The 35th Annual AFEA Conference & Trade Show is heading to the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs on January 30 & 31, 2019. We are excited to spend 2 days in the spa city with festival and event coordinators and other participating businesses and organizations. During this time, we will be learning how to grow and improve the impacts of events, expanding our networks within the industry, and having some FUN along the way!

You can’t go wrong in Hot Springs! With plenty to do and see, please plan to join us during this time and enjoy some of what the city has to offer. Book your hotel room at and use group code ARFEA for the discounted AFEA Conference & Trade Show rate.

What to expect:

Tuesday, January 29 @ 6:30 pm

Night Before Mixer @ The Gangster Museum of America (heavy appetizers and drinks provided, must RSVP to

Wednesday, January 30 @ The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

8:00 am- 4:00 pm

Industry Speakers, Sessions, & Workshops

AFEA Trade Show

6:00 pm- Dinner & Entertainment by Arkansas Circus Arts (1920’s era costumes encouraged!)

7:00-10:30 pm- Entertainer Showcase (Special opportunity to preview quality Arkansas talent to book at your next event!)

10:30 pm- Hospitality Suite

Thursday, January 31 @ The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

8:00 am- Breakfast With Vendors

9:00 am – noon

Industry Speakers, Sessions, & Workshops

12:00 pm- ALFiE Awards Luncheon


Full Schedule:

Schedule *content subject to change

 Tuesday, January 29

Speakeasy Mixer                                             6:30 pm

Wednesday, January 30

Registration:                                                      8:00-10:00 am

Welcome:                                                           9:00-9:15 am

Keynote Speaker:                                            9:15-10:00 am                                    Cooking Up Innovative Sponsor Activations

Break w/ Vendors                                           10:00-10:30 am

Breakout Sessions:                                          10:30-11:45 am                                  After Event Marketing/Trash&Recyling Plans

Lunch w/ Vendors:                                          11:45-1:00 pm

Breakout Sessions:                                          1:00-2:30 pm                                      Volunteer Management/Stop the Bleed

Break w/ Vendors:                                          2:30-3:00 pm

General Session:                                              3:00-4:00 pm                                      Chew & Brew: A Food & Beverage Panel

Pre-Dinner Reception:                                   5:30 pm

Dinner:                                                             6:00-7:00 pm

Entertainment Showcase:                            7:00-10:30 pm

Hospitality Suite:                                              10:30-midnight


Thursday, January 31

Registration:                                                      8:00-Noon

Breakfast w/ Vendors:                                  8:00-9:00 am

Breakout Sessions:                                          9:00-10:00am                                     Event Photography/AFEA Panel

Break w/ vendors:                                           10:00-10:30am

Breakout Sessions:                                          10:30-11:15am                                   Outdoor Recreation Festivals/Press Releases

General Session:                                              11:15-noon                                         Arts & Culture Saving Small Towns

Awards Luncheon:                                          12:00-2:00pm

Speakers Announced:

Kevin Grothe: Vice President of Sponsorships, Memphis in May International Festival

Session: Cooking Up Innovative Sponsorship Activations

Kevin Grothe has more than 25 years of sales, marketing and fund raising experience in the event industry. During his 12 years at Memphis in May, he has worked with several national accounts including Nike, Chaco, Otter Box, YETI and Ford. Kevin shares on successfully negotiating and implementing a myriad of sponsorship strategies in his session: “Cooking Up Innovative Sponsorship Activations”.

Marie Lindquist: Executive Director, Arkansas Public Administration Consortium

Session: Volunteer Management

With over 20 years in professional experience in higher education, Lindquist joined the     Arkansas Public Administration Consortium in 2017. Through her work at the organization, she works with a mission of improving the quality of public services in Arkansas through management training. Current training programs include the Certified Volunteer Manager program, Certified Group Facilitator program and  the Arkansas Certified Public Manager® program, among others. In this Volunteer Management session, Marie creates an environment that engages attendees in sharing their volunteer management challenges, getting advice about those challenges from other session participants, brainstorming solutions to common volunteer management challenges, and sharing best practices with one another.


Kirk Jordan: Photographer, Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

Casey Crocker: MulitMedia Specialist & Photographer, Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

Session: Capturing Moments That Matter: Event Photography Essentials

Documenting important moments and quality images are a vital component in effectively getting a festival or event’s story out to its existing and potential audiences. Whether you are taking pictures yourself or hiring a professional, find out what is worth capturing and using to the event’s advantage and what isn’t, thus helping audiences to see the best side of any festival or event.  Some aspects to be covered are: content, lighting, editing, placement, and timing.

