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Issue: 14 March 2016
Dear Friends,
We are very excited to launch our new website coming soon. Be on the look out for the fresh new look of . Our staff and team from Northern Michigan Digital have been hard at work perfecting this site to promote you! 

We hope you have received your MFEA member packets by now and are enjoying all of the printed publications. Look for our membership directory which will be emailed to all of you soon.

Please consider donating an item for our 2016 Signature Fundraiser the MFEA Online Auction to help raise funds for education for our members. We are very appreciative of your support and hope you will join us online at  April 14th to start bidding. You can visit the site now for a sneak peek of items.

Party On  ~ MI Friends!
Sue Bila, CFEE
Words of Wisdom

Larry Nielsen, Manager
Village of Paw Paw

How would Dorothy have gotten to the Emerald City if the Yellow Brick Road wasn't there? 

Do you have a yellow brick road? 

If not, start building one by engaging in visioning and planning.


MFEA Updates!
Marketing and  New Office Hours

340,000 Detroit Tabloids  featuring 
MFEA will be distributed statewide in The Detroit News and The Detroit Free Press statewide in April. 

360,000 MLive Media Group MFEA features will be distributed throughout Michigan in May. The newspapers include  The Ann Arbor News, The Bay City Times, The Flint Journal, The Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle and The Saginaw News.

Over  400,000 brochures  have been  distributed to state legislators, Michigan Welcome Centers, Amtrak Chicago, AAA of Michigan, Michigan Secretary of State Offices, local business and more! Look for the brochures in April at your local McDonald's. 

New MFEA office hours are Monday through Thursday 7am to 5:30pm, closed on Fridays.

Featured Festival: Marquette West Rotary  Harbor Fest
Marquette, August 25-27, 2016
Harbor Fest
August 25-27, 2016
Mattson Lower Harbor Park on the shore of mighty Lake Superior, in the City of Marquette, Michigan is gearing up for the 33rd annual HarborFest! The first Marquette West Rotary "SeafoodFest" was held back in 1983 as a fund raising event for the recently formed Marquette West Rotary Club.  The tradition has survived and improved with age, like the fine wines and craft beers served at HarborFest!  For many the festival, now called HarborFest, signals a final celebration of summer and a welcome back for students, faculty and parents of Northern Michigan University.  HarborFest 2016 will be held Friday, August 26 and Saturday, August 27, 2016 with free admission.  Due to popular demand, the added HarborFest "Waterfront Gala" will kick off festivities Thursday, August 25th.  Gala is a new addition, ticketed dinner prior to HarborFest that is celebrated under a tent with lights, linens, a surf and turf dinner, live and silent auctions with views of Lake Superior and Marquette's Harbor. 

Patrick Thomson and Jim LaJoie, co-chairs of the entertainment committee, say "Getting acts for HarborFest is a challenge.  The challenge doesn't come from a lack of talent we have in the U.P.  We have so much talent in our local area that we can't use all of the groups that would like to play at the festival.  Each year, we try to mix it up a bit, and still provide the local favorites.  We think the addition of Hot Rocks will really kill it Saturday night!"

 For the past 33 years, proceeds from HarborFest are deposited into the Marquette West Rotary Foundation.  Each year, the Foundation awards grants to local non-profit organizations.  In turn, the organizations provide volunteers to help run the festival.  Sue Minkler of the United Way of Marquette County organizes community volunteers from approximately 30 organizations that have been helped by Marquette West Rotary Foundation.  Funds have been provided to Rotary exchange students studying here and abroad, YMCA of Marquette County, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, the Women's Center and Harbor House, UP Children's Museum, Peter White Public Library, Lake Superior Youth Theatre, Liberty Children's Art Project, Bay Cliff Health Camp, Janzen House, Room at the Inn, Willow Farm Therapy Riding Program and Marquette County Fair, among others.  Over $640,000 has been distributed to charity over the years.

One of HarborFest's beloved stops is the famous beer and wine tent.  This year the group will expand the number of craft beers, hard cider and wine offerings.  Admission to HarborFest is free of charge.  Festival hours are Friday from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. and Saturday from noon 'til 11:00 p.m. 

April Workshop Dates!
MCACA logo
MFEA partners with MCACA
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) is hosting six grant workshops across the lower and upper peninsulas in April. MFEA will also be presenting as part of the grant workshop programs.  We would love to see you learn to write a successful grant proposal and proudly represent your organization and MFEA. 
Funding available for operations, projects, professional development, capital improvements, and mini-grants through your regional re-granting organization. Check out full schedule and details here.

Are your Board Meetings Orderly?
Roberts Rules
Robert's Rules of Order: Part 1
Have you ever been to a meeting that is unproductive or not orderly? Well, we have a solution - Robert's Rules of Order! I'm sure you are thinking, Robert's Rules of Order is intimidating and way too complicated for my meetings. Thanks to MFEA Board Member, Jerry Preston from Back to the Bricks in Flint, we have an easy to read example of a typical meeting when using Robert's Rules of Order.

