"Engaging with event industry colleagues at the WFEA Conference is more critical this year than ever! The sessions, leaders and participants will be full of ideas on how we not just survive the pandemic, but prepare to implement safely when events can resume."

Beth Knox, Seattle Sports Commission - President

WFEA’s Annual Conference:

Your Complete Guide to Recovery

During and After COVID-19

October 13-16, 2020

Virtual via EventHub

Learn from leading experts in the events and festival field at this timely WFEA Annual Conference



Tuesday, October 13

11:00 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Non-sponsorship Revenue Programs/Survival After COVID/Event Production

Planning for a Future After COVID

It’s one thing to redirect your organization during the pandemic, it’s yet another to plan for survival until you can hold your next event. Hear from three seasoned event professionals on how they’re doing that.

Bruce Skinner, Washington Festivals and Events Association, moderator

Eric Corning, Seattle Seafair

Phil Megenhardt, Boldhat Productions

Cindy Verge, Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

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

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.

Mike Berry, Secretary of Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet, State of Kentucky, formerly with Kentucky Derby Festival

Is There an Auction/Fundraising Event In Your Future?

During these difficult financial times, a virtual auction or other fundraising event might provide you with enough funds to get you through the COVID crisis. Hear from a seasoned professional on how to stage such an event.

Shelly Tolo, Tolo Events

How to Produce an Amazing Live Event That Makes Everybody Talk

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.

David Doxtater, The Workshop




Tuesday, October 13

3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Opening Keynote

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Reimagining Festivals and Events During and After COVID:

A Global Perspective on the Future of Events in 2021 and Beyond

Even when the coronavirus disappears, the event landscape is going to change. Hear what seasoned event producers from around the world are planning for their events once they’re able to stage them.

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

Nick Dodds, former director, Edinburgh, Scotland, International Festival and 2012 London Cultural Olympiad

David Cox, Professional Bull Riders

Julie Clemins, Milwaukee Summerfest

4:15 – 5:00 p.m.

The Outlook for the Reopening of Events

This will be an extremely important session – Jon Snyder will update us on the current status of COVID-19 on the events industry and related re-opening guidelines.

Jon Snyder, Governor’s Office

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Happy Hour: Affinity Sessions and Round Tables

Enjoy your favorite beverage and meet fellow conference registrants by attending one of these interactive affinity group sessions

Healthy Active Lifestyle Events

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


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

Maritime Events

Carol Riley, Acting Executive Director, 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

Parks and Recreation Events

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


Jon Stone, CEA Partners

Vendor and Supplier

Eddie Redman, Grand Event Rentals, Tim Medved, U-Cool, Jamie Nassar, EventHub


Eric Corning, Seattle Seafair, David Doxtater, the Workshop, Audrey Fan


Peggy Doering, Spokane Valleyfest


Wednesday, October 14

11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

11:00 – 11:45 a.m.

WFEA Annual Meeting


Denise Rice, Honey Bucket, WFEA President

State of the Industry

John Thorburn, WFEA President-elect; Phil Megenhardt, Bold Hat Productions

12:00 – 12:45 p.m.

Keynote Address:

Cultural Diversity, We’re All in this Together

This session will cover the unique relationship between the American Indian tribal culture and the general public. The discussion will cover how tribal impacts on local economies and inter-governmental relations have changed from the 20th to the 21st century with respect to public interests and welfare.

Ron Allen, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Blyn

1:00 – 1:45 p.m.

Keynote Address:

Deal or No Deal: 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, especially during these trying times.

Mike Berry, Secretary of Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet, State of Kentucky, formerly with Kentucky Derby Festival

2:00 – 2:45 p.m.

Professional Development Sessions

Building a Communications Plan: More Important Than Ever

The success of every event hinges on an effective plan to attract guests or ticket buyers, especially in a post-COVID world. 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

Sponsorship in the Era of Virtual Programming

Learn how you can convert your event into a virtual experience and sell your sponsors into it. Also, discover how to engage your social media to keep up connections and build your audience during this time.

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

Sports as We’ve Never Known It

The National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. All three of the professional franchises that have a Seattle presence are up and running, but they’re doing it in a very different way. Learn the steps each had to take in order to conduct their seasons

David Young, Seattle Seahawks

Alisia Anderson, Seattle Mariners

Don Graham, Oakview Group

What’s New From the Liquor Control Board During COVID

The WSLCB will discuss how events have morphed during the pandemic and what creative things nonprofits rae doing in order to still fundraise under special occasion licenses. She will also talk about the new Non-profit Wine Associaiton License that passed legislation this past year – what it is, and why it enables organizers to do different events.

