2017 CalFest Convention Registration Form

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Hit it Big at the Biggest Little Convention in the USA
January 18-20, 2017

Grand Sierra Resort · Reno, Nevada
Join CalFest in the “Biggest Little City in the World” for three days of
educational sessions, motivation, innovation, fun and the best networking in the
Festivals & Events Industry!

Sessions led by your peers and the best minds in the industry
CalFest Tradeshow featuring the latest products and trends for Special Events
Showcasing with talent for every event
CalFest Celebration Awards recognizing excellence in innovation and creativity
Networking opportunities at Luncheons, Gala Dinner, and after-hours in the Hospitality Suite
Fun!  Join in the CalFest Bowling Tournament!

The Convention will take place at the Grand Sierra Resort, 2500 East Second St., Reno, Nevada 89595.  Attendees are entitled to special room rates of $69+tax for a “Grand” room or $85+tax for a “Summit” room, single/double occupancy per night.  The Resort Fee is waived.  To make a reservation, online, click on make reservations by phone, call 800-648-5080.  Be sure to identify yourself with the code NVCALF to obtain the group rate.  Reservations must be made by December 19, 2017 to guarantee the CalFest rate.        Parking & Shuttle:  Parking is free at the Grand Sierra.  There is a free shuttle between the Reno/Tahoe International Airport and the Grand Sierra.

To register for the convention online:
To download a convention registration form: 2017 CalFest Convention Registration Form

To register online as an exhibitor at the CalFest Tradeshow
To download a CalFest Tradeshow form: CalFest Tradeshow Registration Form

Entertainers!  Showcasing is available this year2017-calfest-convention-showcasing-form

DSC_6481edit (2)One of the benefits of your CalFest membership is your opportunity to enter your materials into the CalFest Celebration Awards. Entries, for a possible 19 awards, are based on three budget classifications in categories ranging from Event Photos to Best Newspaper Ad, Best Promotional and Commemorative Posters, Media/Press Kit, TV Commercial or PSA and many more.  Award recipients will be announced during the CalFest Convention, January 18-20, 2017, at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

Josh Edrington, one of last year’s CalFest Celebration Award winners, had this to say about the Awards:
“Winning the CalFest Celebration Award has put Fresno State Vintage Days on the California/Nevada Festivals & Events Association map.  It’s a great feeling to be recognized by the association and fellow professionals in the industry who truly understand what it takes to coordinate a successful festival or event.  The award has also provided increased visibility and credibility with local community members, event attendees, sponsors, and media partners.  It serves as both a pride and selling point when discussing the festival and will continue to do so long into the future.”
Josh Edrington, MPA
Coordinator, Clubs & Organizations and Campus Traditions
Student Involvement Center
California State University Fresno

To enter calfest-celebration-awards-entry-form


PDF Downloads:

CalFest Schedule at a Glance

CalFest Convention Program

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

9:00 – 12:00 Noon

Dennis Bash, Sponsorship/Event/Marketing Consultant

This is a one-day workshop that requires separate registration.  This Workshop will provide attendees with a comprehensive overview of the sponsorship process.  Topics covered will include –

  • Definitions – Sponsorships versus grants and why it matters
  • Selecting the right sponsor(s) for your event
  • The Sales Meeting – An interactive look at mock sponsorship sales sessions
  • Negotiations – Come to the table “armed” with the right information
  • Sponsorship Valuation – How to establish the fair market value of your sponsorship packages
  • Activation – The key to effective implementation
  • Sponsor Retention – The care and feeding of current sponsors

Dennis Bash spent over 20 years in the sponsorship industry as a buyer of deals for a Fortune 500 company.  He has managed relations with pro sports franchises, colleges and universities (including conference deals), minor league sports, arts organizations, community festivals and high school associations.  He has spoken extensively on the subject both in the United States and abroad.  He is a former board member of the Washington and Oregon Events Associations and of the International Festivals & Events Association.  He sat on the Oregon Sports Authority Board and was a member of the Organizing Committee for the 2016 World Indoor Track and Field Championships held in Portland, Oregon.  Dennis is a former member of the board of Young Audiences and is currently the Development/Marketing Committee Chair of Chess for Success.  In 2015, he left the corporate world  and is a Sponsorship/Event/Marketing Consultant.


12:00 – 1:00 Networking Lunch

1:00 – 4:00 pm

Workshop continues

9:00 – 5:00 Displays and Tradeshow Setup

6:00 – 8:00 pm CalFest Bowling Tournament & Welcome Reception

Dinner on your own

9:00 pm until?
Valley Decorating Hospitality Suite



Thursday, January 19

8:00 – 9:30 am  Keynote Presentationtom-brocato

It’s Easier to Open a Theme Park in Anaheim than Put on a Parade in Carmel
Tom Brocato, Producer, Carmel-by-the-Sea Centennial Celebration
Tom Brocato has worked extensively in entertainment marketing, public relations, special events and production for over 40 years.  During that time, he owned a public relations agency where he represented more than 100 television series and movies, special events and theatrical productions.  He has worked for Disneyland Resort, Hanna-Barbera Productions, and on Broadway

Tom participated in the opening of Disney’s California Adventure Park in Anaheim over 15 years ago which was a demanding launch on a worldwide stage.  This past year, he took on an even bigger challenge in the small village of Carmel-by-the-Sea – producing Carmel’s Centennial Celebration Parade.  Learn how Tom got into the ‘weeds’ of creative ideas, content and community politics, peppered with wild requests, unique criticism, as well as applying some serious parade management.  Find out how it all came together as the biggest single day event Carmel has experienced yet in its 100-year history.

