“A Royal Affair”!
This year’s Event featured a “fresh coat of paint” –
with lots of changes and great new ideas!
Florida Federation of Fairs Annual Convention
And IAFE Zone 2 Meeting was held May 18-20
This year’s Florida Federation of Fairs Annual Convention and IAFE Zone 2 Meeting was held May 18th – 20th at the awesome Hilton Buena Vista Palace in Orlando, Florida. This exceptional hotel is directly across the street from the new Disney Springs (with a bridge walkover). The Federation has wanted to hold the Convention in Orlando for many years and it finally happened. Attendees had access to discounted Disney and other Orlando attractions so lots of folks came, brought their family, and enjoyed the Orlando area! The event was themed “A Royal Affair” to go along with being in the Disney area.
Dawn Rowe and the Convention Program Committee planned a great Convention. The Committee spent a great deal of time “putting a fresh coat of paint” on this year’s event. The schedule was streamlined (with shorter lunches) and expanded with new and creative workshop and round table sessions.
On Wednesday, May 17th, in addition to the Annual Giles Ellis Golf Tournament which was held at one of the awesome Disney courses, there was also a special event Wednesday called Splitsville Mix and Mingle. It was open to everyone but was sponsored by our YPI Committee. It was fun and a GREAT chance to get to meet other Fair folks!
Thursday’s program had a whole new look and featured very specific, targeted topics with extended workshops that provided attendees with a very in-depth training on specific issues – from an Active Shooter Workshop, to a Crowd Management Training Program to a special workshop put on by our keynote speaker – Candy Whirley with Know ‘em; Manage ‘em; Choose ‘em!. The Trade Show also opened after lunch with 113 booths – the largest ever!
New this year were “speed round table sessions”! Instead of 1 hour sessions, there were 2 thirty minute sessions so every group had to get into high gear to hear everyone’s ideas then move on to the next session to hear more great ideas!
Thursday morning started out with workshops and round tables and then flowed into a new style Opening Session. Opening Session was primarily focused on our keynote speaker - Candy Whirley, and she presented “It Takes 4 To Tango”. One of our BEST keynote speakers ever! A special thanks to Populous for sponsoring our Keynote Speaker.
Thursday night’s President’s Party was in honor of President Felecia Chivington, and was themed “My Fair Lady” – everyone came decked out in My Fair Lady attire and enjoyed an evening of fun and fellowship as well as some great showcases! A special thanks to Reithoffer Shows and the Florida Dairy Farmers for sponsoring the President’s Party. Fair Publishing House sponsored “Felecia” cookies – that were a hit throughout the convention.
For the first time ever, lunch on Friday was held in the Trade Show. This gave everyone the chance to pick up a box lunch, find a quick place to eat, then enjoy the trade show. To entice everyone to stay throughout this dedicated time for the trade show, SEE Tickets sponsored “The Great Cash Give-Away” with $1000 in cash given out. Thanks to the Miami Dade County Fair and Expo for sponsoring this year’s luncheon in the trade show.
Last year’s Friday Night Showcase Extravaganza was so successful we did it again! There was an “ice cream social” with complimentary glasses and drinks, good company, and lots of great showcases. A special thanks to Wade Shows for sponsoring this event! We also ended the program earlier on Friday so everyone could go out for dinner but be back for the Extravaganza.
We are also delighted that Fairs from IAFE Zone 2 joined us again! What a great way to network with other Fairs in the southeast as well as our own Florida Fairs. Zone 2 was welcomed with a “toast” on Thursday evening sponsored by Etix.
The Convention Committee also felt strongly that the way for our Associate members to get more involved with our Fairs is to participate more in our workshops and round tables. So, this year’s Saturday morning sessions featured topics of interest to both Fairs and Associates and the trade show was closed until after lunch. Then, there was some final time in the Trade Show Saturday afternoon to “finish up your business” as well as a few dynamic final workshops to close out the program!
Saturday’s luncheon was when the Federation’s Business Meeting was held with over 400 attendees. Thanks to Netterfield’s Popcorn & Lemonade, Inc. for sponsoring lunch.
And the grand finale was Saturday night’s “Gala” with a whole new look and feel – everyone put on their “fancy duds” and joined us for a spectacular presentation of awards, showcases, and our presentation of the Hall of Fame and Associate of the Year recipients. Thanks to EMC Tickets for sponsoring this year’s Gala. This year’s IAFE Institute Management Scholarship was announced and the winner was Paige Poole with the South Florida Fair. Thanks to North American Midway Entertainment for sponsoring this scholarship. Becky Brashear also recognized Florida’s newest Institute Management graduate – Matt Daley with the South Florida Fair, and our newest CFE – Ismael Ramos with the Miami Dade County Fair and Expo.
This year’s Hall of Fame award was presented to Pete Sutton, CFE and retired manager of the Clay County Fair. Pete’s dedication to the Fair industry and the Federation as well as the Clay County Fair made an impact on many people and the Federation was proud to honor him in this way!
The Associate of the Year was presented to Charlie Smith with Populous. Charlie is a longtime supporter of the fair industry as well as the Florida Federation of Fairs.
The evening closed with a Toast to the Incoming President, Dawn Rowe as well as our Hall of Fame and Associate of the Year. The toast was sponsored by Strates Shows.
Each evening the Federation’s Hospitality Suite, sponsored by The Dennis Lee Show, was a great place to meet and greet – it was always filled with lots of talk and laughter!
It was definitely “A Royal Affair” and we welcome everyone to come again next year – May 17 – 19, 2018 again at the Hilton Buena Vista Palace in Orlando.