Beth Lehmann, Washington State Liquor Control Board Licensing Customer Service Manager

3:00 – 3:45 p.m.

Professional Development Sessions

Powering an Event Through Social Media, Even If They Aren’t Being Held

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.

Joshua Dirks, Bionic Project

How to Work With Vendors

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?  

Carol Riley, Acting Executive Director, Harbor Days, Olympia

Eddie Redman, Grand Event Rentals

Tim Medved, U-Cool Refrigeration

Coming Together in Unity to Heal Our Community

“Umoja” is a Swahili word which means “Unity.” Seattle's Umojafest mission has always been to “unify people of all ethnic backgrounds to celebrate Black Excellence, education, social festivities, networking, and to highlight the countless contributions of African Americans and those of the Diasporan culture locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.” Their message is more important than ever at this time, and even though permitting for festivals in the parks this summer were halted due to COVID, they still staged a march and rally on August 1st at Jimi Hendrix Park that celebrated unity and promoted advocacy for Black Lives, justice, and equity.”

Curtiss Calhoun, Umojafest, Seattle

4:00 – 4:45 p.m.

Keynote Address:

Taking Your Event Virtual

This session will go in-depth on the most important aspects to consider when producing hybrid or fully virtual events. Topics will include:

  • How to decide between going hybrid vs. fully virtual
  • How to schedule hybrid or virtual programming
  • Virtual programming best practices
  • Virtual event ticketing/access control
  • Virtual partnership pricing and marketing
  • Unique pre- and post-event opportunities for virtual events

Michael Bleu, CEO and Co-founder, EventHub

5:00 p.m.

Happy Hour: The WFEA Awards Ceremony

The Presentation of the Summit Awards

Sit back and enjoy your favorite beverage and view the winners at WFEA’s annual awards program


Thursday, October 15

12:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

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 discuss the merits of their product. You will also be able to participate in a scavenger hunt and when valuable prizes – the more vendors you visit, the better chance you have to win!

1:30 – 2:15 p.m.

Professional Development Sessions:

The Power of Your Relationship Network

Strong relationships with clients, partners, vendors and colleagues can make a big difference in our success…especially during a pandemic with greater isolation. This session will share tips for building and maintaining strong relationships, whether we’re networking at a business reception (remember those days??), working with vendors or meeting on a video call.

Beth Knox, Seattle Sports Commission

The Future of Sponsorship

One of the most asked questions by event organizers due to the Pandemic is how sponsorship will change in the future. Paula Beadle, the CEO of Caravel Marketing and the Founder of Sponsorship Mastery will share her insights about the changing landscape of sponsorship. She will share the results from a recent research study and provide specific recommendations to support your future success. Paula has worked side-by-side with several Washington events and properties to develop plans, increase revenue and improve performance including Seafair, the Seattle Sports Commission, Seattle Center, WSDOT, and the Washington State Fair.

Paula Beadle, Caravel Marketing & Sponsorship Mastery

Building a Better, Safer Festival – Waste Audits Strategies to Identify Future Sustainability Progress

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

Meg Johnson, Waste Connections of Washington

2:30 – 3:15 p.m.

Professional Development Sessions:

"Programming the Future Waterfront Park with Cultural and Recreational Activities" 

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.

Heidi Hughes, Friends of the Waterfront

Financial Resources for Special Events

There are a number of financial resources available for event organizers during these difficult times. Karen Hanan and Chris Swenson will let you know what’s available.

Karen Hanan, Washington States Arts Commission

Chris Swenson, Acting Director Seattle Office of Film & Music

Low Cost Economic Impact Reports

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.

Scott Nagel, Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival, Port Angeles

3:30 – 4:15 p.m.

Professional Development Sessions:

How to Make Something From Nothing

Now more than ever festivals and events need to come up with creative ideas to standout from the crowd and connect with their community on a shoestring budget. George Sharp, Rural Program Manager from the Thurston Economic Counsel has done that with the National Lentil Festival, Tumwater Artesian Brewfest and the Boo-Coda Spook-Tacular. He will share with you tips to tap into your creativity and make a difference for your festival and event attendees.

George Sharp, Thurston Economic Development Council

What Brands Are Looking for in a Successful Partnership in a new COVID reality

Learn how sponsorships are changing and what sponsors are looking for as we adapt to changes in events and promotions.

