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Events have always been an outlet for communities to gather and celebrate, as well as an economic driver for local business. The pandemic certainly presented challenges to the event industry, but our members continue to do what they do best with spirit, resiliency and creativity. Now more than ever, we know the importance of staying connected to our peers and learning from our colleagues. This series will showcase the stories of FFEA members who have adapted and used their skills to host successful events - whether virtual or in-person.

If you would like to be featured, just let us know and a member of our volunteer team will connect with you.


ArtFest Fort Myers held a successful in-person Festival as well as a virtual "ArtFest at Home" for a true hybrid experience. Hear from their staff on how they made decisions about moving forward with their event and what the future of ArtFest may look like.

ArtFest Staff: Sharon McAllister, Executive Director; Megan Tramonte, Logistics Coordinator; Erin Jackson, Community Engagement Manager.


In the light of the pandemic, we had many companies and organizations pivot to other sources of use to keep their employees working. In today’s feature, Ivan Marin, Executive Vice President and COO of Complete Ticket Solutions, shares what his company did to keep his talented and highly trained staff engaged and employed during this time of uncertainty.


READ THE STORY HERE


Festival of the Arts Boca 2021 was unlike any festival they had produced in the past 14 years. They still brought attendees some of the world's finest performers and artists, authors and thinkers, but all events were virtual, and all events were free! Hear from Executive Director, Joanna Marie Kaye on how they produced an engaging virtual event while showcasing the City of Boca Raton.


After cancelling the postponed 2020 event, Florida's "Fizziest Festival" returned this April with 200+ Craft Sodas to sample, Festive Food Trucks, Live Music, a Craft Beer Garden and lots of Family Fun. Tenille Drury-Smith, President & CEO of the Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce, shares what they did to bring back the Sebring Soda Festival in 2021.


After not hosting events for approximately six to seven months in Stuart City, their Community Events and Green Markets started back up in November of 2020. In today’s feature, Jessica Tharp, Recreation Programs Supervisor from the City of Stuart’s Recreation Department, shares some of the processes they changed and the outlook she now has with events going forward.


The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art had one huge advantage during the pandemic with sixty-six acres of outdoor land around their building. In today’s feature, Christina Fraser, the Assistant Director of Events and Rentals from the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, shared with us how the Ringling kept business going under these extreme conditions.


While they did not host their traditional events in 2020, Winterfest managed to be creative and adapt in order to stay relevant. In 2021, they are full steam ahead as they celebrate 50 years! In today’s feature, Dawn Read Diehl, the Event Director from Winterfest Boat Parade, shared with us how they stayed successful and relevant during the pandemic.


After canceling their Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt in 2020, the Town of Jupiter managed to be innovative and create a self-guided scavenger hunt for the year 2021. In today’s feature, Corinne McKee, the Recreation Coordinator from the Town of Jupiter, shared with us how they stayed successful and engaged with their community during the pandemic.


While they did not host their traditional events in 2020, the City of Clermont managed to be creative and implement new ideas into their programs. In 2021, they are full steam ahead and ready to celebrate the 4th of July with their community! In today’s feature, Maritza Rivera, the Program Manager from the City of Clermont, shared with us how they are transitioning back to regular events after the pandemic.


The West Palm Beach DDA is constantly working to improve and maintain Downtown West Palm Beach by offering information and services to visitors, residents and business owners. In today’s feature, Sherryl Muriente, Manager of Urban Placemaking, and Tiffany Faublas, Marketing Director, from the West Palm Beach DDA, shared with us their teams' efforts during the pandemic, focusing on two major projects: Dining on the Spot and Black Art Matters.


The Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce produces three premier events in the area: ArtiGras Fine Arts Festival, Palm Beach Gardens Art Fest by the Sea, and Loggerhead Triathlon. In today’s feature, their team shared how they kept their premier event, ArtiGras, successful and stayed relevant during the pandemic.

Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce staff: Bianca Colon, Director of Events; Marlee Startory, Director of Marketing and Communications; Stewart Auville, Festival Operations Manager.


The state of Florida had less restrictions than other states during the pandemic, which benefited many event companies and organizations. In today’s feature, Tasha Hyder, General Manager of the Clay County Florida Agricultural Fair, shares what her team did to host a virtual event in 2020 and transition back to an in-person event in 2021 with a record attendance.


Keeping live events going in Florida during the pandemic was easier in Lake County as they were able to bring them back faster than their neighbors in Orange County. In today's feature, Amanda Nethero, Marketing, Communications, and Event Director for the South Lake Chamber of Commerce, shared how they returned to normalcy in Clermont.


In an effort to stay relevant and engage with their community, the MainStreet DeLand Association encouraged mindfulness. In today's feature, Desiree Freeland, Events and Promotions Coordinator from MainStreet DeLand Association, shared what her association did during the pandemic to keep live events going.


The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show was the only live boat show in the country during the pandemic. In today's feature, Nicole Hoekstra, Director of Membership and Events of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, shared all the amazing things they were able to accomplish during the pandemic.


The Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has a mission to stimulate, enhance, and sustain the economic vitality of downtown Delray Beach and the quality of life enjoyed by locals and visitors. In today's feature, Laura Simon, Executive Director of the DDA, shared how they stayed active throughout the entire pandemic and how her and her team managed to reinvent events during a crucial time.


“Orlando’s economy felt the push to get live events back up as fast and as safe it could due to its tourism environment," said Terry Olson. In today's feature, Terry Olson, Director of Arts and Cultural Affairs of Orange County Government, shared how their team expanded live events outdoors during the pandemic and how they plan to proceed with events now that the vaccine has been distributed.


Located in West Palm, Jupiter, and Stuart, Jupiter Bounce (JB) offers a wide range of services from rock walls, DJs, water slides, and more. As a large supplier, Jupiter Bounce enjoys partnering with other local businesses in the south Florida area to cross promote each other. In today's feature, Stephen Vonk, Owner and Chief OperatingOfficer, shared their new Inclusive Inflatable product, which debuted at Town of Wellington’s 4th of July event.


The Seabreeze Jazz Festival is one of the best smooth jazz music festivals in the United States. Being in the Panhandle proved to be an advantage, as they had less cases than other areas and a beach community with open areas. In today's feature, Amberly Brown, Event Vendor Manager and Head of Festival Merchandising for the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, shared how her and her team produced their 2021 event this past April with a Covid-19 event plan and protocols in place.


Event Village is an e-commerce website that takes artisanal vendors to venues and events. When markets and fairs were closed due to COVID 19, event village provided a place for these vendors to showcase their products. In today's feature, Melissa Frantz, Co-Founder & CEO of Event Village, shared all that shifted at her facility before, during, and after the pandemic.


The City of Doral had more challenges to overcome during the pandemic than most of the state of Florida since Miami was hit hard with COVID cases. In today's feature, Ashley Barcena, Recreation Marketing & Sponsorship Coordinator, and Diana Maldonado, Special Events Coordinator for the City of Doral, shared how the City of Doral reinvented their events during the pandemic and how they expect to transition back to normalcy.
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