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2022 Convention Schedule

Thursday, January 13, 2022
10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Consumer Protection Program Training * Separate Registration Required *
4:00 p.m. Joint Meeting of the MN State Ag Society, Midwest Showmen’s Association, and the MN Federation of County Fairs -
Presided by MFCF President Steve Storck
5:00 p.m. MN Federation of County Fairs Board Meeting - Presided by MFCF President Steve Storck
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. MFCF Registration Grand Ballroom Foyer
7:00 p.m. SHARING TABLE: What’s on Your Mind?


Friday, January 14, 2022
7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. MFCF Registration Grand Ballroom Foyer
7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Convention Socialization Bloomington Room
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. State Agricultural Society Office Open Grand Ballroom Foyer
9:30 a.m. General Session

R U READY 4 THE FUTURE? Back in business! Whew! Wasn’t it great? On so many levels it was fabulous to get most of the county and state fairs across the United States open again, doing business almost normally in 2021 after the pandemic shuttered life as we knew it in 2020. Since January I have visited 31 fairs of all sizes in a dozen states and each one has been such a joy to my soul! What is evident, however, is that there will be both short and long-term impacts to our county and state fairs because of the pandemic and the unforeseen consequences of it on every aspect of our daily lives. At this general session, I will share with you some insight into the challenges that we must rise up to meet for the future, but also the opportunities before us that may not happen again for a generation or more. As one of my friends puts it, “R U READY 4 THE FUTURE?
Presenter: Marla Calico, President and CEO of the International Fairs and Exposition s.

10:30 a.m. Refreshment Break – Edina Room Sponsored by Loret Foods
10:45 a.m. General Session

Legislative Update The lobbying efforts of the MFCF have been very successful in recent years. Every fair in the state of Minnesota has benefited. Come and hear where we have been and where we are headed on the legislative front.
Presenters: A.J. Duerr and Cory Bennett, MFCF Lobbyists.

11:15 a.m. General Session

MN County Fair Grant Program Update Get an update on the grant programs (including AGRI and Legacy Funding) and learn what qualifies. Get tips for the application and close-out process.
Presenter: Ashley Bress, Grants Supervisor MN Department of Agriculture

12:00 Noon – 1:00 pm LUNCH Separate Ticket Required

1:00 p.m. Sessions

Q and A with the Lobbyist You've heard the legislative update, now what questions do you have? Bring them to this session and get the answer. Have an idea? Share it here! Presenters: AJ Duerr and Cory Bennett, MFCF Lobbyists.

Maximizing Revenue with Digital Marketing and Ticketing Though 2020 was a bit of a bummer, 2021 showed incredible pent-up demand for a return to live events! Are you ready to maximize this new consumer engagement & make it easy to do business with your fair? Are you fully leveraging online ticketing and digital marketing strategies? Join the Saffire team as we share lessons from 2021 and detail core strategies that lead to 2x and 3x ticketing revenue growth. We’ll share success stories from events that grew this year and talk about how you can keep up the momentum for 2022! Presenter: Jodi Buresh, Director of Partnerships, Saffire.

Value Our Partnership: A Conversation with Minnesota 4-H Youth Development Attend this workshop to learn about the impact of MN 4-H and share ideas to help advance our partnership with MN County Fairs Presenters: Jennifer Skuza, Associate Dean and MN 4-H State Director; Sharon Davis, Director of Animal Science; Amber Greely, Director of State and County Fairs Programs.

County Fair Boot Camp Come and learn about some common calendar items and points to ponder for all fairs, hear about the MFCF, and its role in Minnesota's fairs. If you have any questions, this is a great place to ask them! Presenter: Jodie Grabarski, MFCF District 4 Director.

