January 23-25, 2018 • Riviera Palm Springs
Join CalFest 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 Trade Show 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
Gala, n., The social gathering of the convention where you get to dress in costume (or not) and there is food, prizes, live auction and surprises.

January 23
8:45 – 4:00 One-Day Special Workshop  (Separate Registration Required)

Rock Star Strategies for Sponsorship Success (Lunch included)
6:00 Welcome Reception
January 24:
8:30 – 4:00 pm Break-out Sessions
Networking Lunch & Trade Show

Gala – The Black & White….The elegant mid-century decor of the Riviera Ballroom sets the stage for party guests dressed to the nines
The venue vibes hail the vision of glamorous Old Hollywood and an atmosphere styled to showcase you in your finery.  Ladies – How about wearing that bombshell sequin cocktail dress or the bespoke gown that hangs in the back of your closet.  Men – Pull out that dress-to-impress shark skin suit or your satin lapel tux.  Nothing to wear?  Black or white accented with lots of bling and sparkle will do the trick.  Join us for a night on the town. 

January 25
8:30 – 4:00 Break-out Sessions
CalFest Celebration Awards Lunch & Trade Show

Special Event
Thursday, January 25
Beginning at 5:00 pm, The City of Palm Springs hosts VillageFest, an every-Thursday-evening event, held year-round.  VillageFest is a street fair featuring arts & crafts, commercial vendors, food, street musicians and a Farmers Market.

The Convention will take place at the Riviera Palm Springs, 1600 North Indian Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262.  Attendees are entitled to a special room rate of $149+tax, single/double occupancy, per night.  Resort Fee is waived.  For reservations call 1–800 961-3785.  You must identify yourself as part of CalFest to obtain the group rate or click on the following link:

To register for the convention:
Online registration
To download a registration form
2018 CalFest Convention Registration Form

To register for the Sponsorship Workshop
Online registration:
To download a Sponsorship Workshop Form:  Sponsorship Workshop Registration

To register as an exhibitor at the CalFest Trade Show:
Online registration:
To download a CalFest Tradeshow form:
CalFest Tradeshow Registration Form

Entertainers!  Showcasing opportunities are available  2018 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 25 at the Riviera Palm Springs

To enter: CalFest Celebration Awards Entry Form

Join in the fun!  This is the only fundraiser CalFest holds every year during the annual convention.  You are the donors—and the bidders.  We ask that you provide experiences, souvenirs, hotel stays, behind-the-scenes tours of your event, golf or vacation packages—Whatever promotes and highlights your community and your event.  Be creative!  Be generous!  Auction Form

Live Auction Item #1 National Cherry Festival

For a quick overview of the convention:  Schedule at a Glance

Updated as information becomes available


One Day Workshop requires separate registration                                                                           

Stephanie Donoho, CFEE; Owner,
Stephanie Donoho Consulting, Honokaa, Hawaii

Rock Star Event Planners know that the key to successful sponsorship development, acquisition and activation is to use your event’s assets and the sponsor’s goals and objectives to create imaginative opportunities that benefit both the sponsor and your attendees.  In this session, you’ll learn the basics of sponsorship sales and service, learn how to identify and build unique assets and selling points to your event, and learn how to create customized packages that will make your proposal stand out from the crowd.  In this full-day session, you’ll also have a chance to hear directly from a panel of business owners on what they are looking for when partnering with events.  You’ll then work to create a customized offering for those businesses that can only happen at your event.  At the end of the day, it’s your chance to shine, with a Shark Tank style pitch session to those businesses.



Keynote Presentation                                                                      

Active Shooter & Workplace Violence Preparedness Discussion                                       
Kelly Wilson, Protective Security Advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, San Diego, CA

This interactive session focuses on management activities that occur prior to an incident to save lives.  Activities include creating a plan, training and exercising the plan, security and emergency management activities, coordination with external stakeholders, and the recovery process.

Kelly Wilson is a Department of Homeland Protective Security Advisor (PSA} assigned to Southern California, and previously the National Capital Region.  She serves as a security and resiliency subject matter expert and is the link between state, local, tribal, and territorial organizations and DHS infrastructure mission partners.  PSAs perform vulnerability and security assessments on a variety of Critical Infrastructure to identify security gaps and potential vulnerabilities as well as coordinate training and supports special events and incident management.

