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Early Registration: 
October 5 - January 6
MNFEA Members $250/person
Non-Members $300/person

Standard Registration: 
January 7 - Onsite
MNFEA Members $300/person
Non-Members $350/person

Conference fees include general sessions, breakouts, networking activities, included optional events, and most meals.


2024 Conference Sessions


The 2024 Conference schedule is packed with educational sessions that address current and future challenges in the events industry, as well as business fundamentals and exciting up-and-coming trends.

Thursday breakout sessions offer an opportunity for you to deep-dive into topics that are specifically relevant to you and your operations. Join us for both Thursday and Friday to access all sessions & get the most out of your conference experience.

Schedule At-A-Glance
Schedule is subject to change. Session descriptions, speakers and more details can be found below.


       11:00am       Dine in the Dark Luncheon
                            *This event is not included in your conference registration. Learn more & register here.

5:00pm        Wednesday Night Networking Event: Ice Bowling at
                    the ROC
8:00pm        After Hour Hospitality: Punch Bowl Social - West End 


8:00am        Registration & Breakfast

9:00am        Welcome & Sessions Begin 

9:10am        Experiential Design: How to Turn Events into

10:00am      Creating an Event Risk Management Plan

11:00am      Designing Radically Inclusive Events with AI 

12:00PM      Breakout - Choose 1 
                       - 6 Lessons on Guest Experiences from the
                            "Happiest Place on Earth"

                       - Marketing on a Budget: Your $5k & Under Event
                            Marketing Plan

12:30pm      Lunch (provided)

1:30pm        Breakout - Choose 1 
- Enhancing Your Marketing Footprint with Media Partnerships
- Vendor Management w/TC Pride & Eventeny (Sponsored)

2:00pm        Roundtable: Generating Additional Revenue at Your

3:00pm        Valuable Local Partnerships: How to Engage with Your
                    City, Chamber
or CVB 

4:00pm        Happy Hour Session: A Look Forward at Upcoming

5:00pm        Day 1 Sessions Conclude

5:30pm        Thursday Night Soiree: Venue Experience

9:00pm        After Hour Hospitality: The Loop - West End 


8:00am        Registration & Breakfast

9:00am        Welcome & Sessions Begin

9:00am        The impacts of Climate Change on our Weather

10:00am      Mission Focused Events: Non-Profit Events & More

11:00am      How to Communicate a Major Event Change or

11:45am      The Art of the Side Hustle

12:15pm      Annual Meeting with Lunch (provided)

1:00pm        Flashes of Brilliance: Elevate Your next Festival &
                    Event with Drone Light Shows!

1:30pm        Festival Fails: Top 10 Tips on How to Screw Up Your

2:00pm        The Legalization of Cannabis & Events

3:00pm        Day 2 Sessions Conclude



John Cosgrove was not born with a microphone in his hand but it wasn’t long after he wiped the vernix off, that he soon grabbed one!

With a razor sharp wit, that can sometimes be quite blunt (see what I did there), Cosgrove will keep audiences engaged and entertained.

He has an Irish accent and is not afraid to use it. Strap in. Is this thing on?

Experiential Design: How to Turn Your Events Into Experiences
Moderator: Paloma Rodrigues, Senior Designer & Sales Executive, Festivities Event Rental; with Amy Zaroff, Founder / Creative Director, Amy Zaroff Events + Design; Ashley Cook, Owner, Ashley Skeie Events; Grant Whittaker, Owner, Grant Whittaker Creative; and Brittany Morris, Owner/Wedding & Event Planner, Bella Mystique
Attendees are no longer content with ballrooms or just sitting and listening, attending a vendor market, and listening to a band. They want opportunities to engage, interact, and network. And at the end of the day, they want to attend events that are Tweet- and Instagram-worthy. How do you create unique, authentic experiences that are worth sharing? It all starts with giving attendees choices! 

Creating an Event Risk Management Plan
Jeff Beahen, Senior Director, Security, Minnesota Twins Baseball Club
Safety and risk management should be the top priority for events and festivals. Whether you have a current plan or you are starting from the beginning it is time to focus on creating the safest environment possible for your guests, volunteers and vendors. 

Designing Radically Inclusive Events with AI
Nick Borelli, Marketing Director, Zenus
It might seem counter-intuitive, but machines can help us make more human experiences. Generative AI can give us windows into others' experiences, which can help us create a greater sense of belonging for a wider audience. Discriminative Deep Learning can provide us with the data we need to test how successful our designs are with different groups of attendees. With AI being managed by designers leaning on empathy and creativity, your events have the chance to reach new heights. In this session, you'll discover demonstrations of AI being used to aid in the most inclusive versions of event staples, how data can reveal unconscious biases that are holding your events' potential back, and which human skills to focus on to future-proof your career in a world with powerful AI tech advancements. 6 Lessons on Guest Experience from the "Happiest Place on Earth"
Caroline Correia, Account Manager, BeEvents
Unlock the secrets behind Disney's remarkable 70% repeat visitor rate and learn how to harness the power of smart design that BeEvents uses to create unforgettable experiences. Join us as we delve into the strategies that transport, engage, and connect guests, revealing actionable tips applicable to events of all scales. Whether you're orchestrating a massive outdoor festival or curating an intimate gathering, discover how to infuse your events with an enchanting touch. Don't miss out on this opportunity to elevate your event game and leave a lasting impression on your audience. Marketing on a Budget: Your $5k & Under Event Marketing Plan
Alyssa Olson, Marketing Director, Cumulus Media
Whether you are developing a new event or trying to increase exposure, your marketing budget is a key component to your event's success. In this session, we'll run through must-have elements, wishlist items, and what you can drop from your marketing plan to build a powerful and effective marketing plan with a $5k budget. Vendor Management w/TC Pride & Eventeny
Andi Otto, Executive Director, Twin Cities Pride and Max Feldman, Event Specialist, Eventeny
Managing event vendors is a full time job. This session will provide you with a solution to make vendor management easier by highlighting a real world case study from Twin Cities Pride, a leading LGBTQ+ organization who manage hundreds of onsite vendors during their summer festival. Discover how Twin Cities Pride leveraged Eventeny's software solution to revolutionize their event planning process. Through real-world examples and success metrics, learn how the integration of Eventeny's mapping feature streamlined venue layout planning, enhanced attendee experience, and elevated overall event success. Don't miss this opportunity to gain valuable insights, best practices, and tangible strategies for optimizing event management! Enhancing Your Marketing Footprint with Media Partnerships
Alyssa Olson, Marketing Director, Cumulus Media; Kate Bendell, Promotions & Partnership Manager, 5 Eyewitness News/45TV/; and Matt Perkins, Partnership & Events Manager, Star Tribune
Working with your local media doesn't need to break your marketing bank. In this session, we'll break down the different ways you can connect with your local media (with or without agency support) to develop mutually beneficial partnerships across TV, radio and print media. We'll identify a variety of ways in which each of these media channels work with local events, what free and paid programs are available to you, and how to make connections that spread awareness of your event, while also answering your questions about working with the media. Round Table Discussion; Generating Additional Revenue at your event
Moderator: Deb Schaber, Entertainment Director, Canterbury Park 

Valuable Local Partnerships: How to Engage with Your City, Chamber or CVB 
Shelly Loberg, President, Edina Chamber & CVB; Denise Olsen, Sr. Tourism Sales Director, Enjoy Eagan; Heather Proskey, Main Street & Special Events Director, Shakopee Chamber & CVB; and Mikayla Beuch, Recreation Supervisor, City of St Louis Park 
As a public event operator, you have access to many resources through your host City, Chamber of Commerce, and CVB/DMO. In this session, you'll discover ways you can partner with these organizations to actively promote your event to new and key audiences and access free marketing tools to help increase attendance and community participation. 

Happy Hour: Looking Forward
Andrea Graham, Co-Executive Director, Big Ten Men's & Women's Basketball Tournaments, Minnesota Sports and Events; Jaimee Lucke Hendrikson, President/CEO, Visit Saint Paul; and Molly Gallatin, Vice President of Communications, 2026 Special Olympics USA Games 
From the Big Ten Basketball Tournaments and the USA Olympic Gymnastics Trials to Taste of MN and Basilica Block Party, Minnesota is experiencing a major comeback in events as we see some fan-favorite festivals return and host a slew of national events in the next few years. In this happy hour session, we'll grab a drink and hear from event organizers and state officials about how they won bids to bring these events to our state, how they benefit our local economy, and what's in the works for 2025, 2026 and beyond. 