SHARING TABLE: Activities for Kids (Pre-Teens) at Your Fair
SHARING TABLE: Health and Safety: Pre-COVID and Now


2:15 p.m. Sessions
Having Difficult Conversations 2 HOUR SESSION: This session ends at 4:30. One of the hardest things to do on the job and in our personal lives is having difficult conversations. How to start them, how to control emotions, getting the message across and still keep the relationship in a good place. This workshop will have participants work through the process, keep focus on the message, share insights, and be prepared for the difficult conversations when they come up. Presenter: Cindy Bigger, Bigger Associates


MN State Fair Recognition Programs Curious about the Century Farm Program and the Outstanding Senior Citizen Award recognition programs? Come and hear more about how they work. Presenter: Marie LeFebvre, Competition Manager – MN State Fair and other competition staff

County Fair Grant Q and A There will not be a presentation. Use this time to bring your questions to Ashley who will be present via Zoom. Presenter: Ashley Bress, Grants Supervisor MN Department of Agriculture

When the Carnival Comes to Town - A Unique Insight into the Daily Life of a Carnival Owner Ever wonder what goes on before the carnival opens to the public? This workshop, presented by carnival owners and OABA board members, will relate the history of carnival shows, what it takes to move the carnival from town to town, and what unique challenges face the industry every day. You will hear both comical as well as serious stories about life on the carnival road. Presenters: Mike Featherston – Goldstar Amusements; Randy Forcier – Gopher State Expositions; William Purdy – Amusement Attractions; Jim Sinclair – MN State Fair

SHARING TABLE: Non-Fair Events at the Fairgrounds
SHARING TABLE: What did you try in 2021? Did it work?


3:15 p.m. Refreshment Break – Plaza Foyer Sponsored by Schroder Concessions

3:30 p.m. Sessions Having
Difficult Conversations 2 HOUR SESSION: This session begins at 2:15 One of the hardest things to do on the job and in our personal lives is having difficult conversatins. How to start them, how to control emotions, getting the message across and still keep the relationship in a good place. This workshop will have participants work through the process, keep focus on the message, share insights, and be prepared for the difficult conversations when they come up. Presenter: Cindy Bigger, Bigger Associates

Electrical Licensing and Inspection Information for Fair Board Members This presentation will be on electrical safety on fairgrounds' permanent and temporary structures, electrical licensing, and inspection requirements. Presenters: Steven Dudley, Senior Electrical Representative and Wade Schlie, Electrical Area Representative

Panel Discussion: Working with Entertainers Come and listen to a panel of associate members who provide entertainment services to county fairs. Bring your questions and hear their perspective..

Responsible Service of Alcohol Learn about the responsible service of alcohol. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion. Presenter: Robert Foster, Sales Trainer, MN Licensed Beverage Association

SHARING TABLE: Legacy Grants: How have you used the funds?
SHARING TABLE: Volunteers: How do you attract and retain them?

5:00 pm – 11:00 pm Trade Show Open
5:00 p.m. MN County Fair Alumni Meeting Bloomington Room
6:00 p.m. MFCF Committee Meetings
Audit Vista 2202
Credentials Vista 2204
Resolutions Vista 2205

6:00 Midwest Showmen’s Association Open House Veranda Ballroom
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm Silent Auction Open Bloomington Room
7:15 – 10:00 pm Showcase
11:00 pm Trade Show Closes

Saturday, January 15, 2022
7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. MFCF Registration Grand Ballroom Foyer
7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Convention Socialization Bloomington Room
8:00 a.m. Breakfast: Opening Ceremony and Memorial Service Doors Open at 7:45
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. State Agricultural Society Office Open Grand Ballroom Foyer
9:30 a.m. Sessions
Grant Writing Workshop Raising money whether through grants, sponsorships, or other fundraising efforts can be fun and exciting. However, its success is determined greatly by two things….come and find out what they are! Presenter: Brian Carlson, Carlton Talent Agency and MFCF District 8 Director

Maximizing Ticketless Transactions for Profit and Guest ROI How can you package various ticket options (gate, concert, parking, carnival, F&B, etc.) to maximize profit, stand up to the competition from other live events and activities, and also engage your guests with a better experience? How can you utilize the trove of data that you’re collecting through online sales to take your event to a new level? Presenter: Jodi Buresh, Director of Partnerships, Saffire

Valuing Our Partnership: A Conversation with Minnesota 4-H Youth Development Attend this workshop to learn about the impact of MN 4-H and share ideas to help advance our partnership with MN County Fairs Presenters: Jennifer Skuza, Associate Dean and MN 4-H State Director; Sharon Davis, Director of Animal Science; Amber Greely, Director of State and County Fairs Programs

SHARING TABLE: The Future of our Fairs: Agriculture
SHARING TABLE: What do you charge? Food, commercial booths, storage, etc.
SHARING TABLE: Grandstand Events


10:15 a.m. Spouse Tour Departs for Chanhassen Dinner Theatre Chanhassen Dinner Theatre requires proof vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the show. Masks must be worn by all attendees. Ticket Required – Meet at the North Door Don’t have a ticket? Check at convention registration.

