Monday, April 27, 2020

Newsletter April 2020

Managing Stress

If there is a time to discuss stress, it is now!  People throughout the world are scared and worried, we are all in uncharted waters.  COVID-19 has affected all our lives in some way, shape, or form. A large portion of us are working from home; balancing work, proctoring our children’s schoolwork, and keeping our homes a-float.  All of us are getting cabin-fever and are uncertain of what our summer will look like!  If you weren’t stressed before reading this, I bet you are now!  Here are some things we can do to help manage our stress.
·       Stretch:  When we stress, our muscles become tense.  Stretching will loosen these muscles up.  Even taking a hot bath/shower will help.  When businesses open back up, a great massage will help as well.
·       Go for a walk: Fresh air during a walk always helps clear your head.  Enjoy mother nature along the way.
·       Deep Breaths:  This would be great while on your walk as well.  You can also try sitting in a relaxing position, close your eyes, think of a happy place, take a slow deep breath in and out.  Doing this for five to ten minutes will help!
·       Eat Well: Though this is hard when we are on the 15-pound COVID-19 lockdown (that is what it seems like anyway). I am always finding myself munching more when working from home, however, try to eat a healthy well-balanced diet which will help give you more energy and a better mood.  Eating fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grain are best.  Don’t skip breakfast!
·       Make Time for Yourself:  Take a ten to fifteen-minute break and do something you love. Whether it be reading, drawing, knitting, playing with animals (my favorite), etc., doing something that brings a smile to your face will help immensely.
·       Vent:  We were always told as children that holding something that was bothering you in will not make it go away.  This still stands true.  It is always good to have that friend you can call up (or hopefully visit soon) and talk to. Whether it be about your kid’s distant learning challenges, your husband constantly bothering you while you are working from home, work in general, being cooped up at home all the time, or even the fact that Starbucks has the longest drive-thru lines and their lobby is CLOSED (ugh!); just let it out! We are not used to being stuck at home and we need human interaction, so pick up that phone and call someone!
·       You are Human!: Lastly, don’t beat yourself up (easier said than done, I know).  There is a lot going on in our world’s right now that we cannot control.  Things are not going to be perfect; you are not perfect!  It is okay! Take a deep breath, laugh or smile, and move on.  Things will work out.  Don’t sweat the small stuff!

COVID-19 Updates
The IAFE is always here for our fair industry.  Please go to their page for updates.  There is also a series of "Let's Talk COID 19" CyberSeminars offered.  We recommend you look into joining some of these seminars to learn what IAFE and other fairs are doing in regards to COVID-19.  These are very informative and extremely helpful.  

Steering Committee
The steering committee consists of twelve people under-40 who are passionate about the fair industry.  They will participate in conference calls, convention planning, recruiting, networking, etc. It is an absolute blast and you will not regret it.  

If you are apart of a fair in an even-numbered zone (zone 2, 4, 6, or 8), it is your year!!  We are also looking for one Associate Member. Please take a look at the following links for more information.  The deadline to apply is May 29, 2020!


  • Participate in the Igniter – IAFE Discussion Board! If you haven't already joined, now is the time to sign up for the IAFE's online member service. If you have questions or need help logging in, please contact the IAFE office at 800-516-0313. The board allows you to post questions/discussions, reply to topics, post document resources, look up contacts, and to network. This is an incredibly simple way for you to easily interact and communicate online and exchange ideas, experience, knowledge, and wisdom with your peers. Click here for instructions on how to use the board. Already signed up? Log in to participate and start a topic.
  • Post on social - Tell us what you're up to! Post using #IAFEYPI. You might just get retweeted! We're on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