Katherine Daniels: Publisher, Arkansas Times Media Brands

Katherine recently became publisher of the state media brands produced by the Arkansas Times. These include Arkansas Flavor, Arkansas Food & Farm, Arkansas Made, Arkansas Wild, Bike Arkansas, Block Street & Building, and Savvy Kids of Arkansas. She brings 25 years of business management, brand development, and government relations to the company from past experiences such as her prior position with Martin Wilbourn Partners, Talk Business & Politics, and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. As a business leader, she has had the privilege to cultivate relationships with key companies, government and industry leaders, municipalities, small business owners and non-profits.

Don Hale: Owner, Diamond Agency

Session: After Event Marketing

Don Hale is an award winning marketing executive who formed The Diamond Agency in 1996 to provide customized marketing services. Most recently Don has embarked on publishing community and travel guides in south and southwest Arkansas such as El Dorado Insider, Arkadelphia Life, DeGray Lake Adventure Guide and Magnolia Living.

Together, Katherine and Don shed light on the forgotten market that, when utilized       effectively, can have existing and potential audiences engaged and chomping at the bits for your next event. Discover fresh ideas on how to continue marketing in the days, weeks, and even months after your festival or event is concluded.

Mat Faulkner, President and Chief Idea Officer, Think Idea Studio

Session: How Arts & Culture Can Save Our Towns

Mat Faulkner quite obviously has a passion for community. In addition to running his full service marketing company, he also is a board member of the SREDC (Searcy Regional Economic Development Corporation), chair of the Searcy Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Committee, director of the Think ART Project, co-director for Searcy Beats & Eats, past president and current board member for Jacob’s Place Homeless Mission, member of Searcy’s Beautification Committee and Holiday of Lights Committee, and a 2017 member of Arkansas Business’ 40 Under 40. His belief is that every town has a story that can be expressed through arts and culture, creating a sense of pride and excitement within the community and that by growing the art and culture element, the decline in small towns and struggling neighborhoods can cease to exist. He discusses strategies for creating a process that encourages arts and culture for the purpose of creating economic growth through non traditional forms of economical development, including festivals and community events.

Stop the Bleed/Save A Life

Metropolitan Emergency Services

In this session attendees will forfeit their afternoon break in exchange for receiving certification in the Stop the Bleed, a first responder program that addresses bleeding control in the event of an accident at an event or in any situation. This training will equip civilians to be able to provide immediate, frontline aid until first responders are able to take over care of an injured person. Space for this session is limited to 25 people so please sign up at registration desk if you wish to attend.


Chew & Brew: A Food & Beverage Panel

Melissa Ward, Department of Finance & Administration

Sherri Woodus, Arkansas Department of Health

Trent Vollmer, Alcoholic Beverage Control

Don’t miss an opportunity to pick the minds of the state’s governing organizations on permits, licensing, sales tax and enforcement of some of the things  that people love most about events: food and beverage! Melissa Ward, Sherri Woodus, and Trent Vollmer  join AFEA to discuss key points from each department and make themselves available for questions at the end of the presentation.

Outdoor Recreation Festivals are on the Rise!

Tim Scott, Ozark Mountain Bike & Cross Country Festival

One of Arkansas’s greatest assets is now becoming one of its fastest growing attractions in the festival and event industry. Outdoor recreation in the form of biking, hiking, climbing, and running with the beautiful Arkansas landscape as a backdrop is an experience that people will pay and travel to do! Hear from Tim Scott on challenges and successes of adding an outdoor element to an event or creating one from the ground up.


Press Release & Media Relations Workshop

Meg Mathews, Public Information Coordinator, Arkansas State Parks

Before serving in her current role, Meg Mathews worked in broadcast media acquiring insider info on     media relations. She joins us to instruct on constructing the perfect press release while learning how to handle media relations like a pro. Meg will advise on how to get media coverage for events, build relationships with local media, and crafting media releases in this hands on session.

Trash Talk: Plans & Implementation While Minimizing Waste

Melinda Glasgow, Sustainability Officer, Little Rock Sustainability Commission

Read Admire, Urban Food Loop

Melinda and Read bring practical insight and experience to a session designed to help festival and event organizers get a grasp on how to streamline waste management plans while reducing their overall footprint.  They come equipped with available resources and  knowledge of  how to minimize waste on a large scale and invite attendees to join them to share what is already working for them and learn what others in the industry are doing.

Register now:

Prices Valid Through January 15

A huge thank you to these 2019 AFEA Conference & Trade Show early bird sponsors:

(Interested in joining these guys? Click conference sponsor packet for details.)

Hospitality Suite Sponsor:

Education Sponsors:

Break Sponsors:


Night Before Mixer & VIP Party Sponsored By:

Entertainment Showcase Sponsor:

Other Contributing Partners: