Download the complete schedule by clicking HERE.


7:00 a.m.–8:30 a.m.              

Past IAFE Board Chairs Breakfast

Open to those who have previously served as the IAFE Board of Directors Chair.

Location: Room 303A


8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.          


Sponsored by ShoWorks

Location: Convention Center, Main Entrance, Street Level


8:00 a.m.                        

Doors Open for General Session

Location: Lila Cockrell Theatre


8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.        

Wednesday General Session

Join us in Wednesday morning’s general session for the presentation of the Etix, Williams, Cow Palace, Fair Publishing House, and Friends of the Foundation Scholarships for the Institute of Fair Management (IFM), presentation of graduates of the Institute of Fair Management (IFM), and Certified Volunteer Fair Manager (CVFM) presentation. The business session is also held during this general session. Last, but not least, hear from Shawn Rhodes (Shoshin Consulting) during his Keynote “Pivot Point: Leverage Change without Sacrificing Results”, sponsored by Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA).

Location: Lila Cockrell Theatre


10:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m.        

IAFE Trade Show

Walk through the aisles of nearly 300 exhibitors waiting to serve you and your fair. Find a partner in all things fair, including insurance, entertainment, website/ticketing, and more!

Location: Exhibit Hall 1


10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.      

New IAFE Board of Directors Orientation

Open to those elected to the 2019 IAFE Board of Directors.

Location: Room 223


10:30 p.m.–12:15 p.m.    

Beyond the Booth Showcases

Location: Showcase Areas 1&2 - Exhibit Hall 1



Branson, Missouri’s Mike Walker

10:30 p.m. – 10:45 p.m. (Showcase Area 1)

Presented by Creative Community Promotions, LLC


Pierce Avenue

10:45 a.m.-11:00 a.m. (Showcase Area 2)

Presented by The Source Management Group


The Combat Team

11:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (Showcase Area 1)


Dale Jones

11:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m. (Showcase Area 2)

Presented by Dale Jones Entertainment



12:00 p.m.-12:15 p.m. (Showcase Area 1)

Presented by Capitol International Productions


11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.       

Mid-West Fairs Association Meeting – members only

Location: Room 225 D


11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.        

Lunch in the Trade Show

Lunch options available for those who purchased a lunch ticket. Lunch tickets are only available prior to convention and will not be available for purchase on-site. 

Sponsored by Powers Great American Midways

Location: Exhibit Hall 1


11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m.      

Certified in Volunteer Fair Management (CVFM) Overview

Interested in the CVFM program? Think you may be interested? Come to this no-pressure overview session to learn more about the application process.

Location: Room 225 A


12:15 p.m.–12:45 p.m.     

Certified Fair Executive (CFE) Overview

Interested in the CFE program? Think you may be interested? Come to this no-pressure overview session to learn more about the application process.

Location: Room 225 A


1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.        

Ed Shed

Visit the Ed Shed for many educational opportunities, including

Campfire Theater, Legend-Led Theater, Power Talk Theater, Training Corral, and view entries from the 2018 IAFE contests. Be sure to pick up your USB drive (provided by the North Carolina State Fair) featuring award winning entries, and take part in the many interactive components.

Location:  Stars at Night Ballroom


2:00 p.m.–2:15 p.m.          

Power Talk: New Life to Traditional Competitive Contests

Thinking outside the box! Come join us as we see what’s new and trending in Competitive Exhibits.

Presented by Fran Crone (Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair)

Location: Stars at Night Ballroom – Ed Shed

Etix Power Talk Theater


2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m.          

Workshops – more topics coming soon!



Tech Pavilion: Social Media – Swipe Up with Insta Stories – Advanced

Learn some tips and tricks on how to take advantage of the fastest growing product in Facebook history.

Presented by Mark O’Shea & Steve Richo (Noise New Media)

Location: Saffire Tech Pavilion Room 302A


Legend-Led: Ticketing Technology and the Customer Experience

From the first online ticket purchases in the 1990s to the new, cashless midways of today, creating a better customer experience remains the driving force behind the development of new and innovative ticketing technologies. Etix founder and CEO Travis Janovich and Etix VP Dennis Scanlon discuss the evolution of ticketing technologies in recent years, how they have shaped the event experience, and what new technologies we should be ready for tomorrow.       