Robert's Rules of Order will make your meetings
  • Productive
  • Concise
  • Meaningful
  • On track
  • Enjoyable
Over the next few months we will feature different aspects and rules of Robert's Rules of Order. For now, check out an example of a typical meeting before we dive into the details!

MFEA Signature Fundraiser Online Auction Update!
Donate Now or start bidding on April 14

This is a great time for you to take advantage of a huge nation-wide advertising opportunity and show your support for tourism in Michigan. Each item you add to our catalog, we'll include your logo, auction item photo, and a link to your website. Proceeds from the online auction will benefit our commitment to education through our MFEA Seminars and Annual Convention.


Please complete the donation form to contribute to the online auction. 

Completed donation forms must be returned to the MFEA office, please contact the office at 989.845.2080 for questions.


"Doors Open" April 14, 2016 at 12:01am and close May 26, 2016 11:59 PM EST. Visit to see the view a sneak peek of the items and come back April 14th to start bidding!

Event Questions...Eggcellent!
Event Gatekeepers' Guide
We hope you will enjoy the "EGG" - quoted as being "eggcellent".  Use it if you are feeling "a bit scrambled" at times in planning your event.  And please, don't let a "hard egg" interrupt your creative mind set.  Here's to serving your community and guests, the best on the menu of hospitality and fun, while providing a very positive economic impact to your community and state! 

Party @ MI Place Podcast
Sue Bila, CFEE, President/CEO of the Michigan Festivals and Events Association reviews festivals and events from all around Michigan, looks ahead to events people should know about around the state, and then highlights people in the festivals and events industry who are making a difference in the economy of the state. Below is a list of the March features, click on the link to listen to the podcast:
You can listen to the podcast 12:00 PM every Wednesday
Replay: 6:00 PM12:00 AM and 6:00 AM.

Please email Cindy if you are interested in being featured on the Party @ MI Place Podcast.

Free Promotional Opportunity
MFEA social media program
We are looking to promote and showcase each of our members using social media. Please email your information or any other ideas to

Performance of the Week
Featuring our Acts and Entertainers
Please share a video, brief description, upcoming performance dates, times and locations, contact information including booking information, website, Facebook page and anything else you would like to include.

Vendor of the Week 
Please share any images, videos or posts you would MFEA to feature about your businesses, services, specials or offerings. Include your contact information.

Festival, Fair and Events Feature
Please share any pictures, videos, articles, news releases, stories that you would like posted. 

MI Main Attractions
We welcome any fun or exciting information regarding these destinations!

Featured Vendor: 
Stunt Dog Productions
Stunt Dog Productions
Stunt Dog Productions is the largest producer of performing dogs shows worldwide. Specializing in high-energy family friendly entertainment in all 50 states. These once rescue dogs will mesmerize your audience with incredible tricks, big-air stunts, back flips, jumping rope, racing, and audience participation. It's a show for all ages and is dog-gone fun! 

Chris Perondi, owner of Stunt Dog Productions, began training dogs as a hobby in 1996. Then just three years later, he created his first show and went full time touring nationwide with his dogs in 2001. That's when he quit his IT job, sold his house, bought in 31' Winnebago RV and hit the road! 

Although Chris and the dogs live in California, they have been working out of state since 2002. Their first performance in Michigan was in Lansing in 2004.He attributes much of Stunt Dog Productions success to joining great trade organizations like the MFEA. Word of mouth is very powerful in the industry and being a part of MFEA gets people talking! Everyone loves dogs and Stunt Dog Productions has become tradition at many fairs and events over the years.

We asked Chris to provide some advice for festival and event members:
Offer consistent show times throughout the fair. Make the show times consistent and clearly marked online and on-site.  Make sure acts in the same area don't run at the same time or you will cut your audience in half. Allow time in-between shows for people to get some food and walk to the next show location. Make sure no live bands are performing in ear shot as grounds acts. Our mission is to encourage everyone to spend more time with their pets and to check the pounds and shelters first before adopting their next dog or pet. 

Who's Talking Now?
Maria Suszynski
Maria Suszynski
Maria Suszynski, Air Zoo
Maria Suszynski has been the Director of Advancement of the Air Zoo and the Executive Director of the Air Zoo Legacy Foundation since May 2014. The moment she first walked into the Air Zoo was in 1999, twenty years after the Air Zoo first opened its doors to the public, and she knew it was a unique attraction to Michigan, especially Kalamazoo. The Air Zoo is one of only six organizations in Michigan to receive their certification as a Service Enterprise, which is a testament to how much the organization values their volunteers. There is a commitment to providing the highest level of service and guest experience excellence throughout the museum - a commitment that has helped make the Air Zoo "my favorite place in the whole world" for kids and adults throughout the state.

The Air Zoo has a beautiful and amazing collection of historically relevant aircraft and artifacts that are accessible to the public 363 days a year, along with over 60 classes, camps, and programs based on S.T.E.A.M. education. "The Air Zoo's amazing collection is at the core of the museum, but the visitor experience becomes something quite magical when our guests interact with the exceptional team of employees, educators, docents and volunteers that bring the collection to life in a way that stimulates the imagination and inspires people to dream. Our founders Pete and Suzie Parish shared their dream of an Air Zoo with our Michigan community, and it is this community that keeps that dream alive and growing, moving us toward that reality of one day being the number one aviation museum in the world," explains Suszynski.

The Air Zoo is an extremely busy attraction with over 142,000 visitors and outreach participants annually.  The majority of these visitors are from Michigan and the Great Lakes region, but the Air Zoo has attracted people from over 20 countries around the world, including China, Australia, Germany, and Russia!
Along with a large number of visitor and outreach participants, the Air Zoo has over 1,600 members that receive a multitude of benefits, including a full year of free admission, discounts at the store and area businesses, and reciprocal member benefits to hundreds of museums throughout the world. You do not have to be a member of the Air Zoo to visit and enjoy the museum, attractions, special events, and educational programs!

Maria truly loves her job and believes the Air Zoo has the best team around, with 12 board members, 60 employees, and over 200 volunteers. Maria states, "People everywhere really do tell me that when they discover where I work... it's their 'favorite place in the whole world' and there is no greater compliment than that."

Become a Member
Please SHARE!
Below are the groups who can become a member of the Michigan Festivals & Events Association. Each listing will take you to a list of benefits - Why should you join? We encourage you to share with your friends and colleagues who would be the perfect fit for MFEA!

MI Main Attractions by MFEA Invitation Only

Meet Facebook's New Emojis
Saffire Blog. The Dirt
What's your take on Facebook's new Reactions? This week, the social media giant went beyond the long requested "dislike" button when adding to their current "like" button. These new Facebook Reactions show a user's "reaction" to a specific post. Users are now able to select Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry to express their opinion in response to the post. So what happened to the user requested "dislike" button?

Read more at Saffire Blog, The Dirt.

March is Youth Art Month!
Youth Arts Month
Started in 1961 through the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) and in cooperation with the National Art Education Association (NAEA), Youth Art Month exists to:
  1. Recognize art education as a viable factor in the total education curricula that develops citizens of a global society.
  2. Recognize art is a necessity for the full development of better quality of life for all.
  3. Direct attention to the value of art education for divergent and critical thinking.
  4. Expand art programs in schools and stimulate new art programs.
  5. Encourage commitment to the arts by students, community organizations, and individuals everywhere.
  6. Provide additional opportunities for individuals of all ages to participate in creative art learning.
  7. Increase community, business and governmental support for art education.
  8. Increase community understanding and interest in art and art education through involvement in art exhibits, workshops, and other creative ventures.
  9. Reflect and demonstrate the goals of the National Art Education Association that work toward the improvement of art education at all levels.
Read more about Youth Art Month here. Think about ways your organization can celebrate Youth Art Month in 2017 - maybe an event poster contest, fundraising opportunity, or youth engagement event?

Performance of the Week
March overview
The acts and entertainment below provided MFEA with a video, brief description, times and locations, contact information including booking information, website, and Facebook page, to be featured as the "Performance of the Week" on the MFEA social media sites.  Check your fellow acts and entertainment vendors featured in February, click on the link to view a video of each group! 

Email Sabrina to be included in a future Performance of the Week!

Parade and Grand Marshal Applications!
Danish Festival
Deadline: March 25, 2016
The Danish Festival is a three day event held August 18-21 in Greenville, Michigan. The Danish Festival Board of Directors is seeking nominations for a Grand Marshal or a couple to serve as Grand Marshals for the 52nd annual Danish Festival. Nominations must be submitted by 5pm on April 20. Please email for questions.

Mackinac Island is now accepting applications for the 2016 Lilac Festival Parade June 12, 2016 ! Join 60 plus other walking groups, floats, marching bands and bicycles as they make theirway down Main Street for the 68th Annual celebration. Please email  for a parade application and more information. 

New Members
Festivals and Events
Royal Oak DreamFest, Royal Oak

Main Attractions

Tourism Colleagues
Our Mission

To Support and promote festivals, fairs, events, attractions, suppliers and tourism through education, marketing and networking for the success of our members.

Ideas Shared...Visions Formed...A New Level! 

Michigan Festivals and Events Association
P.O. Box 22
Chesaning, MI 48616
(989) 845-2080