Special Events are not just Special…. They are Essential.
Jeff Curtis, Chief Executive Officer, Portland Rose Festival Foundation

A closer look at the special events industry and why our profession matters so much!  Jeff will share current industry trends from across the globe, combined with some local perspective to give attendees a fresh outlook on the events industry and inspire professionals with motivation to continue in such a vibrant and meaningful industry.  Attendees will see how experiences with special events in our youth grow into strong positive beliefs that come to light through special events.  This, in depth, look at our industry is designed to inspire attendees with some new ways of selling our events that capture emotions versus impressions.  Most importantly, attendees will see direct evidence on why our profession is vital to building strong communities and how events have such power to unite people instead of dividing people.

Eventology:  Creating the Enhanced Guest Experience from Start to Finish
Jan M. Smith, President & Founder, Inland Management Group, Temecula, CA
Veronica Caster, Executive Director, Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival
Marge Haupt, Arts & Cultural Affairs Manager, City of Riverside, Festival of Lights

Are your guests your brand ambassadors – spreading the GOOD NEWS and GREAT VIBES experienced at your event?  From the minute your guest clicks “buy” online to the second they leave your event, are they getting the best “feel good” guest experience?  We will analyze the guest experience and what today’s festival attendees want in the over-the-top experience.  This workshop will outline a communication and relationship strategy that starts with the ticket purchase and never ends, turning guests into your best festival ambassadors.

Are You Prepared for When Your Sunny Day Turns Stormy?
Anjila Lebsock, Emergency Services Coordinator, City of Palm Springs
Every special event is about fun in the sun, but what happens when the dark clouds come.  Are you prepared for the worst?  Do you know what resources are available and where to get them?  Have you coordinated with external resources, so everyone is prepared to respond as one?  Come learn about tools and resources that can help you plan for the “just in case.”

Eventology:  Opportunity!  Access! Big Experience!  If You Can Buy It Online, It Doesn’t Belong in Your Live Auction
Darren Diess, Auctioneer Specialist, Strategic Fundraising Solutions, Temecula, CA
Do you know the top 100 grossing auction items for 2016?  Darren Diess does, and he will share with you how he takes a ho-hum, same ol’ thing auction into a phenomenal fundraising event that engages the guests and gets the bid paddles raising.  Darren will share his many secrets to raising the revenue to record highs.


Hands-On Decor – decor, nThe objects installed in a venue to create an atmosphere
Ingrid Lundquist, CSEP,  Sacramento, CA and Gail Stewart, Oceanside, CA

Join seasoned event pros, Ingrid and Gail, on the decor team and gain first-hand experience in transforming an empty room into a fab themes event venue.  See how they stretch dollars to create a memorable experience for the guests.  No experience necessary.

How to Keep an Event Fresh after Three Decades
Mike Whan, Executive Director, Hot August Nights, Reno, NV

With so many special events to choose from, every special events promoter must look at ways to keep visitors coming back while also reviewing ideas to bring new attendees to the event.  This session will discuss finding out what people want at your event, whether you need to target a different demographic to keep the event fresh and ensure longevity, how to engage attendees, new trends, how to add new events and what you can offer that no one else has.


Protecting your Marketing Intellectual Properties – Trademarks & Service Marks
Dan Stark, School of Business, University of Phoenix, Las Vegas, NV
This session is an introduction to Intellectual Property – Trademarks & Service Marks – used by festivals & events in marketing and the steps needed to register and protect them going forward.

Creating Excitement for Your Parade
Ray Pulver, Principal, Upbeat Parade Productions, San Jose, CA

Looking for more entries for your parade?  Something different?  Find out how to research entries to add to the fun, color and excitement of your parade.  This workshop discusses the entertainment value of a parade, the content to make a parade more entertaining and how to obtain fun and creative entries.  There will also be discussion about parade guidelines and organization.

