February 24, 2014

IAFE Spring Seminar in San Antonio!

Hi Friends!

I have been missing recently and that is because I just got home from an AMAZING seminar in San Antonio, Texas! (Home of the Alamo!)
We had time to visit the Alamo on Friday after the seminar. It was awesome!
 I flew there last Tuesday to attend the IAFE (International Association of Fairs and Expos) Spring Seminar, focusing on Marketing and Sponsorship. If you didn't know, my position is the marketing and sponsorship coordinator for my fair, so this was the perfect event for me!

I got in really late Tuesday (after midnight) and was pleasantly surprised that my late arrival meant an upgrade due to the lack of standard rooms. Hello executive suite on the 20th floor!
My view from the 20th floor!
 Wednesday morning we started bright and early. I signed up for a pre-conference Sponsorship Workshop. It was six hours of learning all about the best practices for gaining sponsors and partnerships as well as discussing with all the other fairs that attended. This was a group of about 15-20 so it allowed us to really meet everyone and share ideas. I learned so much! And at this point the actual seminar hadn't even started yet.
Me on the San Antonio Riverwalk during a break.
Sessions started later that evening and were followed by a dinner with guest speakers who talked all about bloggers as part of your marketing strategy. My mind was blogger-blown! I had never even considered it, and they had such interesting ideas.
A shot I took of a River Taxi on the Riverwalk. We had lunch in a little Mexican cafe to the right!

Thursday began with more sessions and tons more amazing ideas for my fair. I learned something at each session - more than I could have ever hoped for. 
Me at part of the Alamo.
Then it was time for the fun part! As part of the spring seminar the IAFE delagates got to visit the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo. They did a big welcome for us, a personal tour of the facilities - and the best part? Box seats for the Rodeo and Dierks Bently Concert that night! 
VIP ticket baby!
Awesome patriotic drill team show pre-rodeo.

Dierks Bentley! Such a great concert! The stage rotated 360 degrees the whole time!

Who needs lighters? Cell phones glow at the concert.

Touring the Livestock show was like being in fair dreamland. The grounds, signage, marketing and interactive exhibits all had me wishing we could do it all at our fair! Then tacking on the rodeo and concert made it one of the best nights I've had in long time!
Me being goofy at the hospitality room at the Livestock show!

The next morning we had one more session and some closing remarks. It wasn't till then that I really realized the best part of this trip - the amazing people I had met. Going to a conference full of your peers is the best thing I could have hoped for coming into a new position. I am now loaded with contacts and friends I can call with any questions or ideas I may have. It was so fun to meet people in my industry, and hear about fairs big (2 million +) and small (10,000), and how we all face the same challenges.
Some of the great gals I hung out with that week with me at the Rodeo!

I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity or experience! So grateful to IAFE and to the Canyon County Fair for sending me!

TTFN Friends!
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