November 2018 Newsletter

Meet Your New YPI Representatives 

Nicole Jones is 35 years old and joining us on behalf of Port Saint Lucie Florida, Zone 2.. She is a mother to a 13 year old daughter Rhegan and 16 year old son Joseph. She is a full time ER nurse and involved in a local soccer lead, being a member of the board. She is a junior board member for the St. Lucie County Fair. She first became involved with the fair industry in 2001 when she began dating her husband Joe. It started as hanging out while he worked, to then becoming hands on and helping. It’s only grown and never stopped from there. In 2014 Nicole and her Husband experienced their first FFF convention in St Augustine. They’ve made many connections since then as well as friends and can’t say we’d change a thing. In 2017 she accepted a role as the Florida Federation of Fairs YPI chair and led her first successful charity drive and 2nd successful YPI mix n mingle event. Nicole is honored to be selected as the Zone 2 YPI rep for the IAFE and hope to continue to excel at every task she is set forth to achieve. As well as fill the shoes left before her. Nicole and her family continue to be involved in many aspects of her local fair and will continue for years to come. The fair industry is one big family for her and she loves every moment.
Beth Pomije from the Wisconsin State Fair will be representing Zone 4.  Beth is excited to be celebrating her 13th anniversary of helping Fairgoers shop until they drop and start (and sometimes complete) their holiday gift-buying at the Wisconsin State Fair. Currently holding the title of Commercial Vendor Coordinator, she has held positions such as Customer Service Representative, Vendor Services Administrative Assistant, and Vendor Communications Coordinator. In her former professional life, Beth taught high school Health and Physical Education and coached girl’s ice hockey for five years. During that time, she realized her heart was at the Fair, and she could not be happier to be part of the industry full-time. You can also find Beth outside enjoying all Wisconsin has to offer with her husband, Taylor, and fostering her daughter Cady’s love for Fairs.  

Zone 6: Accepting applications.  Deadline is December 7th.

Alexcia Jordan from is joining us from Zone 7 where she manages the North Idaho State Fair. Alexcia has been an ag lover from the start, growing up with horses and competing in rodeos was her main passion for the majority of growing up.  She studied Equine Business and Accounting at Midway College in Kentucky continuing to pursue her love of horses. After college she found a home at the Appaloosa Horse Club as their Judges’ and Racing Program Coordinator, a job which allowed her to travel organizing World and National level horses shows and coordinate judge’s seminars across the county. After becoming a mom she looked for a position that would take her closer to her family and keep her home more with her kids,  luckily for her a position opened up at the North Idaho State Fair in February of 2015. Growing up in the fair industry between her involvement with 4-H and a mom who was a Fair Manager for 16 years it just seemed like the perfect fit. Hired in as Assistant Fair Manager she eagerly learned the ropes. Then in September 2016 she stepped into the role of Interim General Manager which in December led her into accepting the position of General Manager. Her passion shows through each day and her willingness to never stop learning extends to her team.  Under her leadership the North Idaho State Fair broke all records for 2018 and she is already looking at improvements for an even bigger and better 2019!

Our Zone 8 Representative is Chris Garmon from the Kern County Fair in Bakersfield, California, where he serves as Deputy Manager. He supervises the Finance Dept., Maintenance Dept., and the Livestock Dept. since 2016. Chris is originally from Santa Paula, CA where he worked at the Ventura County Fair for 14 years as the Exhibit Representative and Livestock Superintendent.  Chris is active in the California Farm Bureau where he is the YF&R District Representative for Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties. He also serves on the Kern County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.  Chris grew up on the family ranch where they grew cereal grains while in 4-H and FFA. Having raised heifers and steers, he earned his American Farmer Degree in 2003. He then attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he majored in Agriculture Science with a concentration in Fair Management. While in college, he was able to attend the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada. He has also been to the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh, Scotland.  

The Associate Representative is Dennis Friebe from Kardeni Entertainment in Orlando, Florida. His magic act, known as Kardenni (Car-Denny) has performed in Spain, Portugal, England, the Bahamas, Canada and all across the US. You may have also seen him at your state or county fair as well as the grand stage of Disney World. As an actor Dennis has been on such shows and films as Swamp Murders (ID Channel), MacGyver (CBS), Savannah Sunrise (Netflix), and independent film sensation A Brilliant Monster. Dennis is self-motivated, a team player and hardworking.

