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2017 Annual Conference



Minnesota Festivals and Events Association is Minnesota’s premier event industry association. We strive to provide event planners, volunteers and vendors with education, networking opportunities and industry knowledge.

Join MNFEA at the 2017 Annual Conference! Each session is crafted to meet educational needs of the event industry. Sessions are presented by local planners and professionals who are leaders in their field. Not only will you learn event management skills, you will come away with innovative ideas, new connections and applicable practices for your next event.

In addition to a great line-up of sessions, the annual "Soirée" social will be held Thursday night at Cragun's Resort where we will partake in winter activities and a "civilized" warming house.

Join us Wednesday Night - March 8th
This additional networking event at the Brainerd Curling Center, will include curling lessons,
light appetizers and beverages! Dress comfortable! Layered clothes including sweatpants, yoga pants, or any pant that stretches are recommended. 

Come early and meet fellow conference attendees!  Register here for the Wednesday evening event.

Sponsorship options available. Click here.

Wednesday Night Networking Event
March 8, 6:30 – 9 p.m.
Brainerd Curling Center

After last year’s success of adding a networking event on Wednesday night, we are continuing the tradition!

Join us for MNFEA’s version of a good ol’ "Bonspeil!" (It’s pronounced Bon-speel. A fun word that basically means “curling tournament.”) Grab some stones and get ready for a unique networking evening with your favorite event professionals.

This additional networking event at the Brainerd Curling Center, will include curling lessons, light appetizers and beverages! 

Dress comfortable!
Layered clothes including sweatpants, yoga pants, or any pant that stretches are recommended.
Clean tennis shoes or a boot are preferred, please no dress shoes or heels.  

Complimentary Shuttle from Cragun's Resort. Please meet in the Lobby at 5:30 for a ride or just us there! 

Click here for a list of curling lingo, should you be so inclined!

Register now for the Wednesday evening Curling event.

9-11 p.m.
Cragun's Hospitality Room 340
"Unofficial" After Party

Annual Thursday Night "Soirée"
March 9, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m
"A Winter Wonderland" at Cragun's Resort

After dinner we'll enjoy a fireworks show by RES Specialty Pyrotechnics and head outdoors for more networking and some fun in the snow! 

Weather forecasts currently show a high of 34º for Thursday. Warm coat, gloves and footwear suggested. We'll provide fleece headbands and hand warmers!

  • Dog Sledding (weather permitting)
  • Horse Trolley Rides
  • S'mores Bar
  • Warming House 
  • Fireworks Display
  • Bon Fire 
  • Bean Bags 

9-11 p.m.
Cragun's Hospitality Room 340
"Unofficial" After Party

2017 Conference Schedule

Thursday, March 9, 2017 

8:30 - 10 a.m.
Networking Breakfast and Registration - Lakeshore Meeting Room 

9:15 - 9:45 a.m.
Events / MNFEA 101
Are you new to event planning? Have questions about MNFEA? Want to network with others that are new to their organization or new to event planning? MNFEA board members will be on hand to answer questions and brainstorm ways to make your event shine. Topics will be participant driven but will cover the biggies...volunteer management, sponsorship and marketing. We look forward to meeting you!

10 a.m.
Welcome & Introductions  - Lakeshore Meeting Room

10:15 - 11 a.m.
Cultural Sensitivity for the Accidentally

Shannan Paul: Radio host, comedian

11:10 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Social Media for Events: A Case Study on the Zombie Pub Crawl
Drew Gneiser:  The Social Lights

Drew Gneiser (Training Manager of The Social Lights) will discuss how to develop and manage a successful social media strategy for an event. This presentation will explore The Social Lights' work with Zombie Pub Crawl—driving ticket sales, content creation, community management, and day-of social media execution—uncovering how a social media strategy can support specific business goals.

12:10 - 1 p.m.
Snap Shot of Site Services to Support Your Plan
Building your relationships with your suppliers is as important as building your site plan. When setting your project timeline, it is important to engage your suppliers to ensure a timely setup as well as having the right equipment available when you need it. This workshop will be a quick snapshot on designing a simple plan along with how each supplier works within that plan.

Moderator: Randy Dewitz - Fanfare Attractions

  • Diana Rohlfsen - Biffs Inc
  • Wendy Famodu - Ziegler Cat Rental
  • Vince Vanella - Vanella Group
  • Steve Madson - SRO Prductions
  • Brad Kohorst - Party Time Rental 

** LUNCH & LEARN **        

Event Security:  See Something, Say Something
Event security begins with all of us. Each of us plays a critical role in keeping our events safe. Learn the basic tools needed to recognize and help prevent terrorism and criminal activity within and during your events. Be aware of your surroundings, “See Something, Say Something.

Patty Hellen - Minneapolis Police Department Consultant preparing for the 2017/18 Summer X Games, 2018 Super Bowl LII, and 2019 NCAA Men’s Final Four

2:15 - 3 p.m.
Grow Event Revenue with Online Marketing

Ruth Tambornino  & Bernie Laur:
2060 Digital/Hubbard Broadcasting

3:10 - 3:40 p.m.
Fireworks at Your Next Event?

