Festivals and events have become a valuable resource to communities. Over time, events have changed from informal affairs to spectacular productions, demanding extensive skills and experience. As a result, the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) and NRPA have partnered to create this two-year professional development program geared toward event management staff.


January 15–21, 2022
Wheeling, West Virginia

Important Notice: 

In conversations with our Event Management School partners (IFEA, NRPA and the Oglebay National Training Center), given what we currently know of the COVID-19 pandemic; the most optimistic, projected and realistic timelines for a vaccine and distribution; our concerns for ensuring the safety and health of our students, instructors and staffs; and our uncertainty regarding travel capabilities, both continentally and from outside of North America; we have determined that we will not be able to do the 2021 Event Management School in-person and on-site at the Oglebay National Training Center in West Virginia, this coming January.

Following up on our decision to cancel the in-person version of the 2021 Event Management School in January, we sent out a survey to all of our 2020 Year One Class Professionals, to assess interest in the possibility of creating a virtual option for the school. Based upon the responses that we received and conversations with all of our partner organizations, we have now determined — in the interest of maintaining the unique (and hard to replicate) in-person experience, one-on-one networking opportunities, the extensive and high quality training provided by our professional instructors, and the special environment of the Oglebay Resort — that we will not be providing a virtual option in 2021. Instead, we will all look forward to continuing the school (with many new program updates to reflect the new world that we will all be operating in), in-person, in January 2022 (January 15-21). Watch this page for more information in the months ahead.

While waiting is as hard for us, as all of you, when we begin again in January 2022, the school and the training provided will be even more critical to your professional success, as we all adjust to the new expectations of all stakeholders, new challenges and opportunities, new health and safety regulations, and a world that will need our events to re-bond our communities and countries, more than ever.

For those of you who may be considering the Event Management School as a new Year One Class Professional, we look forward to welcoming you to one of the most unique and valuable educational opportunities in our industry. In the interim, we encourage you to consider a membership in the IFEA and NRPA, where you can take advantage of many valuable member resources, as we all continue to learn more about the changes that lie ahead for all of us.

We look forward to hopefully seeing and celebrating with you all in-person, again, at Oglebay in January 2022. Mark your calendars now!


Schedule & Learning Objectives

The Event Management School first-year curriculum was created with the goal of providing a strong basic understanding and awareness of the multiple, critical components involved in event planning and management. The second-year curriculum builds upon that first-year knowledge-base by providing more applied workshop-styled opportunities in specific areas, together with a project-based opportunity to help bring the “real world” a little closer to the classroom.

2020 Schedule 

Year One Session Topics   Year Two Session Topics  
How to Build a Successful Event Application of Project Management to Events
Business Plans Applied Program and Event Development
Event Budgeting and Budget Management Applied Budget Development
Building a Strong Volunteer Program Applied Sponsorship Research
Sponsorship Sales and Service Applied Sponsorship Proposals and Follow-up Reports
Food and Beverage Programs What Cities Want from Events and How To Strengthen Those Partnerships
Merchandise Programs Advanced Risk Management & Contingency Planning
Event Administration and Legal Considerations Case Study: The Development of a World Class Programmable Park
Marketing and Media City Event Concept Project
Social Media Marketing  
Risk Management Open Forum Roundtable Discussions (Year 1 and Year 2)
Surveys, Evaluations and Economic Impact Studies  
Community Building through Proactive Events Management  

Learn More About Topics


Who Should Attend

Park and recreation managers and staff responsible for the successful design, development and execution of events of any size. This event also is great for key event volunteers looking to broaden their knowledge.

Participant Insight

It was informative, engaging and motivating. Every day provided an incredible opportunity to learn from the speakers and other students. I am most appreciative to have been able to meet so many leaders in the event management field and I am inspired by their enthusiasm, commitment and dedication to the profession. Oglebay was a great host site. Everyone there worked very hard to make sure we were all well taken care of and enjoying our stay. So glad that I was able to attend and I am looking forward to returning as a Year 2 student!" —Debe Shafer, Texas A&M University and 2014 Year 1 student

"As a Year 1 student, I was not sure what to expect but I felt compelled to share that the program absolutely exceeded my expectation. The caliber of the presenters was top-notch and the program topics offered direct application to my daily responsibilities as an event organizer. Thanks for developing this school. It has been the most intense event-specific training I have ever attended. I’m sincerely looking forward to Year 2." —Rachael Goodwin,Town of Leesburg, Va., and 2014 Year 1 student

Future Event Management School Dates:

  • January 15–21, 2022

Additional Information

For more information about the program content, contact customer service at customerservice@nrpa.org

For more information on registration and other details, contact Oglebay at ntc@oglebay.com


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