Current Zone 4 Representative, Emily Grunewald from the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo, North Dakota, has been selected to move to the Vice Chair position.  Emily is the Big Iron Exhibit Coordinator and Livestock/Ag Education Coordinator for her fair. She is looking forward to further promoting our young professionals and highlighting their amazing skills and talents.  "As a group, our Young Professionals Initiative can make a huge impact on this one-of-a-kind industry. Whether they are doing community service, inventing new technologies, or embracing traditions our next generation is full of talented, hard-working individuals!"
2018 IAFE Convention YPI Events
For all convention information, please visit the new website -
Raisin' for a Reason - Sunday, November 25, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Location: LDR Room - Convention Center
Enjoy a social evening full of wine, spirits and food while supporting a great cause. Auction proceeds benefit the IAFE Education Foundation which supports the Institute of Fair Management.  The Young Professionals group will be a part of the action with a fundraising activities. Additional fee required. Inquire at the IAFE Registration Desk or at the door of the event.

YPI Sponsored Workshop - Monday, November 26, 2018 from 10:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Millennials, Boomers, Traditionalist, Oh My!
Location: Room 221 B&C
This panel workshop is going to be one session you don't want to miss. One unique aspect of the Fair Industry is the broad age range that we work with. From our Jr. Fair Boards and 4-H, to the influx of traditionalist that we see on Senior's Day, this session will serve as a crash course in the "need to know" traits of Millennials, Boomers, & Traditionalists, Oh My!

YPI Meeting & Happy Hour - Monday, November 26, 2018 from 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Location: Room 220   
Come mingle with old friends, meet new friends, and relax for this free social hour. Join the YPI for an afternoon of networking and fun for your chance to learn about their involvement within the industry. Several YPI Steering Committee Members will be on hand and can tell you more about who we are, what we do and why you should be involved.
Sponsored by Haas and Wilkerson Insurance.
Ment-A-Minute - Tuesday, November 27, 2018 from 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at Room 225 B&C
Facilitated by the YPI Steering Committee, all convention attendees under the age of 40 (and invited mentors) are welcome. Interact with established industry professionals and have a chance to gain insight from them. This fast paced meet and greet is designed to introduce our up and coming professionals with our season veterans.  It is speed dating without fear of commitment, as you jump from table to table to find an industry mentor who is happy to help you on your way to success.
Sponsored by The Best Around
IAFE Closing Party & Awards Reception - Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Lilsa Cockrell Theatre
Our committee is proud to be a part of this celebratory event as we honor our membership for their hard work and dedication.  Come cheer on your friends, celebrate your own accomplishments, or even steal some awesome ideas for your next fair. Reward yourself with complimentary beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres.
Sponsored by Spectra by Comcast Spectacor

  • REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN for the 2018 IAFE Convention, November 25 - 28 in San Antonio, Texas.  First Impressions will happen and you won't want to miss it!
  • VOLUNTEER for an IAFE Committee and the opportunity to learn more about the industry, make new connections, and best of all, HAVE FUN!  Check out the IAFE website for more details and an application.  
  • Get SOCIAL! Tell us what you're up to!  Post using #IAFEYPI. You might just get retweeted!  We're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
  • What's ON YOUR MIND? Talk to us!  To tell us what you want to see featured in the YPI Newsletter, click here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

April 2018 Newsletter

The YPI Journey!

A message from our Outgoing Chair, Miranda Muir

When I submitted my application to serve as the Zone 2 YPI Representative in 2014 I honestly thought I did not have a chance at being selected. I was new to the state of Florida, with only my 1st Osceola County Fair under my belt, and had officially met only a few of our active IAFE Members, Staffers, and Supporters. Although I had attended the convention several times, it was more as a tag-a-long to my good friend Elizabeth McDevitt. However, having recently learned a great life lesson, if you do not let people know you are interested they will never know your desire to join the action, I applied. 

Now 4 years later I am the Outgoing Chair of this committee, serving an absolutely amazing group of young professionals. It has been a tremendous honor and I have gone from being scared to death to walk into the first on-site meeting to being sad that I soon have to say goodbye. It has truly been an experience like no other and I have had the opportunity to meet so many of our industry leaders, both newer and more experienced. I am forever grateful.

I am often asked, "how do I get involved with YPI?" The answer is simple, sign up for our email blasts so you know what's happening and then, just show up! Take that brave first step into the room, reach out your hand, and introduce yourself. Soon, like me, you will have true friends across the country and beyond. 

Those of us who have grown up in this industry or perhaps have just found a true passion and calling for it, usually have a few Fair Heroes. Recently I shared a story of my opportunity to meet one of those heroes and how completely amazed I was when he said, "I know who you are." My OMG! Moment. Since that time I have had the opportunity to get to know this person so much better and this week while attending IAFE Management Conference he shared how very proud he was of my work and what I have accomplished. His praise was overwhelming, but as awesome as it made me feel, I still found myself more thankful for having had the chance to shake his hand, soak up his knowledge, and having his number stored in my phone. No matter what Fair life throws at me, help, understanding, and guidance is just a phone call away. I truly believe that, and I know, without a doubt, it would not be the case, had I not sent that original application. 

If you are a young professional in the industry, in my opinion the best industry there is, and you truly want to learn and grow, seek out your fellow YPI'ers, attend the functions sponsored by the group, and know and understand all your hard work, dedication, and interest is being recognized, even though you might not realize it. The IAFE Family and the YPI Steering Committee are truly here to support you, cheer you on, and also be a crutch when needed. You will not be sorry.

Lastly, I must say a big THANK YOU to my committee members past, present, and future. I have learned so much from all of you. I have been completely impressed with your professionalism and talent and challenged to step up my game to keep up with you all. Thank you for making my year as your leader unforgettable. 

I hope to see you all in San Antonio for "First Impressions!"

Miranda Muir, CFE
Kissimmee Valley Livestock Show & Fair 
Kissimmee , Florida 

Looking to Get Involved?

The YPI Steering Committee is seeking new members from Zones 2, 4, 6, 8 and an associate steering committee member.  If you are under 40 years old and from an IAFE member fair in one of these Zones, we encourage you to apply to serve on the YPI Steering Committee.  All applications must be submitted by May 31, 2018.

  • For more information about being a YPI Steering Committee member, click here.
  • To download an application,  click here.

2018 Convention - Scholarship Awards

Each year the IAFE zones select young professionals from their geographic areas to attend the annual IAFE Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The YPI Zone Scholarship program began in 2010 and has expanded with a total of 21 scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000. This is made available to young adult’s ages 21 to 39 from IAFE member fairs. Here is a shout out to the 2017 recipients:

ZONE 1: 
  • Chantel Ford - New Brunswick Provincial Exhibition


  • Nicole Jones - Saint Lucie County Fair
  • Michelle Estrada - Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair


  • Jane Moore - Elkhart County 4-H Fair
  • Michael Smith - Ionia Free Fair
  • Spencer Morris - Indiana State Fair
  • Michael Strathmore - Canadian National Exhibition Association


  • Ashley Fitzgerald - Boone County Fair


  • Abbington Suchomski - Tennessee Valley Fair


  • Elise Burton - North Idaho State Fair
  • Ryan Modica - Adams County Fair


  • Ciera Keith - Douglas County Fair
  • Elisa Seppa - Marin County Fair

If you see any of these recipients at your events this year, congratulate them! These are just a few folks who are the future of our industry and their hard work and dedication will pay off.

Are you interested in receiving a scholarship this year? Announcements and other scholarship information will come in the upcoming months - stay tuned! 

New Adventures

New adventures are always fun, especially in our industry.  Scott Stoller has been a huge supporter of the fair industry and the IAFE YPI.  Mr. Stoller is currently the Fair Manager at the Silver Dollar Fair in California, however, his family is in for a large "new" adventure.  Mr. Stoller has recently been hired as the new General Manager at the Colorado State Fair. Safe travels to the Stoller Family and have fun on your new adventure!   

