Log in

Log in

Industry News

  • Wednesday, February 17, 2021 1:14 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    Director of Events and Strategic Partnerships 

    Rochester Downtown Alliance 
    311 South Broadway, Suite A2 
    Rochester, MN 55904 

    Company Overview

    The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) is a Minnesota nonprofit corporation comprised of a  broad range of people, including property owners, business leaders, the City of Rochester, and  others with a direct stake in enhanced business and economic development in the Downtown  district. The RDA also interacts closely with the public, including residents and visitors. 

    The RDA works collaboratively to build a vibrant downtown community and believes that a  strong core positively impacts the greater city of Rochester. The RDA brings downtown to life  through events, activation, and advocacy. The RDA’s values are: 

    We’re the Downtown Experts - Downtown Rochester is our focus. Everything we do,  we have Downtown in mind, constantly providing events, programs, and services that  meet our vision. 

    Build it Together - Create and maintain an environment where we are better off  collectively than we are individually. 

    Strive for Excellence - We are dedicated to excellence. Our quest embraces creativity,  innovation, and hard work. We pride ourselves on being accessible and approachable to  everyone. Our #1 priority is the quality of our events, programs, and services. 

    Be Passionate - We bring passion and a positive attitude to all we do. Have Fun - We have fun with everything we do. 

    Position Responsibilities

    The RDA is seeking a creative, energetic, and detail-oriented Director of Events and Strategic  Partnerships to help us establish downtown Rochester as a welcoming, fun, and compelling place  to be.  

    Over its 16-year history, RDA has established itself as a leader in event creation and production.  Annually, we bring more than 200,000 eventgoers downtown through Thursdays Downtown,  SocialICE, Movies in the Park, and Dogs Downtown, among other events. Many of these have  become beloved traditions for Rochester, but COVID-19 has given us a great opportunity to  freshen our perspective and think creatively about the years to come. The person stepping into  this role should be capable of supporting and updating existing events, and equally capable of  generating new event ideas and bringing them to execution. We’re looking for someone with  both vision and practicality.  

    Primary job responsibilities include: 

    Event management: RDA executes up to 22 large events and several smaller  programs/series per year. Direct planning, production, and evaluation for our full event  portfolio, including budgets, permitting, contract negotiations, vendor management,  safety protocols, crisis plans, volunteer recruitment, on-site management, and post-event  assessment.  

    Partnership development: RDA self-generates 25 to 33 percent of its revenue through  events and strives to make each event revenue neutral. Proactively develop sponsorship  strategies that present value to potential partners and ensure that all partnership  deliverables are met.  

    Community relations: RDA has 300 direct stakeholders downtown and works with  hundreds more people in the course of executing events. Develop ongoing relationships  with downtown businesses, City team members, media, vendors, exhibitors, performers,  and peer organizations. Serve on various boards and committees as a representative of  RDA.  

    Non-RDA event cultivation: Lead strategy development to encourage non-RDA produced  events to choose downtown as their location. Manage Peace Plaza rentals, understand  venue options downtown, advise first-time event producers, etc.  

    Key skills/qualities:  

    People person: RDA’s Director of Events and Strategic Partnership might speak to 200  people in the course of a single Thursday and must truly enjoy this aspect of the work.  You’re the kind person who gets every cell phone number and understands that everyone likes to hear “thank you”.  

    Creative AND Analytical: You have a strong vision for downtown Rochester, and you’re  excited by the prospect of changing up existing events or developing new ones. When  visiting other cities, you’re always thinking, “Let’s make this happen in Rochester!”. You also know how to use data to justify your decisions and will use qualitative and  quantitative analysis to assess and improve events.  

    Detail oriented and budget savvy: You collect every W9 and COI, and stay on top of  invoices and checks. You know each event budget inside and out and stick to it.  Professional communicator: To get things done in this role, you’ll call, email, text, and  physically track people down. It will get hectic, but you will always be a timely, polite,  and polished communicator and representative for the RDA.  

    Safety aware: Whether we’re talking about pedestrian protection, grease fryers under  tents, or COVID-19 protocols, you are constantly prioritizing the safety of our event  participants and attendees.  

