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Early Bird Registration: 
January 5 - January 31

MNFEA Members $125/person
Non-Members $150/person

Regular Registration:
February 1 - February 28

MNFEA Members $150/person
Non-Members $175/person

Late Registration: 
March 1-24
MNFEA Members $175/person
Non-Members $200/person

Laughs & Apps Comedy Event

Conference fees include sessions, workshops, networking activities, and most meals (onsite only). Optional evening event tickets must be purchased separately.

Register Now

2021 Conference Sessions

As always, the education sessions will be packed with valuable information for event and festival professionals, vendors, and service providers. While we will focus on getting back to business, sessions will also highlight general business, operations plans, diversity, and more!

Equally important, networking opportunities will be built into the program to maximize connections across and within each platform so you can meet & connect no matter what attendance style you prefer. We encourage all in-person attendees to bring a laptop with to be able to connect with virtual attendees throughout activities.

With a hybrid model in place, we have been able to approach speakers that have been leading national conversations, further elevating the knowledge that will be shared with you during the Conference! As such, some presentations will be displayed virtually onsite to support the comfort of these speakers. 

Wednesday, March 24

8:30 a.m.   Vendor Booths Open & Breakfast

9:00 a.m.    Welcome & Sessions Begin

Keynote Speaker: Fire of Innovation
Mick Lunzer, Championship Juggler, Yo-Yo Enthusiast, The Danger Committee, Innovator Coach
What do jugglers, knife throwers, magicians and yo-yo players have in common with your business? Just about everything! Are you looking for a new way to grow and expand your organization? Learn simple tools that you can use to give you fresh new ways of, increasing sales, creating new products, serving your customers, developing more efficient ways of doing business and creating effective new ways of running your organization.

2020: The Year of Transition
Meghan Gustafson, Director of Events & Programs, mpls downtown council; Deb Schaber, President/CEO, Saint Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation; Nathan Bentley, Executive Director, Bentleyville Tour of Lights; Ellaina Henke, General Manager, The Wedding Guys┬«, Inc.
2020 was a year that uprooted many festival and event plans, but as we awaited changes to guidelines, mandates, and safety protocols, some events across the state pivoted from tradition and created new experiences that allowed for thousands of Minnesotans to enjoy events in a new way. In this panel discussion, we'll hear from some of these event producers about successes, lessons learned, what the future holds, and more.

How To Make Fundraising FUN In-Person or Online
Amy Zaroff, Founder / Creative Director, Amy Zaroff Events + Design
The Covid-19 pandemic halted group gatherings—and Amy Zaroff’s entire business revolved around facilitating them. But Zaroff, channeling her experience as a television producer, quickly joined forces with a local audio-visual company, and together they developed a user-friendly experience for nonprofit clients nationwide that included guest engagement, two-way fundraising (without ZOOM!) and a whole lot of creative fun. Learn how you can make fundraising FUN by thinking out of the box, encouraging your clients to think differently, and becoming a game changer in the industry.

2021 Outlook: State Guidelines & Regulations
Daniel Huff, Assistant Commissioner, Health Protection Bureau, Minnesota Department of Health
Planning festivals and events this year while following the guidelines to keep people safe is very important but it can also be very challenging. During this session we hope to help your process by bringing a representative from the MN Department of Health to you to share their outlook for 2021 and answer your questions surrounding the turning of the dials and Covid-19 protocols.

Proposals That Work
Paula Beadle, CEO, Caravel Marketing, Inc. and Sara Collins, Special Event/Festival Producer, Stone Arch Bridge Festival
Join the conversation! In this workshop, we will cover the basics of building a great sponsorship proposal and reveal some tips and trends to reach your goals while looking at real-life examples of sponsor decks from your peers. Attendees are encouraged to submit their sponsorship proposals or key questions in advance and examples will be used to offer ideas that will shift your perspective and lead to new opportunities and improved outcomes. For live supportive feedback of your proposals, submit to

Building Memorable Experiences
Matt Kelly, Founder, Street Factory Media
Street Factory Media(SFM) is an organization of artists, fabricators, designers, strategists, planners, producers and foot soldiers who build highly strategic, memorable media experiences that drive brand awareness, buzz, and affinity among target consumers. Hear from their founder on how you might translate these moments into buzzworthy experiences at your festival or event. You'll discover ways to maximize smaller budgets for meaningful experiences, what the future holds for marketing budgets, and what works best for building grand experiences into your event plan.

Superspreader Festivals & How to Avoid Them
Steven A. Adelman, Adelman Law Group, PLLC and Vice President, Event Safety Alliance
Just over a year into the pandemic, and as we wait anxiously for our turn at a vaccine, everyone knows what to do: social distancing, face covering, and hand washing. Yet the risk of infection at any mass gathering is still very high. In this session, we will discuss practical ways – including messaging, security, training, and funny hats – to keep your event from turning into a superspreader.

5:00 p.m.   Virtual Trivia Happy Hour

Join us for a virtual happy hour with our friends at VoiceHive! We'll wrap up day one of the conference with some networking and brain teasers. This is an optional activity, but we encourage all attendees to jump online for some fun before logging off for the day. 

John Cosgrove moved from Ireland to the Twin Cities in 1999 and hosted the first-ever bar trivia at Kieran’s Irish Pub, soon after he arrived.  You could call him the Godfather of Trivia but has no interest in the Mafia.

The trivia is designed and structured for everyone, not just the wiki-nerds.  It is fast, entertaining, and delivered with the same Irish lilt that arrived off the boat 22 years ago.  It also uses VoiceHive technology (which Cosgrove co-founded) for instant scoring.  VoiceHive is an event software platform that is utilized for such applications as registration, attendee engagement, and communication.

6:30 p.m.   Laughs & Apps Comedy Event

After this last year, you deserve a night of laughter with your MNFEA friends! Join us for Laughs & Apps, a night of comedy at Rick Bronson's House of Comedy in the Mall of America.

We'll enjoy a PRIVATE SHOW featuring headliner Tommy Ryman, pre-show networking with drinks and appetizers and a great evening to cap off day one of the Conference! Learn more about this optional event and how to register to join us.

Thursday, March 25

8:30 a.m.   Vendor Booths Open & Breakfast

9:00 a.m.    Welcome & Sessions Begin

Uncovering Opportunities to Create Equitable Convenings
Katie Battis-Troyer, Founder / Chief Experiential Curator, Claim Our Space, LLC
As the world awakens to ensuring the voices and experiences of historically underrepresented communities are brought to the table, heard, and amplified, the events industry is also being asked to think expansively how to design and host events that are welcoming to and reflective of broader communities. Join Katie Battis-Troyer, Founder and CEO of Claim Our Space, a St. Paul based social justice and community centered creative firm to explore how your organization can host events that uphold the values of equity and inclusion. During this session, you will uncover the opportunities you have within your own reach to design inclusive events while walking away with tangible best practices to apply to your events moving forward.

Measuring the Economic Impact of Festivals and Events
Brigid Tuck, Senior Economic Impact Analyst and Xinyi Qian, Tourism Specialist at University of Minnesota Extension
Now more than ever, understanding and articulating the economic value of your festival or event is important. This session will cover the basics of conducting an economic impact analysis (EIA), give insights into using data to tell your story, and provide suggestions for gathering additional data. The goal is to come out of this session with ideas to clearly state the value of your festival or event to stakeholders. The session will also cover the fundamentals of how to conduct an EIA study.

Crisis Communication for Festivals & Events
Bruce Hennes, CEO, Hennes Communications
Traditional media and social media leap on stories like these:
Inappropriate comments on social media…injuries on the job…OSHA citations…sexual misconduct…staging collapse…union grievance…VIP “situation”…crowd stampede…active shooter…crime against patron…cyber-attack…drug/alcohol abuse…electrocution…food-borne illness…hostage situation. Meanwhile, the local newspaper is on Line 1 seeking comment and there's a TV crew in the parking lot.

Crisis situations require a skill set different from the one that you into a leadership position. And while the PR and marketing people employed by MNFEA members are great at putting butts in seats, raising money and putting on holy-cow events, crisis communications and issues management demand different strategies, best practices and resources, especially when CEOs, executive directors and board chairs turn, instead, to their most-trusted advisers – their attorneys – the majority of whom are risk averse, with the default position of “no comment,” which greatly exacerbates the situations listed above.

It's a simple fact: controversies today are tried in the Court of Public Opinion more often than in the Court of Law. Indeed, since most controversies are settled prior to trial, the Court of Public Opinion has arguably become the most important battleground not only for good will and market share, but also for legal bargaining and settlement negotiations.

Between a 24-minute news cycle, the ubiquity of the internet, with every ticket-holder wielding mobile phones capable of broadcasting live on Facebook and the propensity of critics to immediately point the finger at management, this seminar, taught by a nationally-known, senior-level crisis management and communications specialist, offers to CEO's, executive directors and others in venue and event industry leadership a 21st century skill set that is necessary for the preservation of their organizations' largest uninsured asset - its reputation.

Insurance Planning: Are you covered?
Bruce A. Smiley-Kaliff, Managing General Agent and Senior Underwriter, Kaliff Insurance
Assessing risk for most companies and businesses is relatively standard and formulaic. But when thousands of people gather together in one space with the primary goal of having a good time, the possibilities for risk becoming real increase exponentially. That’s the reality of the festivals, entertainment and amusement industry. This session will cover the ins and outs of risk management when it comes to making sure you are covered when festivals and events ramp back up.

Seize Your Life
Jasmine Brett Stringer, Author, Carpe Diem with Jasmine

Live a vision-driven life! Personal success only comes when we start to bet on ourselves. In this inspirational keynote address, Jasmine guides audiences on the journey to carpe diem. Jasmine identifies how to unlock the barriers that keep us from living the life we are intended to have while establishing a personalized vision to take life to the next level.

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