YPI Spotlight

Chris Pickering 
Western Fairs Association
Sacramento, CA 

  • How long have you been in the fair industry? I've worked many summers at various fairs, however, 2011 is the first year as a career.
  • What advice do you have for anyone new to the industry? This industry is all about people. Get to know everyone; we're a fun bunch! Also, stand in the shade and on the grass as much as possible during fair time. Your un-sunburnt skin and somehow-still-sore feet will thank you.
  • What’s your favorite fair food? Big Bubba's Bad BBQ - Chicken Kabob 
  • What’s your favorite fair (other than your own) that you've visited? I visited the Big Fresno Fair for the first time in 2016 and was blown away.
  • What does the YPI network mean to you? YPI provides a structured opportunity for me to not only network with my peers, but also to access a wealth of knowledge and experience from industry greats.
  • What is the best fair advice you've ever been given? My Dad would tell me and some of his business partners: "We've made a lot of money together." That's really helped me re-frame my view of fairs as a business where fair managers support the vendors, carnival, and concessionaires to be successful together.
  • Position: Communication Director
  • What’s your favorite fair memory? As a 'Youth Ambassador' at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, I interviewed Carrot Top for our radio station. I had watched him perform there for years, so I was ecstatic. He proved even funnier backstage.
  • What is one item you can't live without during the Fair? Sunglasses
  • How did you get involved in the Fair industry? I grew up running around fairs, so my return to the industry for a career was inevitable.
  • Have any other great tips or words of wisdom you'd like to share? It could be anything - work/life balance, organization skills, etc. Please share it here! During my first fair in a management position, I collapsed midday. I hadn't eaten, and I hadn't taken a break...I was just too busy relieving my staff for their breaks and 'putting out fires.' That's when my Dad told me: "You can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself." As exemplified later in my military career, I still let my soldiers eat first...but I also carried snacks.

Mentor Spotlight

Steven Muir
Osceola County Fair
Kissimmee, Florida

  • How long have you been in the fair industry? Since June 2009. My wife convinced me I needed to build a pirate ship for the kids area and I've never stopped. 
  • What’s the best / hardest lesson you have learned in the industry? Figuring out who you can depend on at 3am the morning of opening day. Working with a large number of volunteers you have to quickly learn who is hard-working and dependable and who just shows up for the party. It's difficult to accept, but a lesson worth learning.
  • What’s your favorite fair food? Funnel cakes, corn dogs, and mini donuts. All the Fair staples.
  • What do you feel is the biggest change / challenge you have faced? My wife being my boss. She's passionate about what she does and likes things to be perfect. Not sleeping the week before opening day is pretty much the normal routine. It's always a challenge to live with a Fair Manager.
  • What question would you ask a mentor? What has and has not changed? It's all about balancing the past and traditions while moving towards the future at the same time. The more I can learn about our past, the more helpful I can be in the future. 
  • If you could give one piece of advice what would that be? Remember why we do what we do... for the kids and community. They days get long and nights even longer. You will be tired, cranky, and ready to quit, but it is all worth it when you can give a child a fun day they will never forget.
  • What’s the one thing during the fair you can’t live without? Pepsi and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
  • What’s your advice on handling failure? Nothing is a complete failure because you can learn from it and make it better or completely change it.  
  • What’s your favorite quote? "It's Ricky's Fault!" It's an inside joke, but always makes everyone laugh and lightens the mood.
  • Who is your role model / mentor? Although he was not involved in the Fair Industry, my Grandfather was a strong community advocate. He was involved in many different service oriented organizations, always put others first, and was extremely well respected by everyone. You could not go anywhere without him running into someone he knew. He was a wonderful person and taught me quite a bit about life and who I should strive to be.


  • Participate in the Igniter – IAFE Discussion Board! If you haven't already joined, now is the time to sign up for the IAFE's online member service. If you have questions or need help logging in, please contact the IAFE office at 800-516-0313. The board allows you to post questions/discussions, reply to topics, post document resources, look up contacts, and to network. This is an incredibly simple way for you to easily interact and communicate online and exchange ideas, experience, knowledge, and wisdom with your peers. Click here for instructions on how to use the board. Already signed up? Log in to participate and start a topic.
  • Post on social - Tell us what you're up to! Post using #IAFEYPI. You might just get retweeted! We're on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November Newsletter