9:45 – 10:45 Concurrent Sessions

Mastering the Digital Marketing Trends Essential to Event Planners
Constance Aguilar, Public Relations Manager, The Abbi Agency, Reno, NV
The online world is changing, and that can greatly impact how event marketers communicate with their attendees.  Digital marketing has gone beyond strictly social media, and now includes content efforts, a focus on SEO, digital advertising, and more.  Understanding how every channel and initiative can help your event make a lasting impact on audiences, the best ways to communicate with audience segments, and the latest changes in technologies can help increase the marketing impact of your efforts.

The Changing World of Special Events and Law Enforcement
Lieutenant Robert Larson, Reno Police Department – Special Events/Activities Division
Sergeant Justin Bradley, Reno Police Department – Special Events/Activities Division
ow world events and the real threat of terrorism are changing the way police staff special events.

  • What to expect and why police are staffing events the way they do
  • What you can do to harden your event
  • Bringing back the “See Something, Say Something” campaign
  • Engagement between your staff and participants

Hispanics & Asians & Gays, Oh My!
Luis Valdivia, Multicultural Marketing Specialist, San Diego County Fair/Del Mar Fairgrounds
The San Diego County Fair is a trendsetter in terms of multicultural marketing:  It’s Hispanic marketing program, the longest running in the Fair Industry and award winning, will reach its 20th anniversary in 2017.  The fair’s groundbreaking “Out at the Fair” is the only official LGBTQ outreach program in the fair industry.  The Asian Festival also took off to a rousing start after several years of planning.  Success stories, tips on getting started, and how reaching out to untapped multicultural groups can increase your attendance,  will be shared.

11:00 – 12:00  Concurrent Sessions

Tips and Tricks for Facebook Advertising
Angel Moore, Marketing & Communications Manager, Alameda County Fair, Pleasanton, CA
Quick and easy ways to create Facebook ads while getting tons of engagement.  Reviewing analytics and working with travel and tourism groups to find great keywords to make programs a success.

The Power of Marketing
Jennifer Mannix, Marketing & Sponsorship Director, Reno Artown, Kelly Buda, Director of Sales, KAME-TV, Reno
How do you leverage your limited budget?  Relationship marketing is key to getting the most from small budgets.  Creative ideas on partnerships, resources and networking.

5 Amazing New Fundraising Ideas
Darren Diess, CEO – Strategic Fundraising Solution, Inc. Temecula, CA
Interactive session on fundraising.  Attendees will be asked for their fundraising challenges.  Five proven strategies for solutions and success will be offered.

12:00 – 2:00
Networking Lunch
Trade Show Introductions
CalFest Membership Meeting
CalFest Trade Show

2:00 – 4:30

Hands-On Decorating
Ingrid Lundquist, The Lundquist Company, Sacramento, CA
Gail Stewart, Special Event Consultant, Oceanside, CA
Join these two décor experts in this popular session where the participants create the props for the Gala Dinner.  This year you’ll learn how to up-the-ante by injecting new flare into a standard theme, and how to make a big room feel cozy and inviting to your guests.  No experience necessary.  Everyone is welcome to join the décor team.  You’ll find the build-out process rewarding as you learn how to shuffle resources and construct a temporary installation.

2:00 – 3:00  Concurrent Sessions

We Thought We were Covered
Andrew Vandepopulier, Producer, Haas & Wilkerson Insurance, Fairway, KS
An in depth look at the exclusions and coverage gaps that can destroy an event.  This session covers specific exclusions that can present major issues for your event including multiple examples of what could go wrong.

How to Implement a Special Event Economic Impact Analysis:  Making Sense of Dollars and Cents
Malieka Landis, Research Manager, University of Nevada Reno/University Center for Economic Development
Special events are vital to thriving tourism communities and the overall health of local economies.  Viewing special events as a subsector of the tourism industry, it is important to understand the economic impacts that can be attributed to each event, especially when events rely on local municipalities for funding and services. A variety of survey methods are useful in collecting reliable data on attendee spending, demographics and psychographics.  This session will provide an introduction to estimating economic impacts unique to specific events, as well as discuss how to design and implement surveys that result in reliable and accurate data.

3:15 – 4:15  Concurrent Sessions

Working with Volunteers
William “Bill” Belcher, Board of Directors, California Strawberry Festival, Oxnard, CA
How to recruit and support volunteers.  Assigning responsibilities, training in advance of event, and making them feel special by rewarding them.

The Survey is Finished, Now What?
Alexis Hill, Arts, Culture and Special Events Manager, City of Reno
Francine Burge, Special Events Supervisor, City of Sparks
Nina Brown, Special Events & Marketing Manager, Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority

In 2015, the cities of Reno and Sparks, along with the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority, conducted a survey to address particular issues for events.  Join them for a panel discussion about how to move forward with next steps after doing a survey.  While you may not hold your event in Reno or Sparks, the issues of parking, themes and attendance are universal for most events.  This workshop will help you follow up your survey with actionable steps.

6:00 – 10:00

The Biggest Little Party at CalFest!
Like the never-ending fashion show of patrons and croupiers at casinos, the world of festivals is comprised of folks who wear costumes every day.  From a hot dog vendor to carnival barker, tuxedo clad emcee to a pageant queen, everyone has a costume.  Your costume is in your closet.  This year, wear something that represents your festival or event….an apron with stains from the chili cook-off, logo-embroidered polo or a branded denim rodeo shirt.  It’s even OK to wear your favorite hoodie from a fair or festival you attended.  Creativity is encouraged.  Come solo or as a group.  The stakes are high with a payout of swell prizes and bragging rights for big winners.

10:00 – ?
Valley Decorating Hospitality Suite

 Friday, January 20  


What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You:  Risk Management for Special Events
William T. “Sandy” Munns, Retired Division Chief, Reno Fire Department
In this presentation, the Risk Management Process will be discussed and applied to management of Special Events.  We will look at how accidents happen, evaluate the injuries and how likely it may happen.  Discussion will follow on ways to minimize the risk.  Why Risk Management?  Keep people safe and minimize your liability.

10:15 – 11:15  Concurrent Sessions

Beyond the Bounce House:  Budget-friendly & Interactive Activities
Francine Burge, Special Events Supervisor, City of Sparks
A discussion on the need to find unique and engaging activities for kids (and adults) that fit into the theme of the event.  Examples will be shown on how to execute with little or no budget.  Audience will be separated into groups to brainstorm different activities using the methods in the presentation.

Everything About Unmanned Aerial Vehicles aka Drones
Panel:  LtCol (ret) Warren “Bumm” Rapp,  Business Director Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center, University of Nevada Reno
Brian Kulpa, Photographer/Videographer, FAA Representative
Our panel will consist of experts and business owners in the UAV industry  giving insight and answering questions about the commercial exploitation of drones.  What’s legal?  What’s not? Strategies and issues involved with the usage of drones in events from incorporation to protection.

Is Your Website Dragging Down Your Event?
Melody Brunsting, Melody’s Ad Works, Wildomar, CA
Andrea Jacobson, Executive Director, Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival
Your website should be the portal to your ticket sales and your guests’ ability to plan their day or weekend at your event.  But more than 70% of the nation is accessing and researching events and purchases on mobile devices.  Google places mobile-friendly websites higher in their search engine rankings.  Smart phones, tablets and social media apps are driving the market.  Does your website have what it takes?  We’ll analyze several major event websites throughout the U.S. for the good, bad and ugly and deliver tips for upgrading, updating and integrating your website with your digital and mobile marketing campaigns.

11:30 – 12:30

Keeping Events Fresh
Gail Stewart, Special Event Consultant

How to Have a Good Relationship with Your Law Enforcement
Brad Stevens, Detective, Fresno Police Department

Public Relations after “The Big One”
Melody Brunsting, Melody’s Ad Works

12:30 – 2:00 pm
Networking Lunch
CalFest Trade Show
CalFest Celebration Awards

2:00 – 3:00  Concurrent Sessions

Events, Fees and TOT
Tammy Turnipseed, Events Director, San Jose Office of Economic Development/Cultural Affairs
This session will be an overview of the special events department in the City of San Jose, how they work internally and externally, fee structures and an overview of events and the importance of TOT to funding.

Sponsorship Tips from the Gilroy Garlic Festival
Brian Bowe, Executive Director, Gilroy Garlic Festival Association, Inc., Gilroy, California
Find out how the Gilroy Garlic Festival custom tailors its sponsorship packages and at what price points.  Discussion on what is and is not offered to sponsors.  You’ll learn about some of the festival’s greatest successes and learn from a few of their mistakes.  This session will feature lots of interaction to help answer your questions and allow you to offer your input.

Planning for “The Big One”
Tim Spencer, Emergency Services Director, Reno Air Racing Association
Participants will learn about the emergency services planning process, response, and lessons learned from past incidents.  Special focus will be placed on the 2011 Air Race mass casualty

3:00 – 4:00  Roundtables

Here Comes the Parade!
Ray Pulver, President, Upbeat Parade Productions, San Jose, CA

A relaxing chance for networking and asking any question that wasn’t answered during the convention.

Program subject to change

Questions?  Call 530-583-5605 or email

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