Moderated by Travis Janovich & Dennis Scanlon (Etix)

Location: Stars at Night Ballroom – Ed Shed

Etix Legend-Led Theater


Alcohol and Your Fair: A Case Study of the Ozark Empire Fair - Introductory

The Ozark Empire Fairgrounds got their first liquor license in 2013, which limited where they could sell and take alcohol to two main buildings on the 74 acres of land the Fairgrounds sits on. In 2018, they were granted a full grounds liquor license which opens their fairgrounds to more events, creating a positive impact on the Springfield economy. In this workshop, we will go over the steps OEF took throughout the four years in between the liquor licenses to make a full grounds license possible and successful.

Presented by Casey Owen (Ozark Empire Fair, MO)

Location: Room 225 A


OABA & IAFE – Securing Our Future…Protecting Our Partnership – Advanced

Carnival and Fair partnerships and relationships are critical for our future success  While midway revenues are critical to our collective success, todays seasonal labor challenges, state and federal regulations and legislation can impact our partnership and erode our financial relationships, if we don’t address them, together.   A panel of fair and carnival experts will address these challenges to help you understand these challenges faced by both Carnivals and Fairs and how working together will insure the success of our future.

Moderated by Bob Johnson (President, Outdoor Amusement Business Association)

Panelists to include OABA Director Greg Stewart, CFE (Central Washington State Fair); OABA Chair Jay Strates (Strates Shows, Inc.); and OABA Lobbyist Gregg Hartley (Husch Blackwell Strategies)

Location: Room 221 B&C


Introducing eSports into Your Fair - Introductory

With millions of players and more than 40 million fans in North America, eSports is more than the next big thing; it’s already here! Learn how one fair launched an eSports championship and how eSports can help attract hard-to-reach demographic groups to your events. This workshop will include an overview of needed technology, marketing and sponsorship strategies, and an open Q&A on how to get started.

Presented by Barry Feil (Celebrate Fairfax, Inc., VA) and Steven Tricarico (

Location: Room 221 D


Accelerating Zero Waste through Partnerships - Advanced

On average, fairs and exhibitions can create over 50 metric tons of waste per day. With agriculture waste, multiple vendors, guests, and rides, the sheer number of waste streams is complex to begin with. It is a big and bold move to implement a zero-waste strategy to reduce waste going into the landfill. In this session you will learn to:

  • Define a clear and easy zero-waste strategy that will impact your fair or exhibition

  • Develop an action plan to produce strong diversion results

  • Build corporate, supply, and industry partnerships to resource your zero-waste strategy     

Presented by Karen Massicotte (Pacific National Exhibition, BC)    

Location: Room 221 A


Action-Ready Ideas to Protect the Humans & Animals at the Fair - Intermediate

This workshop will highlight the value in knowing who the various actors are in the animal rights world, and also in making sure local law enforcement is well advised. It will emphasize the need for planning and continuing law enforcement engagement and partnerships.

Presented by Linda Chezem (Foley Peden & Wisco Law Office)

Sponsored by Protect the Harvest

Location: Room 301 B&C


Planning for Change: Leveraging Your Pivots - Introductory

In the world of fairs and expositions, the best plans never work out as planned. As an addendum to his keynote presentation, Shawn Rhodes will dig deeper into the constant challenge of implementing new ideas and ensuring that past mistakes aren’t repeated. He will guide audience members through the process to:

    •Develop clear “finish lines” for each employee on every project

    •Identify the most likely changes they’ll encounter along the way

    •Find solutions before problems affect results

    •Incorporate the experience and wisdom of senior leaders

    •Debrief results so every event is better than the last

Presented by Shawn Rhodes (Shoshin Consulting)

Sponsored by Strates Shows, Inc.

Location: Room 225 B&C


2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m.          

Volunteer Fair Manager Networking Session

Join these moderated sessions with generalized topics by networking with others and taking part in open discussion. You are sure to walk away with new and fresh ideas to take home to your fair!

Moderated by Debra Gard, CFE (Mountain State Art & Crafts Fair: An Appalachian Experience, WV) and Linda Haack (Madison County Fair, NE)

Location: Room 220


2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.        

StoryGrip Workshop – PART TWO - Intermediate

Learn to develop stories based on ideas that you generate from idea to creation. Implement the dynamics of stories that leave impressions to create lasting change. Employ the concepts of story creation and dissemination to move forward the story as a valuable and potent communications tool. This session will consist of hands-on storytelling writing, group sharing, and feedback, and is limited to 50 people. You must have participated in Part One on Monday to participate in Part Two.

*Additional registration required! Registration fee is $15.

*This is a repeat of Part II for anyone who cannot attend the session on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.

Presented by Dan Bennett (StoryGrip)

Location: Room 302 B&C


2:25 p.m.–2:40 p.m.          

Power Talk: Theme Activation for Your Audience

Picking your annual fair theme can be a fun and exciting task, but actually bringing it to life comprehensively throughout your fair can be challenging. Join in on the conversation around how to best activate your theme for your audience through programming, educational messaging, social media, and so much more!

Presented by Anna Whelchel (Indiana State Fair)

Location: Stars at Night Ballroom – Ed Shed

                Etix Power Talk Theater


2:50 p.m.–3:05 p.m.          

Power Talk: Taste Your Way Through Education

Come and experience one of the Erie County Fairground’s “Farm 2 Table” lessons. Take home flavorful information on how the program is run year-round and the ins and outs of specialized activities.

Presented by Amber Klein (Erie County Fair, NY)

Location: Stars at Night Ballroom – Ed Shed

               Etix Power Talk Theater


3:15 p.m.–3:30 p.m.           

Power Talk: Tidal Waves of Change without Creating a Tsunami

Presented by Amy Anderson (Altamont Fair, NY)

Location: Stars at Night Ballroom – Ed Shed

                Etix Power Talk Theater


3:15 p.m.–4:00 p.m.           

Workshops – all attendees welcome!



Tech Pavilion: Social Media – Bringing it Together…Analytics, Aggregation, and Display – Intermediate

You’ve done it! You’re Tweeting, Instagramming, posting on Facebook, and your guests are too. Now it’s time to share all of this interaction with the world. In this workshop we’ll go beyond the post. Learn to create displays that will inspire your guests and get you trending. Plus, gather key information about what people are posting and who they are.

Presented by Dan Froelich (Freestyle Productions)

Location: Saffire Tech Pavilion Room 302A


2018 Volunteer Background Screening – Tips and Best Practices - Introductory

Find out the important things you need to know about background screening and best practices:

  • The importance of a quality background check and how instant and low quality checks can leave your organization open to significant risk

  • How to keep compliant under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

  • Tips for a high quality and efficient background screening program on a tight budget

Presented by Kimberly Chochon (Verified Volunteers)

Location: Stars at Night Ballroom – Ed Shed

               Bio S.I. Training Corral


Legend-Led: Increasing Attendance

Soak up knowledge from industry legends and have a chance to ask them questions. This discussion-based session is a great opportunity to meet those established individuals you’ve been watching throughout the years.

Moderated by Marlene Jolliffe, CFE (State Fair of Virginia) and Jennifer Schuder (State Fair of Texas)

Location: Stars at Night Ballroom – Ed Shed

              Etix Legend-Led Theater


Bomb Prevention Tactics - Introductory

Learn how to use critical – and free – resources from the Office of Bombing Prevention (OBP) of the US Department of Homeland Security to address safety and security concerns at your facility. OBP officials will also be set up in the Ed Shed for more detailed one-on-one discussions.

Presented by Doug DeLancey (Department of Homeland Security)

Location: Room 221 A


From the Judges’ View

Join some our industry’s most respected livestock judges as they share what they look for when accepting a judging invitation from your event and discuss what makes or breaks a livestock show for them. The session will also allow for time for Q & A with the judges.

Moderated by Bill Ogg, CFE (Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days, WA)

Panelists to include Ryan Rathmann (Cattle Judge), Paul Gilroy (Poultry Judge), and Jess Yeaman (Sheep and Goat Judge)

Location: Room 221 B&C


Fairgrounds Master Planning – Developing a Vision - Introductory

How do your fairgrounds and facilities support your fair’s mission? How do the buildings and open spaces create a delightful experience for fairgoers? How can infrastructural improvements be realized in a way that also enhances the ambience? Master Planning is a collaborative process that begins with engaging stakeholders in high-level questions to set a course for the future development of the grounds in a thoughtful manner. A high-level vision will help guide the evolution of your fairgrounds, building on the strengths of the grounds and facilities while strategically addressing the areas of opportunities. In this way, addressing specific areas of concern and immediate issues are accomplished in a way that simultaneously makes strides towards a broader goal.

Moderated by Ken Karns, CFE

Panelists to include Brian Tempas and Andrew Tisue (Cuningham Group Architecture); Chris Kowieski (Wisconsin State Fair); and Bob Kelley (Eastern States Exposition, MA)

Location: Room 225 A


What is the Right Mix of Food at Your Fair? – Intermediate

How many corn dogs? How may ice cream stands? How many BBQ’s? This session will feature a panel of fair industry leaders who will discuss how to balance the mix of stands between traditional choices, regional favorites, and brand new concepts. They will share the kind of data to use when deciding: Is a fair is “under-fooded” or “over-fooded?” How many duplicate stands are appropriate, and why? Is there a mix of expensive, average, and cheap pricing? Are you serving children, seniors, and people with special needs such as “sugar-free” and “gluten-free?” How do you manage menus? Come learn the steps that provide “the right mix of food at your fair!”

Presented by the Rey O’Day (NICA West) and Dennis Larson, CFE (Retired – Minnesota State Fair)

Location: Room 301 B&C


501c Tax Law and Sponsorship - Intermediate

Come get pertinent information on the 2018 tax update for exempt organizations, including the latest information on tax treatment of fringe benefits and dealing with the new requirements for “siloing” of activities for not-for-profit organizations. During this session, we will address specific activities related to fairs that are affected by the new tax law.

Presented by Rob Lyons, CPA, MST (Marks Paneth, LLC)

Location: Room 225 B&C


3:15 p.m.–4:00 p.m.          

Fair CEO Networking Session

Join these moderated sessions with generalized topics by networking with others and taking part in open discussion. You are sure to walk away with new and fresh ideas to take home to your fair!

Open to CEOs Only

Moderated by Gary Slater, CFE (Iowa State Fair) and Kent Hojem, CFE (Washington State Fair)

Location: Room 220


3:40 p.m.–3:55 p.m.          

Power Talk: How the OABA Can Help You Find the Best Midway Provider

The OABA developed a sure-fire tool for fairs and festivals to utilize when looking for a midway provider. Many fairs already are asking for “Circle of Excellence” members when they go out with RFP’s. Learn how this can improve the quality of your midway provider and increase your fairgoers’ perception of your carnival operation.

Presented by OABA Director and Circle of Excellence Committee Member Greg Stewart, CFE (Central Washington State Fair)

Location: Stars at Night Ballroom – Ed Shed

                Etix Power Talk Theater


5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.          

Closing Party & Awards Reception

To wrap-up the IAFE Convention, many awards will be presented including: OABA Circle of Excellence, Innovation in Sponsorship (sponsored by Etix), Coca-Cola Membership and Hall of Honor Communications Awards (sponsored by K&K Insurance). Reward yourself with complimentary beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres, sponsored by Spectra by Comcast Spectacor.

Location: Lila Cockrell Theatre

Institute of Fair Management Course* = Unless otherwise stated, all IFM courses are open to all attendees, whether enrolled in the Institute or not. These courses are great educational opportunities you will want to take advantage of!

Copyright The International Association of Fairs and Expositions. All rights reserved.