5 "musts" when attending the IAFE Convention

So, you’re heading to the IAFE Convention later this month? You know we’re going to tell you that you must, must, MUST attend the YPI events (scroll down, you’ll read all about it), and that you absolutely can’t miss the Closing Party as we say goodbye to Las Vegas. Beyond that, though, there are a few things that you can do RIGHT NOW to get prepared for what’s to come.
  1. Pack your business cards. I admit, I’ve failed to bring enough business cards. I’ve also let it slip my mind to ask a colleague from another fair for their card. Both of those were big mistakes. They don’t call it IAFE: The Network for no reason. You’re meeting with your peers who face the same challenges as you every day. We can lean on each other for expertise and insights, and you can’t do that unless you know how to find someone. So, for crying out loud, put your business cards in a "to pack" pile right now.
  2. Set goals for what you want to learn. Are you thinking about adding a new element to your fair? Love the way another fair does something? Make it a point to meet with representatives from fairs who you think “do it right” to get your idea off the ground.
  3. Plan ahead. Whether you are the only person going from your fair or an entire team is coming from your neck of the woods, you’ve got to plan. There are tons of amazing workshops, keynotes, roundtables, and by far the coolest Trade Show I’ve ever seen. Sometimes, you’ll wish you could be in two places at once – but you can’t. So, visit, check out the schedule, and map out your day. Divide and conquer with your colleagues, if possible. Can't make it to everything? Check the IAFE website later - notes and handouts are often added after the Convention. 
  4. Get involved. The IAFE has a number of committees for different areas within the industry (competitive events, agriculture, budget & finance, entertainment, advertising, sponsorship, etc.), and even has a special time carved out for these committees to meet during the Convention – Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 1:15 – 2:15 pm. Pick one that best reflects your role at your fair and go to the meeting. You’ll meet your counterparts from all over, and you won’t regret it.
  5. Join the IAFE Igniter message board. If you aren’t already on it, go right now, and sign up on the IAFE Igniter message board. Not only is it a great all-in-one-place to have discussions with other industry leaders about any topic (trending right now: text message alert systems, saying “no” to events, driving fairgoers to commercial booth areas), but it is also like its own little fair industry LinkedIn. You can upload your photo and build connections with colleagues right there within the system. 
BONUS: download the Convention App! You can download it for either iOS or Android, and it has the schedule, speaker info, photo gallery, and so much more. You can even see the social feed from the hashtag #IAFE2017 right there in the app - so tweet away, you might see yourself in the feed! 

Mark your calendar: Convention events for young professionals
Hang out with us at the Convention!
Carve out a little time from your busy Convention schedule to engage with other young professionals in the industry at some of our YPI Steering Committee hosted events:

Workshop: Meet the Millennials Game Show

Monday, Nov. 27, 10:15 – 11 am
Bally’s Bronze 1 & 2
Millennials, those of us born between 1981 and 1997, not only are the nation’s largest generation, but we also make up most of the YPI group aged 40 and under. Join us at a "game show" where millennial contestants will answer our host’s questions and the audience's about everything from how they hear the day’s news to what they think the fair industry future will look like. Fairs in attendance will be intrigued, surprised, and will walk away with knowledge that will help to learn how to hold an event for millennials, how to market to millennials, and how to work with millennials.

Monday, Nov. 27, 3 – 4:45 pm
Meeting and Happy Hour
Paris Versailles 3 & 4
Mix and mingle (🍷psst…drinks are on the house 🍻) at our annual YPI networking meeting and happy hour. We’ll split into groups by zone for a chance to meet fellow young pros close to home, and by profession to “pick the brains” of fair colleagues in your area of expertise.

Monday, Nov. 27
Nightly Social, 9:30 pm (ish)
Meet at Le Centre, the “Circle Bar” in the Paris Lobby - Come when you can, leave when you’re ready. We’ll be informally gathering for conversation (and cocktails, if you choose).

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 3 – 4:30 pm
Paris Versailles 3 & 4
This popular annual speed networking event has to be the fastest way to meet industry pros from across the country, hands down.

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 7:30 – 9:30 pm*
TopGolf (behind MGM)
Trek over to TopGolf for a fun event sponsored by YPI, but open to everyone. Take a swing at the microchipped golf balls to see your accuracy and distance at a one-of-a-kind networking event. Last year’s TopGolf outing was a blast, and this year’s will only get better! Don't want to golf? Come join us for FREE to hang out and socialize.
*Cost is $35 per person. Advance registration is required. Attendees will meet at 7 pm by the Paris Hotel check-in area, then walk as a group to TopGolf at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.

