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2016 Wrap Up Article

Let’s Learn “Til The Cows Come Home”

Was the theme at the Florida

Federation of Fairs Convention and IAFE Zone II Meeting!

Over 500 “Fair Folks” came with the attitude “Let’s Learn ‘Til The Cows Come Home” at this year’s 65th Florida Federation of Fairs Convention and IAFE Zone II Meeting setting record numbers. There were 34 Florida Fairs represented with 342 attendees, 13 Fairs from Zone II with 32 attendees (a record attendance since the Zone II Meeting was merged with the FL Federation Convention), and 196 Associate members in attendance. This year’s trade show featured 92 booths – a new record high for this event.

The pre-convention activities started on Wednesday, May 11th with the 16th Annual Giles Ellis Memorial Golf Tournament held at the beautiful St. Johns Golf Course in St. Augustine on a beautiful “Florida” day. The Golf Committee, along with the Greater Jacksonville Ag Fair and the Collier County Fair volunteers and their staff committed to making it a success. Through a lot of hard work, dedication and time - they did just that! During the months before the tournament many conference calls were made, emails sent, and begging, pleading and soliciting was done by all. As a result sponsors gave, teams played and a great time was had by all that participated.

This year’s Keynote Speaker, Dave Okerlund, kicked off the event with a message titled “The Joys Of Stress.” A special thanks to Populous for sponsoring this portion of the program.

The ever popular President’s Party “Join Us For An Udderly Good Time” honoring this year’s President Tom Umiker suffered a minor setback when a fire in the trade show caused the party to be cancelled. But as “Fair folks” do – everyone went to Plan B and the party was moved to nearby restaurant. The President’s Party Committee chaired by Teresa Agricola with the South Florida Fair had planned an awesome event – filled with fun but maybe next year……. The event was sponsored by Arnold Amusements, Robinson Racing Pigs, The Firefighter Show, and the Greater Hillsborough County Fair.

Holding the Zone II Meeting in conjunction with the Florida Convention has been a “win-win” for both organizations. The Florida Fairs benefit from the added knowledge of Fairs from outside Florida through panels and round table discussions and the Zone II attendees get to enjoy some of our Florida sunshine! A special thanks to Meggers Road Concessions and the Southwest Florida Fair for helping us celebrate Zone II’s participation with a Welcome Reception.

The Associates play a valuable part in the success of the event through their support and involvement in showcasing and the trade show. There were 18 live and video showcase acts planned throughout the convention with a new Friday Night Showcase Extravaganza on Friday night featuring 8 showcases on two different stages. The new Friday Night Extravaganza was sponsored by Wade Shows and featured a popcorn bar, light-up margarita glasses with free drinks, and great entertainment. The grand finale for the convention was the banquet showcase which was Indigo Summer represented by Capitol International Productions. Showcase acts were presented during the Friday Luncheon which was co-sponsored by George’s Fun Foods and Sivori Catering, Saturday’s Luncheon which was co-sponsored by Netterfield’s Popcorn and Lemonade and The One Man Band and throughout the Trade Show.

With a record 92 booths in this year’s trade show, Fairs could find everything they needed. Refreshment breaks, door prizes, a silent auction, and showcase acts helped pull traffic into the show with the goal of making our Associates benefit from their participation. Etix sponsored a new Trade Show Scavenger Hunt this year that created more traffic flow in the trade show and was a great success. All attendees this year were also provided with tote bags sponsored by EcoShield and Strates Shows; a pad-folio for note taking sponsored by Belle City Amusements, and K & K Insurance provided the name badges”! The Trade Show was sponsored by Allied Specialty Insurance, Amusement Consulting Services, The Florida State Fair, Kachuna & The Alligator Show, Eugene Nock Presents, and Triangle Talent.

This year’s Educational Sessions were sponsored by Haas & Wilkerson and the Round Table Discussions were co-sponsored by Capitol International Productions; Miami Dade County Fair & Expo; and North American Midway. Much of the success of the Convention and Zone Meeting goes to the involvement of the attendees. Over 72 people from Florida Fairs, Zone II Fairs, and Associate members participated in the program as speakers, moderators, or round table facilitators along with a line-up of IAFE and other out-of-state speakers. There was a wealth of valuable information shared and hopefully everyone took home some new ideas. A great new feature was the mobile website that provided the convention program on everyone’s smart phone provided through a sponsorship with Saffire Events.

The IAFE sponsored several workshops which included: Hands On, Minds On Agriculture by Becky Brashear; Seeing Straight In A Cross Eyed World by Gary Berg; and Fairgrounds Beautification as Easy as A,B,C and Grand Champion Competitive Exhibits by Jill Albanese with the Wisconsin State Fair. Other featured speakers were Charles Atkinson with the Kansas Association of Fairs doing workshops on Competitive Exhibits From The Group Up and How Well Does Your Board Work Together. NICA sponsored a panel discussion on Finding The Balance – Profitable Concessions + Successful Fairs and OABA sponsored a panel discussion on Fairs and Midways – Let’s Strengthen Our Partnership. Bobby McLamb also presented a two part working on Finding the Leader in You and Goal Setting.

In addition to these featured speakers, Florida Fairs, Zone II Fairs, and local resources produced a wide variety of workshops and round table discussions that gave everyone ideas to take back to their own Fair.

The 2016-17 Board of Directors was elected for the upcoming year, The new Officers and Directors are:

Felecia Chivington - President, Pensacola Interstate Fair

Dawn Rowe – 1st Vice President, Osceola County Fair

Paul Davis – 2nd Vice President, Florida Strawberry Festival

Bill Olson, CFE - Secretary/Treasurer, Greater Jacksonville Ag Fair

Tom Umiker, CFE - Immediate Past President, Greater Hillsborough County Fair

Terry Atchley, Hardee County Fair

Rita DeMier – South Florida Fair

Shawn Krauel, Central Florida Fair

Albert Montes, Miami Dade County Fair & Expo

Leah Norris, CFE, Lake County Fair

Hal Porter, Citrus County Fair

Jim Ward, Pasco County Fair

Rhonda Ward, Collier County Fair

Paul Laughter – Associate Director

Kathy Ross – Associate Director

Honorary Members:

Danny Raulerson, FL Dept. Of Agriculture - Farmers Market Division

Frankie Hall, FL Farm Bureau


This year’s annual banquet on Saturday evening was sponsored by EMC Tickets, LLC and awards were presented to various individuals. These included:
  • A special President’s award to the Greater Jacksonville Ag Fair for all their hard work putting together the very successful annual golf tournament fundraiser.
  • The Associate of the Year award was presented to Doug King with King Enterprises, Inc. who has supported the Federation and fair industry for many years.
  • The Florida Federation Hall of Fame inductee for 2015 was Jeanne Keaton, Manager of the St. Lucie County Fair and a Federation Past President who remains very active in the Federation.
  • Winning the IAFE Fair Management Scholarship was Lisa Dudding with the South Florida Fair. The Scholarship was sponsored by North American Midway Entertainment.
  • Dennis Lee was presented a plaque for obtaining the most new members during 2014-15.

Following the presentation of awards, President Rick Vymlatil turned the gavel over to Tom Umiker from the Greater Hillsborough County Fair. After presenting the Past President’s plaque to Rick, Rick asked the group to join in a “toast” to honor our incoming President, Hall of Fame honoree, and Associate of the Year recipient. The Toast was sponsored by Arnold’s Amusements, the Hillsborough County Fair, and the Southwest FL and Lee County Fair. Tom expressed his excitement about the year ahead and what an honor it is to serve the Florida Fairs.

After the banquet, everyone closed out the convention in the Hospitality Suite which was sponsored by The Dennis Lee Show.

The hospitality suite has been a continued success at the convention. This year’s Hospitality Suite was sponsored by The Dennis Lee Show with refreshments also provided by several member Fairs... Everyone seemed to enjoy the opportunity to socialize and network after hours.

A Sincere Thank You to Our Convention Sponsors! What a phenomenal show of support! And a special thanks to our Sponsorship Committee – Theresa Agricola, South Florida Fair, Chairman.

A SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SponsorsPresident’s Party-Wade Shows; Opening Session Keynote Speaker–Populous;

Annual Banquet-EMC Tickets, LLC; Educational Workshop Sessions-Haas & Wilkerson Insurance; Friday Luncheon-George’s Fun Foods; Saturday Luncheon-Netterfield Popcorn & Lemonade, Inc. and The One Man Band; Tote Bags-EcoShield and Strates Shows; Round Table Sessions- Capitol International Productions, Miami- Dade County Fair & Expo, North American Midway;

IAFE Scholarship-North American Midway; IAFE Zone II Welcome Reception-Reithoffer Shows, Inc.; Incoming President/Hall of Fame/Associate of the Year Reception-Arnold’s Amusements, Hillsborough County Fair, Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair; Hospitality Suite-The Dennis Lee Show; Name Badges-K & K Insurance-Year in Review Video-North Pole Productions; Refreshment Breaks-Florida Strawberry Festival, Florida State Fair, Martin County Fair and TSI Adjusters; Coffee Breaks in the Workshop Area-Allied Specialty Insurance Inc., Manatee County Fair, North Florida Fair, Janus Capital and Andrew Gilligan;

YPI Convention Scholarships -Belle City Amusements; Silent Auction-Central Florida Fair; Coffee at Opening Session-Associate Members; “Can We Help You” Table-Special Event Engineering; Trade Show-Allied Specialty Insurance, Amusement Consulting Services, Florida State Fair. Kachunga & The Alligator Show, Triangle Talent; Award Programs- Bianco’s Foods, Duttera Sound Service;

Trade Show Door Prizes-Allied Specialty Insurance, Etix, Famous Gabby’s, Firefighter Show, Hardee County Fair, Kissimmee Valley Livestock Show and Osceola County Fair, Lafayette Tent & Awning , Meggers Concessions/Hot Wisconsin Cheese, Northeast Florida Fair, O’Brien’s Food Enterprises, St. Lucie County Fair, The Best Around; Friends Of The Federation Sponsors-Clay County Fair, Columbia County Fair, Andy Frain Services, Groover-Parrish Grove, Inc., Indiana Ticket, Doug King—King Enterprises, Inc., Lake County Fair, Happy & Donetta Norris, Okeechobee County Fair, Joe Repass, Sarasota County Fair, Tech-Tronics Productions, Inc., Tytix, Volusia County Fair, Collier County Fair, Megareins, Inc., Miami-Dade County Fair, Pensacola Interstate Fair, and Greater Jacksonville Ag Fair.

GILES ELLIS MEMORIAL

GOLF TOURNAMENT SPONSORS

GOLD SPONSORS- Florida State Fair, South Florida Fair; SILVER SPONSORS-Foster & Fuchs P.A., Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair, NICA—National Independent Concessionaires Association; BRONZE SPONSOR-Action Graphix, Collier County Fair, Indiana Ticket, Lafayette Tent; HOLE IN ONE SPONSOR-Belle City Amusements; DRINK CART SPONSOR-Harmony Artists, Joe Repass; HOLE SPONSORS-Citrus County Fair, Clay County Fair, Firefighter Show, Highlands County Fair, Jenks Concessions, Kissimmee Valley Livestock Show and Osceola County Fair, Lloyd and Willy and More, Miami-Dade County Fair and Expo, North Florida Fair, O’Brien’s Food Enterprises, Pensacola Interstate Fair, Populous, St. Lucie County Fair, Triangle Talent, Tytix

A SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR IN-KIND SPONSORS: FAIR PUBLISHING HOUSE for providing the plaques for the What A Great Idea Contest;

FLORIDA STATE FAIR Tech support for the Convention; INDIANA TICKET COMPANY for providing event tickets; REGALIA MANUFACTURING COMPANY for providing the ribbons for the name badges; SAFFIRE EVENTS for providing the Federation website andhosting; SOUTH FLORIDA FAIR for providing signs and banners; TECH- TRONICS PRODUCTIONS for providing the sound & lighting for the showcases; E.G. Staats for the podium banner.

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