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Convention report by Kathy Ross, Retiring Associate Director


Hello fellow Associates, Florida Federation of Fairs Convention this year was a huge success. The 67th annual convention was held


in Orlando at the Disney Buena Vista Palace, with over 525 in attendance, this year’s theme was “Changing Lives one Fair at a Time.” NICA was well represented by Michelle Card our Executive Director, Jessica Gottsche, NE/SE council coordinator, Richie George, Director and myself. Florida Federation programming always includes sessions focused on the concessionaires and the fairs


relationship. Marla Calico workshop


Marla Calico, IAFE CEO, provided a workshop on Vendors and concessionaires = suc- cess is in the detail. She shared that an event needs to know why people attend that event and then focus on that. If it is food then focus on it if it isn’t then find out why not, because food is the highest reason noted for attending fairs in the United States. Fairs also need to know the result of having quality food and quality vendors at their fair is that the patrons stay longer and increase their visits, which increases net income. She also spoke about understanding that the success of the vendors =success of the event. Marla asked the fairs to” put yourself in you guests shoes and see what you want?” Things she asked them to consider was food product quality, variety, service and choices for product and for payment. She also sug- gested to “ put yourself in your vendors booth and what do you want?” Vendors want good traffic, limited competition, infrastructure and a


good relationship with event management, A great and informative discussion closed out Marla’s workshop. NICA presented round tables on transfer of ownership and con-


cessions & promotions along with concessions and commercial exhib- its for small fairs. Other programming focused on the associate mem- bers included “why won’t you call me?” presented by Mark Sparks and Monica Welde moderated the Animal Acts Pros and Cons round table. This year the programming committee led by Paul Davis, FL Strawber- ry Festival, focused Thursday session on an Active Shooter workshop. Saturday a focused session was to introduce the candidates for the office of Florida Commissioner of Agriculture to the fair Industry. The candidates were able to give some background before being asked questions from Terry Atchley, Fl Fed. Board member. Each candidate presented themselves well to a standing room only crowd. Our goal to show the candidates that we are valuable partners for AG promotion was obtained. Along with all of the education the convention had scheduled there were more social events scheduled!! Wednesday has the


Transfer of ownership round table moderated by Jessica Gottsche


Giles Ellis Memorial Golf Tournament and the Splitsville Mix & Mingle presented by the YPI. Jeff Ross was presented with the high bowler of a certain advanced age. Thursday night we celebrated outgoing Pres- ident Dawn Rowe at the “Cowgirl Boots and Country Roots” party.


The Trade Show luncheon is always a lot of fun,


Jeff Ross High Score, flanked by YPI members Nicole Jones & Suzanne Holcomb


the Great Cash Giveaway occurs during the lunch and the show cases. The first through seventeenth names drawn were told they were not the winners....The 18th name drawn and winner of $100 was Steve Graul of the Indian River Firefighters Fair. The 19th name drawn was Sandy Hull of the Volusia Co Fair, she won $200 cash. The 20th name and the win- ner of the GREAT CASH


GIVEAWAY and $500 cash was Brian Simmons of the NE Fl. fair. Thank you to David


Fago and EcoShield for providing the cash for this event. Saturday night’s Gala theme of Super Heroes of the Fair Industry was a great suc-


cess. Associate of the year was presented to Dave Meola with Techtronics and Hall of Fame Award was given to Tom Umiker of the Hillsborough County Fair. My term as associate Director has come to an end and I am proud of my service to


Sandy Hull, Kathy Ross & Albert Montes


Brian Simmons, NE Florida Fair,


Kathy Ross, FFF


Associate Director, and Albert Montes, door prize chairman


the FL. Federation of Fairs Board of Directors. I want to thank Lisa Hinton for her support and for always answering my never ending questions. Richard George, my fellow NICA BOD, has been elected into my seat and I will support him in his endeavors.


Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. Henry Ford Kathy Ross, Ross Concessions NICA 1st Vice President


56 FAIRCRACKER-SUMMER 2018


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