Wednesday, Nov. 29
Nightly Social, 9:30 pm (ish)
Meet at Le Centre, the “Circle Bar” in the Paris Lobby - It’s your last chance to gather with fellow industry young pros before you head home. Swing by at your leisure to chat and hang at the “circle bar” at Paris.

YPI VIP Spotlight
Nicola Martinez
Exhibits Supervisor

San Diego County Fair
San Diego, Ohio
  • How long have you been in the fair industry? - Almost 7 years - it's flown by!         
  • What advice do you have for anyone new to the industry? - Stay calm and positive. I've never regretted the situations [when] I took a step back and didn't let a stressful situation get the best of me. Keeping a positive attitude during the Fair goes a long way and saying "thank you" is an easy way to help others feel positive as well!
  • What’s your favorite fair food? - Can I opt for a beverage? We produce a beer, wine and spirits festival during our Fair so I look forward to trying some award-winning beverages (after work of course).
  • What is your favorite fair (other than your own) that you've visited? - I love the OC Fair- they have an amazing concert venue and neighborhood charm to their Fair. I try to visit every year!
  • What does the YPI network mean to you? - YPI is not only a great resource for information but a welcoming community for those new to the Fair Industry. I have YPI to thank for many of the wonderful fair friendships I have today and am thankful for such a great network!
  • What is the best fair advice you've ever been given? - "Nobody else will know it's missing" - in my younger years I was a bit of a perfectionist so when an exhibit didn't turn out just the way I envisioned and/or something fell through I would sweat the small stuff. In the end, those projects turned out great and I've learned (and continue to learn) to focus on the positive.
  • What’s your favorite fair memory? - I don't have a specific moment but the memories I cherish most are seeing the faces on our fair kids when they are taking a field trip to the Fair for the first time, highlighting a local hero on the 4th of July and walking through the Fair late at night and taking it all in.
  • What is one item you can't live without during the Fair? - Definitely my cell phone.
  • How did you get involved in the Fair industry? - After a few internships in the events industry, I applied for a marketing internship at the San Diego County Fair my senior year of college. It was a hands-on internship unlike any of my previous internships and I loved the experience and fair community.

Mentor Spotlight

Lonna Brushers
Business Manager
Western Idaho Fair
Boise, ID
  • How long have you been in the fair industry? - 7 years
  • What’s the best / hardest lesson you have learned in the industry? - The hardest lesson I have learn is even though you try, you can't make everyone happy all of the time.
  • What’s your favorite fair food? - Indian Fry Bread Tacos or Finger's a toss up!
  • What do you feel is the biggest change / challenge you have faced? - The biggest challenge I face is handing over responsibilities to others, even though I know they are capable of performing the duties. I have a hard time with people doing things differently then I would do them myself. But I am working on that each day.
  • If you could give one piece of advice what would that be? - Don't give up! Some days are much more challenging then others. When I am having a rough day during fair, wander the grounds and look at the joy on all of the kids faces as they learn new things, are going on a ride for the first time, or are covered in cotton candy. These little walk reminds me why I love what I do, it's about keeping the industry alive and planting that seed in future generations.
  • What’s the one thing during the fair you can’t live without? - Simply put....CAFFEINE 
  • What’s your advice on handling failure? - You can't win them all, but you can learn where improvement is needed. Sometimes it takes going back to the drawing board and recreating the way you do something for it to be successful. Just because something may not have worked the first time, doesn't mean it won't work if you try again with adjustments.
  • What’s your favorite quote? - "Don't downgrade your dreams to match your reality. Upgrade your faith to match your destiny." - DeVon Franklin
  • Who is your role model / mentor? - Since 1998 when her first book was released in the U.S., I have admired and looked up to J.K. Rowling. Her story on perseverance is a powerful one. Her story reminds me not to give up on myself and to keep trying for the things I want in life, no matter how hard the struggle may currently be.
    Professionally, my mentor is Bob Batista. It is truly an honor and a privilege to work with and learn from him each day. He challenges me to try new things and to push myself one step further. He has helped me realize my enthusiasm for this industry and empowers me as I learn exactly what that means for my future.


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