our clients deliver their most important messaging and create the deepest possible connection with the audience? What can we do, as event designers and creators, designers, and producers, to engage and delight our people in the post-COVID environment? We’ll talk about how to deliver bespoke experiences that move us, build new muscles in engagement, interactivity and fun, and help revitalize communities, right when we need it most! 

    Mick Holsbeke, EnJoy Productions

    Closing Session: Two WFEA Certificate Programs

    11:15 AM – 1:15 PM

    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: A Multicultural Navigator to Creating Cultural Relevant & Inclusive Experiences

    Equity In Events: Is Your Event Really Equitable

    Workshop aims to create awareness and provide actionable insights to promote equity and inclusivity in event planning and execution.

    Key Topics

    Introduction to Equity in Events

    Implicit Bias and its Impact on Event Planning

    How to Identify Barriers and Challenges Faced by Underrepresented Groups in Events

    Learning Objectives

    Gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by underrepresented groups in events

    Explore Best Practices for Creating Inclusive and Welcoming Event Environments  

    Learn strategies to ensure equity, accessibility and inclusivity throughout the event planning process.

    Karen Foster, KF Curates

    WFEA’s Commitment to Diversity: The Nature of Events is to be a place where people come together, to unite, celebrate and share in community. WFEA’s goal is to embrace and foster an inclusive business climate of respect for all peoples regardless of national origin, race, religion, sex, gender identity, gender expression, age, color, sexual orientation or disability.

    Sales Training: Kathy Kramer, State Fair Park, Central Washington Fair

    Upon completion of this two-hour session, participants will receive a WFEA Sales Course Completion Certificate

    The session will cover:

    • Understanding how everyone contributes to the sales and business development process regardless of title
    • Understanding the sales and business development process
    • Discussion of Best in Class Standards
    • Talk about everyone can BEE Pollinators
    • Learn how you can step above and beat our competition delivering high levels of service and engagement


    We offer 3 different membership rate levels. For students, individuals and organizations - each based on annual budget.

    $125 / $155 / $225

    CALL US:



    1015 Georgiana St
    Port Angeles, WA 98362

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software