    Team player: Things get stressful in this job, but you’ll have an amazing team to help.  We work together with respect and a sense of humor. You know how to communicate  early and often with your colleagues in marketing and communications to ensure your  event is well-promoted and your promises to sponsors/partners are fulfilled.  

    Cool under pressure: Things will go wrong. People will be difficult. You will handle it  with grace. You can manage most things yourself and also know when it’s time to ask for  help.  

    Job Qualifications: 

    High school diploma. Bachelor’s degree preferred.  

    5+ years experience in event production, fundraising/development, or other related field.  Proven ability to bring a large event from idea to execution.  

    Comfort with technology and learning new platforms: MS Office, various software to  track market vendors, basic graphic design/diagram programs to create event layouts.  Excellent written and verbal communication skills. 

    Outstanding attention to detail.  

    Ability to work positively with others and thrive in a demanding, fast-paced, and rapidly  changing environment. 

    Ability to manage multiple tasks that vary in complexity and urgency. Self-motivated, empathetic, creative, forward-thinker open to creating new strategies to  enhance the Rochester Downtown Alliance and Downtown Rochester. 

    Must be able to anticipate communication needs, discern work priorities, and meet  deadlines with minimal supervision. 

    Be willing to work evenings and weekends as needed. 

    Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds. 

    Job Type: Full-time 

    To apply, contact: Holly Masek, Executive Director,

  • Wednesday, December 09, 2020 10:11 AM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    The Minnesota State Arts Board has opened the first grant program for its fiscal year 2022 grant cycle (July 2021 – June 2022).  Application materials and the online application portal are now available for the FY 2022 Operating Support grant program.  Applications are due Friday, January 22, 2021, before 4:30 p.m.

    Operating Support provides general support to high quality, established arts organizations that produce, present, or exhibit works of art; to organizations that provide a broad range of services to artists; and to community arts schools and conservatories that make arts learning available to Minnesotans of all ages and abilities.

    All Arts Board grant programs are open, statewide, to any applicant that meets the eligibility requirements.  Specific requirements for this program are listed in the FY 2022 Operating Support Program Overview and Application Instructions document posted on the Arts Board website:

    First time applicants are encouraged to carefully review the Program Overview and Application Instructions and then call the program officer prior to beginning an application.

    The board will announce other fiscal year 2022 grant opportunities early in 2021. 


    If you have questions about the Operating Support grant program, please contact:
    Richard Hitchler, program officer
    Phone:  (651) 539-2653, toll-free (800) 866-2787 
  • Wednesday, November 11, 2020 2:05 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    Hennepin County is offering a new business resource platform named Elevate Business HC. Elevate Business HC is a public-private initiative that will offer pro bono services to businesses located in Hennepin County including technical assistance, peer roundtables, and webinars. The goal of Elevate Business HC is to provide resources to help re-build, re-establish and re-ignite business.  These services are provided at no cost to Hennepin County Businesses. For more information go to:

    COVID-19 winter strategies toolkit
    This toolkit aims to provide strategies for business owners and city staff to support small businesses, and help keep community members engaged, comfortable and safe throughout COVID-19 during the winter months. Hennepin County’s website provides additional toolkits on their website at:

  • Monday, October 26, 2020 1:37 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    The Minnesota State Arts Board is offering a new grant program this year—Creative Support for Organizations—to help arts organizations adapt to the changing environment caused by the global pandemic.  Recognizing that many Minnesotans engage with the arts through community organizations and public entities that are not specifically arts organizations, the board will offer an additional Creative Support for Organizations application deadline in December that will be open to a wider spectrum of applicants.

    For the next deadline, the following additional kinds of entities will be welcome to apply: 

    • Arts affiliates of nonprofit or public institutions;
    • Nonprofit organizations whose primary mission or focus is not the arts but have an ongoing commitment to arts programming and have received an Arts Board or regional arts council grant in fiscal years 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020.
    • Public entities with an ongoing commitment to arts programming that have received an Arts Board or regional arts council grant in fiscal years 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020.

    Organizations that were eligible to apply in August and September, but didn’t, will still be eligible to apply.  Organizations that have been awarded a FY 2021 Creative Support for Organizations grant will not be eligible to apply for another grant.  Organizations that submitted an application in August or September, that is being reviewed by the Arts Board, will not be eligible to submit another application.  More detailed eligibility information will be available in the application materials.