10:30 a.m. Refreshment Break – Plaza Foyer Sponsored by Variety Attractions

10:45 a.m. Federation Caucuses: You are encouraged to attend your district’s caucuses, even if you are not a delegate of alternate. However, if you do not attend a caucus, the following sessions are available to you:

10:45 a.m. Sessions
Responsible Service of Alcohol Learn about the responsible service of alcohol. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion. Presenter: Robert Foster, Sales Trainer, MN Licensed Beverage Association

Electrical Licensing and Inspection Information for Fairs This presentation is for owner/operators of carnivals, inflatables, concessions, circuses, or any other transitory use of electrical power. We will address the licensing and inspection requirements. Presenters: Steven Dudley, Senior Electrical Representative and Wade Schlie, Electrical Area Representative, MN Department of Labor and Industry

Chapter 38 Come and learn more about the Minnesota Statutes that establish County Agricultural Societies. Presenter: AJ Duerr, MFCF Lobbyis t

SHARING TABLE: Entry Systems


11:15 a.m. (or following Federation Caucuses) State Ag Society Caucuses (Districts 2, 6, and 8)
12:00 p.m. LUNCHEON / AWARDS LUNCHEON Doors open at 11:45 a.m. Grand Ballroom – Ticket Required 1
1:30 p.m. Sessions

Chapter 38 Come and learn more about the Minnesota Statutes that establishes County Agricultural Societies. Presenter: AJ Duerr, MFCF Lobbyist

Board Development One of the things missing from our collective learning is 'how to serve on a board'! This workshop will help board members understand their role, staff roles, and responsibilities given the board type. Presenter: Cindy Bigger, Bigger Associates

Grants, Events and Partnerships – How to Survive and Thrive in a Pandemic World So you have a fair and you have a pandemic. What do you do? This presentation will give you ideas and information on how to navigate and exit a pandemic with events and strategies that will keep your fair going strong. We'll also talk about finding and utilizing grants, social media and unique partnerships to keep your fair top of mind year round. There will be an open period to collaborate and network on new ideas and ask follow-up questions. Presenter: Brandon Helgeson, Big BANG Companies/Olmsted County Fair

SHARING TABLE: The Future of our Fairs: Facilities
SHARING TABLE: Free Activities that Won’t Break the Budget
SHARING TABLE: Small Fairs: Getting Sponsors

2:30 p.m. Refreshment Break – Plaza Foyer

2:45 p.m. Sessions
Committees that Work As everyone serves on a board, a committee or in a group, this workshop defines the traps committees can find themselves in and how to improve committee management, tips for facilitating meetings, and ways to make committees more efficient in getting the work done. Presenter: Cindy Bigger, Bigger Associates

Being the “Treasurer”… …because the title "Multitasking Ninja" is not an actual title. Designed for new treasurers but experienced treasurers are welcome to attend. We will review budgets, contracts, paying bills, and cash controls. Presenter: Tiffany Gustin, MFCF Executive Secretary

SHARING TABLE: Ag Grants: How how you used the funds?
SHARING TABLE: The Future of Our Fairs: Entertainment SHARING TABLE: Using Technology: What and How?
SHARING TABLE: What do you want to see at the Fair Convention in 2023?

4:30 pm – 11:00 pm Trade Show Open
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Silent Auction Closes End times will be staggered. Successful bidders should pay in the Bloomington Room.
7:15 – 10:00 pm Showcase
11:00 pm Trade Show Closes Sunday, January 16, 2022

Sunday, January 16, 2022

15 minutes after State Fair Breakfast - MFCF Board Meeting


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