CAFE Annual Convention 2022

Updated: Aug 10

CAFE Annual convention is right around the corner and we are excited to welcome the 2022 annual convention in Ottawa, Ontario this fall. Save the date for November 16-18, 2022! Gather with your peers to celebrate the past year and learn new things! Early bird registration is available until September 9, 2022.

Here are just a few highlights of the convention:


Join us on Wednesday, November 16th as we board the bus to tour some of what OTTAWA does best - “History”- new and old for the day. First, you will be off to tour the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum in the morning. “The Diefenbunker is a massive four-story underground bunker, built between 1959 and 1961. During the Cold War, top officials were to take shelter here in the event of a nuclear war. It was active as Canadian Forces Station Carp until 1994.

Today, it operates as a not-for-profit, charitable museum with award-winning tours and programs.” Next, you will stop at the local fairgrounds to enjoy a catered lunch with fellow fair friends. Then off to the Dairy Distillery, Almonte, where you will see their operation upfront and of course sample some of their great spirits. “At Dairy Distillery, innovation is at the heart of what we do. So is a deep desire to champion our community and the environment. We’ve married artisanal distilling techniques with cutting-edge science to transform unused milk sugar into an incredibly smooth and clean spirit. In doing so we create new opportunities for dairy farmers while reducing waste. We craft great spirits that do good.” Final details and schedule coming soon, save the date and join us for a fun day in the Ottawa Valley.

Fair Day on the Hill

CAFE is excited to host our second “Fair Day on the Hill” for our Wednesday night reception. Join your peers and politicians for an evening to celebrate everything great about our industry, while enjoying fair food, some games and camaraderie. This is also an excellent opportunity to invite your members of Parliament and have a conversation with them about the importance of our sector and how he/she/they can better support us. Essential messaging will be available, and presentations will be made highlighting this as well!

Closing Keynote: Chris Cummins

The world needs Chris’ energy and messaging now more than ever! Chris is a professional speaker and 6-time TEDx presenter who combines personal stories of adversity and human perseverance through intelligent humour, character voices, beat-boxing, and high-level business strategy, all in the same presentation. Join us this fall at the closing keynote as he “sets the room on fire!”

Other great sessions to keep an eye on

● Creative ways to keep the family focused on programming

In this session, you will learn about both new and tried and tested methods to engage the family audience through fun and creative programming. Aggregating ideas from international thought leaders on how to create a family experience and what factors you should consider, you'll walk away from this session with a fresh perspective and new ideas on family programming.

● 60 tips in 60 minutes

This is a fast-paced workshop with quick tips in every area of fair operations which can be implemented at any size fair. Operation areas covered include Carnival, Food & Concessions, Agriculture, Competitive Exhibits (Homecraft), Sponsorship, Promotions & Marketing, and General Operations. With speakers: Marla Calico, International Association of Fairs and Expositions.

● Success story: Ladies and men’s night

Judy McFaul (Russell Agricultural Society), Annie Craig and Shannon Gillan (Carp Agricultural Society) As you look to bring new programs to your organization, find out how both Carp and Russell Agricultural Societies have been successful in starting and growing their Ladies and Men's Nights.

● Know your audience: the passion points and trends you need to know today

Ever wonder what insights to leverage when pitching to potential sponsors? How to demonstrate the benefits of an association with your property and the best ways your partners can intercept your fanbase? What the emotional and experience connection pillars of your event are? Join our presentation as we discuss these questions and other various trends among Canadians attending fairs and exhibitions through a consumer data lens. With speakers: Neal Covant, SponsorPulse.

● Panel: Special Events and Payoff

Brent Palsson (Carp Agricultural Society), Mike Vokey (Fredericton Exhibition) Moderate by: Wade Jensen, Saskatchewan Association of Agricultural Societies In this panel, listen to and participate in a discussion about bringing in special events: the pros, cons, and other things to consider when looking at derbies, lumberjack shows, fireworks, Ribfests and everything in between.

● Engaging youth volunteers

Cassie Sharp, 4-H Canada This session will explore youth engagement from a non-formal education programming perspective. This will include topics around barriers and strategies for increasing overall engagement. It will explore a unique perspective from a lens of Positive Youth Development (PYD) – recognizing youth as assets and important partners in the community.

● Success story: Ancaster's new building

“If you build it…” What we’ve learned about entering, enduring, and coming out ahead of a Capital expansion.

● The evolution of experiential marketing

A sampling at Fairs and Festivals has been a mainstay of the industry for decades. With tighter budgets and more competition in the marketplace, brands and their agencies are demanding increased results from events and looking to stand out in the crowd. In this session we will explore: What is the difference between the “food sampling” programs commonly seen in the Fair and Festival environment and how is Experiential Marketing (XM) different; How to discover, understand and deliver on an increased need for results by the properties and how to use XM to increase your programming at your event to drive gate. With speaker: Melissa Moskal, Pacific National Exhibition.

● Becoming a High Performing Organization

You’ll learn what a High-Performance Membership Organization is, and why it matters. You’ll learn the 8 elements of the HPO and how to reach the high-performance level in each area. High performance is accessible to all organizations; large and small. You’ll walk away with ideas and tips that you can implement immediately. With speaker: Erin Roberts, Zzeem.

● Passing the reins

Is your fair prepared for the planned – or worse, sudden, and unexpected loss of a key leader such as Board President or Fair Manager? What is your plan for finding and recruiting new board members and volunteers? We’ll discuss strategies and tips for preparing your fair’s succession planning. with speaker: Marla Calico.

● What can online ticketing do for you?

Regardless of the size of your organization, you can benefit from online ticket sales. In this interview-style session, learn about the value of integrating online ticketing into your programming. Online ticketing is more than just a new way to sell tickets, it helps you gather important data, generate pre-sale revenue, and can streamline and improve the customer experience. This session will; Highlight the benefits of online ticketing systems, share ways to analyze the best ticketing platform for you, including factors such as fees vs. revenue, platform integration, etc., and answer burning questions specific to small organizations. With speaker: Michelle Pattison, Pacific National Exhibition.