Gala – The Black & White….The elegant mid-century decor of the Riviera Ballroom sets the stage for party guests dressed to the nines
The venue vibes hail the vision of glamorous Old Hollywood and an atmosphere styled to showcase you in your finery.  Ladies – How about wearing that bombshell sequin cocktail dress or the bespoke gown that hangs in the back of your closet.  Men – Pull out that dress-to-impress shark skin suit or your satin lapel tux.  Nothing to wear?  Black or white accented with lots of bling and sparkle will do the trick.  Join us for a night on the town.

Thursday, January 25

Keynote Presentation

Communicating in Times of Crisis
Michael Berry, President & CEO, Kentucky Derby Festival, Inc., Louisville, KY                        

When the unexpected happens, how you communicate with your audiences becomes even more important.  You will hear examples from one of the country’s largest civic celebrations who, in a span of 4 years, dealt with major national and local security issues.  Learn how to create a plan for addressing all core constituencies:  participants, spectators, media and the general public.


The Keys to a Successful Volunteer Management Program
Stephanie Donoho, CFEE; Owner, Stephanie Donoho Consulting, Honoka’a, Hawaii
This session will first help event planners and organizers to understand the reasons why people volunteer, and then help them design a successful Volunteer Management Program to meet those volunteers’ needs.  We’ll review the steps of the Volunteer Management Cycle; review industry standards used to measure the ROI for a volunteer’s time; and explore how lessons learned throughout the year can be incorporated to create an even stronger program moving forward.  This valuable session is a great overview for those new to volunteer management, as well as division heads, committee chairs and management staff responsible for supervising volunteers in action.

Sponsorship – Love it or Leave it?
Cindy Lerick, Executive Director, Sausalito Art Festival Foundation

You need sponsors, but are all the sponsors the right fit?  Do you take anyone who comes with money?  This session will help you determine what works for your event, what do you have to sell,  the value of your event, and is Company XYZ a good fit.

Whipping your Website into Shape
Aaron Popejoy, Creative Director, Conveyor Group, Imperial, CA

During this session you’ll learn about current design techniques and trends, useful features, platform and device compatibility, basic security and compliance, including meeting accessibility requirements for your website.  Attention will be given to creating a checklist for starting the development process from scratch as well as upgrading existing websites.  We’ll cover the basics on planning for a custom development, do-it-yourself tools, open source content management systems and suggestions for site hosting to handle the traffic load for your event.  Members of our development team will be on-hand to answer questions

Gloom & Doom – Is the Apocalypse Upon Us?
Dale Johnson, CFEE, CIC, Francis L. Dean & Associates, Ft Wayne, IN

With the state of the world today…It would be easy to crawl under a rock and hide, but that’s not what event people do.  We can be proactive in our approach to keep the public’s safety foremost in our plans.  We will discuss Critical Infrastructure Protection, and we will address ways to distance yourself from critical situations that could harm your organization.  Come share concerns and ideas

Demystifying Strategic Planning
Mitch Dorger, Dorger Consulting, Pasadena, CA

Setting the strategic direction of an organization is a fundamental responsibility of leadership.  But many organization make it too difficult.  This presentation simplifies the strategic planning process.


Eventology:  Digital Marketing – Formats to Success and Expanding Your Audience
Melody Brunsting, President, Melody’s Ad Works, Inc., Wildomar, CA
Jonathan Morales, Digital Media & Marketing Manager, Entercom, Riverside, CA
Jamie Villalobos, Senior Integrated Account Executive,  Entercom, Riverside, CA
Kristin Stanley, Senior Sales Executive, pandora

62% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the past 6 months.  One third of all eCommerce purchases during the 2015 holiday season were made on a smartphone  Digital Media is how you find your prospective and returning guests, follow them on every app they visit, communicate and engage them to push that “Buy Tickets” button.  Discover the various methods and formats of the Digital Marketing world from social media, to streaming videos and ads that show up in games and apps on mobile devices,  Learn how to integrate these methods with traditional media for the “non-digital” guest

Eventology:  Your Local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau/Tourism Group Can be Your Event’s Best Promoter
Annette Brown, Public Relations Director, Temecula Convention & Visitors Bureau
Vicki Higgins, Vice President of Destination Development, Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

Your local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau/Tourism Group can be your event’s best promoter.  Learn what your CVB needs from your event, how they can help you market and support the event, protect your brand, secure lodging and establish economic impact

Networking Groups

Schedule Subject to Change



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