Kristi Ellefson, Sr. Brand and Public Relations Manager, Delta Dental of Washington.

Taking Care of Your Mental Health During the Pandemic

The Coronavirus has presented all of us with new stress levels as events continue to cancel, change, or be postponed. Hear from a professional psychiatrist on how to cope.

Dr. Joshua Jones, Director of Olympic Medical Center Physicians

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Happy Hour

Here’s your opportunity to chat with your fellow WFEA conference attendees. Enter one of these six portals to ask questions, or just to network with your fellow attendees:

Jared Loranger, FIZZ Events, sponsored by Eventhub
Melissa Jurcan, Compass Group, sponsored by UCool Refrigeration
Jon Stone, Gigs4U, sponsored by Grand Event Rentals
David Doxtater, The Workshop, sponsored by Honey Bucket


Friday, October 16

12:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

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 discuss the merits of their product. You will also be able to participate in a scavenger hunt and when valuable prizes – the more vendors you visit, the better chance you have to win!

1:45 – 2:30 p.m.

Professional Development Sessions:

Tourism and Events

The Kittitas Chamber of Commerce and the National Lentil Festival have been very successful in driving tourists to their events. The use of lodging tax funding has been a driving force to implement the operations and promotions of events. During these challenging times, there are also other ways that you can use the funds to keep your events alive.

Amy McGuffin, Kittitas Chamber of Commerce, Britnee Christen, Consultant, BMC Creative

Planning for Seattle’s Future Major Events

In the midst of non-stop upheaval and adjustments, Seattle is experiencing a sports renaissance with an opportunity to seize the world’s stage in hosting impactful events in the coming decade. Maintaining the momentum and elevating Seattle’s sports and event industry through and beyond the pandemic is critical to our region’s success long term.

Beth Knox, Seattle Sports Commission

Creating Financial Narrative

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

(opportunity for participants to ask us questions in advance of the conference)

Jon Stone, CEA Partners; Susan Den

Importance of Board Governance

Re-Boarding: Unlocking the Powers of Organizational Governance

Coronavirus, Black Lives Matter and the other transformational events of 2020 require both immediate response and fundamental change.  No matter what shape or size, your organization likely has a specific group that makes big decisions and sets policy. Whether a board of directors or trustees, an ownership group, an advisory council or otherwise, odds are they weren’t fully optimized before this year, and that the challenges of quarantine, economic fallout, social unrest and political turmoil haven’t improved the situation.  In this session by Seattle consultant Andy Fife, we will talk about the challenges and opportunities of governance and how to use this moment to start a whole new chapter of consensus-based practice and community-engaged accountability for your board of directors.  

Andy Fife, Cultural Policy & Strategy Specialist

2:45 – 3:30 p.m.

Professional Development Sessions:

Going At It Virtually

The Northwest Folklife conducted an incredible virtual show following the cancellation of the festival last spring. Run the Peninsula is an on-site and virtual race series that started in 2019 on the Olympic Peninsula made up of five races. Due to COVID-19, the series was forced to move races form on-site to virtual only As a result, virtual participation grew from 576 in 2019 to 6,469 participants thus far in 2020. Learn about how both events were able to adapt during the pandemic.

Annie O’Dowd, Northwest Folklife

Victoria Jones, North Olympic Discovery Marathon, Port Angeles

The Importance of Diversity

This is an event that has taught diversity for many years – their message is now more important than ever.

Mareesa Henderson, April Anderson, Northwest Unity Festival, Spokane

Monetizing Your Ticketing System

Here’s a few tips on how to earn additional revenue over and above your normal ticket sales.

Ryan Kintz, Afton Tickets

Legal Ramifications and Insurance Issues During COVID-19

This session will cover the following:

  • Availability of Insurance – Lines & Coverages
  • Communicable Disease Coverage availability
  • Event Rescheduling or Cancelling
  • Business Income Coverages
  • Workers Compensation
  • Event Cancellation Coverage Availability

Selena Linde, Perkins Coie

Dale Johnson, Insurance Consultant, Michigan Festivals and Events Chairman

3:45 – 4:45 p.m.

Happy Hour With the Experts

You’ve attended many sessions over the last several days, but you still have questions. Feel free to ask them of the top experts in the event industry:

David Doxtater, The Workshop

Eric Corning, Seattle Seafair

Audrey Fan, Audrey Fan Productions

Bruce Skinner, Washington Festivals and Events Association

Learn from leading experts in the events and festival field at this timely WFEA Annual Conference



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

Membership Rates

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