    Creative Support for Organizations funds can be used to support people and activities that will be needed to keep audiences, participants, students, or communities engaged with the arts during the pandemic and beyond. This grant program aims to help Minnesota arts organizations and programs maintain their financial sustainability and long-term viability by leveraging creativity and connections to community, to ensure that the arts remain available to Minnesota residents and communities.

    Application materials will be available by early November; an announcement will be distributed when materials are available and the board will begin accepting applications.
  • Tuesday, September 15, 2020 10:46 AM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    Cultural STAR Applications
    Now Open

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cultural STAR is providing general operations grants to Saint Paul-based arts or cultural organizations. This is intended to be a one-time emergency relief program and does not reflect a permanent change to Cultural STAR.

    Please note: 2020 Round One has been canceled, and filed applications will not be considered for capital or special project funding. 2020 Round One applicants will need to fill out a 2020 General Operating application to be considered.

    Two virtual information sessions will be held:

    If you would like any assistance or modifications to aid your participation in this activity, please contact Nora Riemenschneider at or 651-266-6638.

    2020 Cultural STAR General Operating applications are due Friday, October 2 at 4 p.m.

    New eligibility and guidelines apply. Learn more at

    Cultural STAR Board Openings

    The Cultural STAR Board reviews all applications and makes funding recommendations to the Mayor and City Council. Board members are also asked to help promote the program to arts and cultural organizations, neighborhood and business groups, and others that may be interested.

    The Cultural STAR board has three openings to fill from the following categories (one person may represent more than one category)

    • Large cultural organization representative (annual budget of over $1 million)
    • Small cultural organization representative (annual budget of $250,000 or less)
    • Saint Paul neighborhood organization representative
    • Saint Paul resident
    • At large representative

    Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning September 30 until all seats are filled.

    To learn more, visit
  • Wednesday, July 29, 2020 2:17 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    FY 2021 (July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021)

    The coronavirus pandemic is having a profound impact on our state and on our arts community. Creative individuals and organizations can no longer make and share their work in the ways they could in the past. Minnesotans can no longer participate in many of the arts experiences they value.

    Because the environment for our work has changed, the Arts Board will redirect its grant making in FY 2021 – offering one existing program and three new pilot programs – that will help provide support for the arts community during this extremely challenging time. The programs include:


    The changes in Arts Board grant programs for this year do not represent a permanent shift in Arts Board funding. Instead, these new pilot programs are a response to COVID-19. The Arts Board is redirecting its grant making activities to offer more flexible, general support for creative individuals and organizations across the state as they work to adapt their activities and sustain their practices during the pandemic and beyond.
    The State of Minnesota is the Arts Board's primary source of revenue. The State is facing a projected deficit, so we anticipate that our funding for the year will decrease. At this point, we have not received final confirmation of our State appropriations levels for FY 2021. When we have confirmation, we will be able to determine how much money will be available in the Operating Support program and the two Creative Support programs.

    For more details about the programs and to apply, visit the Arts Board website.

  • Wednesday, June 10, 2020 12:39 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    On November 19, 2019, Dakota County Board of Commissioners approved amendments to Dakota County Ordinance 110, Solid Waste Management, with new trash management and recycling requirements for waste industry, businesses, events, and residents. 

    County staff appreciate event representative engagement during the 2019 stakeholder engagement process.  Obtaining input and feedback allowed us to incorporate practical conditions and phased approaches. 

    This notice notifies events and event venues of the new recycling requirements that affect them.  Please share this information with your Association members that operate in the County.  For reference, here is a list of cities and townships in the county.


    Recycling Requirements.  Many events already recycle, but as event planners start to update procedures to address COVID 19, they may also need to update protocols to incorporate new recycling requirements. Owners, managers and sponsors of events, festivals and event venues (i.e., inside buildings and on grounds) will be required to:

    1. Recycle a designated list of materials following best practices. Best practices include:
    • Co-locate trash and recycling containers (within 10 feet of one another) 
    • Ensure containers are large enough and emptied frequently enough to capture all the recyclables.
    • Properly label all trash and recycling containers using standardized colors, images, and terminology according to county labeling standards.
    • Provide recycling education to event employees, housekeeping, and volunteers on proper recycling following county education requirements.
    • Submit an annual report for recycling compliance. The County will notify owners and managers when the reporting requirement goes into effect and provide a report form.
    1. In 2024, certain large events are required to collect back-of-house (from non-public areas only) food scraps.


    More information including effective dates and resources to help with compliance can be found on the County’s website (, search event recycling). 

    Please contact Jon Buck, Waste Regulation, with any questions about the new recycling requirements at or 952-891-7092.

  • Wednesday, May 27, 2020 11:00 AM | Steve Madson

    COVID-19 has been the largest and most severe situation that we, as festivals folks, have ever faced.   While we all try to understand how to produce an event safely in this new reality, equally important to our future is the funding.   Please join us Wednesday May 27th at 11AM for an update from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Minnesota Regional Arts Council.   While not all the answers will be known, and keeping in mind things are changing rapidly,  it's important to understand the process and plans both organizations have, and also to share our concerns as well. 

    WHAT:  Presentation by Rina Rossi, MSAB and Scott Artley, MRAC - Updates 

    WHEN:  Wednesday May 27th 11AM 

    WHERE - ZOOM -   Join Zoom Meeting

    Meeting ID: 843 7835 4121
    Password: 645236

  • Thursday, April 09, 2020 2:00 PM | Steve Madson

    Explore Minnesota invites you to participate in an industry-wide call about the COVID-19 crisis and the impact on tourism marketing in Minnesota.

    This call will be held Thursday, April 9, 2 p.m.

    Phone: 1-415-655-0003
    Meeting number: 969-340-876

    This call will provide you with the latest on what we have heard from the industry, how EMT is rethinking strategies and making plans for an unknown recovery, and share some ideas on how we can overcome.

    As the horizon for recovery seems to constantly change, we plan to do a series of these types of calls. This is the first one to touch base with all of you on our strategies. We will schedule another call in a few weeks from that to offer additional insights and plans to help all of you.

    It goes without saying that we are in unprecedented times. COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives and the travel and tourism industry severely.

    Like all of you, Explore Minnesota Tourism is dealing with this crisis by looking at things in a whole new way. From marketing programs, to social media, public relations messaging and events, we’re refining and reexamining every aspect of our organization to meet the crisis at hand. And we know you are, as well. But you’re not alone. By working together, sharing ideas and collaboratively rethinking our approach to tourism marketing, we will overcome this crisis facing our industry.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020 5:33 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    Irish Fair Logo - Color

    Press Release 

    Cindy Lerick Joins Irish Fair of Minnesota 

    Veteran Event Management Executive Sets Anchor to Minnesota to Lead Irish Fair

    St. Paul – March 19, 2020 – Irish Fair of Minnesota (IFM) announces Cindy Lerick, past board president of the International Festival and Events and executive director of several local and nationally-noted festivals and events, has joined IFM as Executive Director.  Cindy will be replacing Erin Cooper who was Executive Director for the past five Irish Fairs and announced her resignation earlier this year.  Erin and Cindy will be working together on transition through the end of March.

    Lerick’s impressive resume includes experience as executive director at Saint Louis Art Fair, Sausalito (CA) Art FaIr and the Uptown Art Fair, here in Minneapolis.  She returned to St. Paul last year to run her event consulting business.  Cindy joins IFM as several local fairs and festivals have hit the pause button in 2020 due to rising costs, market changes, and most recently with the coronavirus. 

    “We were fortunate to find Cindy here in our backyard,” said Tom Whelan, IFM’s board chair. “Someone with her experience who also already understands our market only comes around once in a blue moon, I mean once in a Guinness! We look forward to her helping take IFM to new levels.”

    The 41st Irish Fair, already St. Paul’s largest ethnic event, will take place on St. Paul’s Harriet Island beginning Friday, August 7 through Sunday, August 9.  A preview party on Thursday, August 6 kicks off the weekend.


    About Irish Fair of Minnesota
    Irish Fair of Minnesota is a 501 (c) (3) charitable nonprofit founded in 1980 to link the past, present and future of Irish culture in Minnesota. Its mission is to promote and cultivate Irish culture through music, dance and family activities to anyone who is curious about it and to preserve a rich heritage of traditions for future generations. Festival proceeds are reinvested in Minnesota’s Irish cultural community or shared with new immigrant groups through the organization’s Legacy Fund.  


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software