Miss Shannan Paul is a Multi-dimensional Event Leader who uses her talents to care for her son, and make the lives of other people better. She was named "Best Stand-up Comedian" by City Pages Magazine in their "2020 Best of the Twin Cities." Campus Activities Magazine┬« included her as one of eight Top Speaker Pick. A self-labeled Geek, Miss Shannan brings roaring laughter to even the most curmudgeonly of crowds. Twin Cities newspaper, the City Pages says, “No matter where you’ve seen (or heard) her, you know just how great Miss Shannan is. With comedy that’s personal and relatable, she has the ability to make you feel like you’ve been friends for years, even if you’re only seeing her for the very first time.” Her storytelling and irresistible smile are sure to crack up even the most stone-faced curmudgeon. She can relate to everyone whether they be business professionals, students, Sci-Fi fans, sports enthusiasts, or suburban moms. Miss Shannan is a Comedian, Corporate Speaker, Radio and Television host, Benefit Auctioneer, Voice Actor and Event Emcee. She has appeared on “Nick Mom’s Night Out,” “Laughs TV,” Hulu and as part of the SXSW Comedy and Music Festival. She has performed with Louie Anderson, Sinbad, and Christopher “Kid” Reid. She regularly brings her wit, whimsy and pop culture expertise to Twin Cities television as part of "The Jason Show." Plus, hear Miss Shannan weekly on MyTalk 107.1, 830 WCCO and her podcast called "Be Our Geek." The impacts of Climate Change on our Weather Patterns for Festivals and Events
Mike Augustyniak, Director of Meteorology, CBM, CCM, WCCO-TV Minneapolis, CBS Sunday Morning
Minnesota’s climate is changing – at times, during the year, at the fastest rate seen anywhere in the continental U.S. – and the impacts we’re feeling today will become more extreme in time. Learn what long-term changes in climate are occurring in our region and in our state, and the impact they have on day-to-day weather. Resources to explore more localized impacts, and impacts on the natural environment, will be provided.
Mission Focused Events - Non-Profit Events & More
Kalsey Beach, President and Hannah Hegman, Director of Experience, Do Good Events 
Embark on a transformative session designed to amplify your event strategies. Delve into the evolution of traditional event practices and explore their adaptability in today's landscape. Uncover the art of captivating an audience through unexpected mission moments, crafting experiences that resonate deeply. Gain insights into infusing authenticity into events, reflecting on proven practices while embracing innovative approaches. Join us for an engaging discussion aimed at empowering you to create impactful and unforgettable event experiences, leaving attendees inspired and connected to your mission.

How to Communicate a Major Event Change or Cancellation
J Marie Fieger, CEO, Nemer Fieger and Mike Zipko, Principal, Velocity Public Affairs
Join Mike Zipko of Velocity Public Affairs and J. Marie Fieger from Nemer Fieger as we discuss the challenges and opportunities on how NOT to make the news. Learn the strategies and tactics so you are prepared to lead through unforeseen changes.

The Art of the Side Hustle
Sara Collins
Side gigs are becoming more commonplace in today's economy, especially in the events industry. Do you have a project that could be completed through contract work? Do you have a special set of skills that could be useful for a local festival or business? In this session, we'll take a look at best practices for pay scales, workers' benefits, and hiring practices from some MN organizations to unveil ways to get noticed by both employers and contract work-seekers.

Flashes of Brilliance: Elevate Your next Festival & Event with Drone Light Shows!
Jenny Kollander, Business Development & Partnerships, Sky Elements Drone Shows
Drone shows are the next big exciting feature in the world of events! But what are they, how much do they cost, and are they the right fit for your festival? We'll explore some of the big questions from cost to weather concerns to how they compare to fireworks and more traditional options. We'll also dive into the fun features that can make the experience magical, like syncing to music and customizing animations. Learn the key considerations and ask your burning questions to see if a drone show is right for you. 

Festival Fails: Top 10 Tips on How to Screw Up Your Event
Mark Rausch, Director of Operations, mpls downtown council & Phil Schliesman, License Inspector, City of Minneapolis
A guide to festival flops and event laments! A top 10 list ranging from the comically catastrophic to the downright disastrous. From porta-potty pitfalls to mistaking the keynote speaker for the janitor, we'll uncover hilarious mishaps that can turn your dream event into a nightmare. But fear not! Alongside some laughter and cringing, we'll also share valuable insights and lessons learned to steer clear of epic fails and ensure a roaring success. Laugh and share your cautionary tales for festival organizers.

The Legalization of Cannabis & Events
Cory Lake, Agent, Lake Group Insurance; Jason Tarasek, Counsel, Vicente LLP; Allison Vaillancourt, Founder/Creative Director, BLNCD Naturals
The legalization of cannabis has offered challenges and opportunities for events and festivals in Minnesota. The new legalization is constantly evolving and changing the rules of engagement. This session will share the latest impacts on our industry and how you might benefit from embracing this new revenue stream and prepare you for the pitfalls that should be on your radar.

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