Fireworks are a truly exciting art form, requiring creativity, skill and safety. Learn what goes into the planning of a great show, see samples up close and find out exactly what your money buys! RES Specialty Pyrotechnics provides an entire range of pyrotechnic arts: traditional fireworks displays, fireworks synchronized to music and multimedia, indoor pyrotechnics, and close proximity outdoor displays. Chances are, if you've been to a concert, sporting event or theme park recently, you've seen RES in action. Join us Thursday night for a product demo of RES products over Gull Lake at Cragun’s!

3:45 - 4:30 p.m.
Food & Beverage Trends 

Moderator:  Stephanie Hansen: MyTalk 107.1’s – the “Weekly Dish”


  • Darren McConnell - Sysco
  • Ryan Parranto - Phillips Wine & Spirits 
  • Adam Harness - Phillips Wine & Spirits 
  • Dennis Larson - Minnesota State Fair

5:30 p.m.      **DINNER**  

6:40 p.m.
Fireworks show

6:45 - 9 p.m.
Thursday Night "Soirée" 

A Winter Wonderland!

9-11 p.m.
Cragun's Hospitality Room 340
"Unofficial" After Party

Friday, March 10, 2017

8:30 - 9 a.m.
Networking - Lakeshore Meeting Room 

9 - 9:40 a.m.
Insider's Tips for Attracting Media Attention
J. Marie Fieger - Nemer Fieger 

  • What are producers and editors looking for?
  • What should be included in a fact sheet ….
  • What steps to consider if there is breaking news…..what to have prepared in advance….
  • How to treat media representatives prior to, and on-site.
  • What is important to know about being the on-camera spokesperson.

9:45 - 10:45 a.m.
Breakout Sessions (pick two of the following)

    • Drones:  The Good, the Bad & the Exciting! 
    • 5K FAQ 
    • Online Ticketing  Options 
    • Vetting a Security Company 

10:50 - 11:30 a.m.
Protecting Your Event 
Brian Lukasavitz - Lukasavitz Law Group, LLC
This session will cover basic legal aspects of a variety of common festival and event contracts, including; performance agreements, vendor contracts and staff/volunteer contracts. The session will also cover steps that organizers can take to minimize liability and ensure compliance with local, state and federal laws.

11:30 - 11:40 a.m.
MNFEA Annual Meeting
The MNFEA annual meeting will take place directly after the previous session in the same room. Buffet-style lunch will begin at 11:45 a.m.

** LUNCH **

12:30 - 1:25 p.m.
The Ultimate ROI: Inside an Award-Winning Volunteer Program
Having trouble finding the right volunteers? Or getting them to stick around? Attend this session and learn recruitment tricks to get the right people, how to recognize them so they will return and brainstorm creative ways to recognize them on a budget. Come armed with questions and best practices.


  • Ruth Glaser - Hazeltine GC / Ryder Cup 
  • Jackie Maas - City of Plymouth
  • Theresa Janechek - Woodbury Days

1:30 - 2:15 p.m.
Identifying, Securing and Retaining Quality Sponsors
Building Event Sponsorships/Partnerships
An effective sponsorship/partnership is more than banner placement and ensuring your client’s correct logo is being used throughout the event.  This workshop will explore how to work with a sponsor to ensure their goals are defined and will explore ways to deliver brand awareness throughout the event.  Ideas to build deeper and broader audience engagement can include social media integration, on-site activation, cross-promotional opportunities and speaking opportunities.

  • Rosanne Bump - President & CEO, Saint Paul Festival & Heritage Foundation
  • Brett Palmer - AbiJack Management

Closing remarks and prize drawings
Conference ends at 2:30 p.m.

New in 2017!

Break Out Sessions
9:45 a.m. Friday

Drones: The good, the bad the ugly and the exciting - Randy Dewitz - Fanfare Attractions
Drones can be useful to capture images of your event, but what are the rules and regulations around drones? How can you protect yourself against potential harm and danger to your attendees? Come with questions.

Online Ticketing Options:  Steve Madson - SRO Productions 
Explore online ticketing options for your next event, negotiating service fees and best practices for admitting guests. Should you try Groupon, Living Social or other deal sites to move tickets? 

5K FAQ: Mary Anderson - Anderson Race Management 
Have you ever wanted to know what it takes to put on a 5K? Bring your questions that you have always wanted to ask regarding starting a run/walk in your community or for your organization. This is great for attendees who have never organized an event as well as those who have organized different types of runs, walks, biking or triathlon events. 

Vetting a Security Company: John Lafferty - Rock Security 
So your insurance vendor, the venue, or the local government tells you that your event MUST have security. What do you do now? Will the yellow pages or Google fulfill what you need? Sure, you can call any security company, get a rate and pray that what they send is what you hoped for, but why not get what you want and deserve! Come learn the helpful hints on getting what you want out of a security vendor and what you are really paying for while meeting the all the requirements put on you.

Conference Hotel

Cragun's Resort on Gull Lake 
11000 Craguns Drive
Brainerd, Minnesota 56401

Please call to make a reservation:  Mention MNFEA
Phone: 1-800-272-4867
• $95 room rate (Wed. & Thurs)
• Discount rates for Cabins and extended weekend stays

Online Registration

To register for the conference and additional MNFEA events visit: http://mnfea.com/events

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