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A vacant building near Washington Park is to be converted into an events venue. It would be the latest in a series of nearby developments. – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A vacant building near Washington Park is to be converted into an events venue. It would be the latest in a series of nearby developments.  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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ETHOS Event Collective’s Unique Approach Delivers Return on Investment for Companies and Communities

ETHOS Event Collective's Unique Approach Delivers Return on Investment for Companies and Communities

ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A multi-billion dollar industry, meetings and events represent important revenue and jobs for communities throughout Florida. This impact was demonstrated when COVID shut down in-person activities resulting in widespread job loss and business closures. Amid this industry devastation, ETHOS Event Collective, a new destination and event management company, is taking its unique, results-oriented approach to the events industry. Through purposeful planning and precise execution, ETHOS creates engaging, memorable experiences that result in meaningful, lasting results for companies and local communities.

“The pandemic clearly showed how meetings and events generate important jobs and revenue that support the well-being of the communities where we work,” said Meryl Hill, VP, Creative + Design, ETHOS Event Collective. “It was this realization that started ETHOS and our purpose to create a sustainable way to ensure we supported the people and places that help us create experiences for our clients.”

Delivering on this purpose began by reinventing their creative process. “Planners select destinations because of their unique experiences and offerings,” said Julie Addelman, Director of Experience + Design, ETHOS Event Collective. “We developed a methodology that would build on destination experiences to create a deeper connection with the community – one that would be remembered long after the meeting or event ended.”

Inspired by the creative process used by marketing and advertising firms, ETHOS has invested in training their Experience and Design team to go beyond meeting and event objectives to align with broader company goals, mission, values, and brand to make a meaningful connection between the attendees to the destination. Recently the Orlando team helped an automotive company plan a dealer incentive that was equal parts giving and receiving. A Concours D’Elegance style gala combined the attendees’ love of classic cars with the company’s desire to support their annual giving by incorporating a silent auction to support Feeding America.

According to Hill, “Building connections is the easiest and fastest way to create a return on event investment. When content and programming are purposeful, it creates bonds with brands, locations and information. Learning opportunities can be created that feel native to your corporate culture and appropriate for your venue. Incorporate ways to create interactive memories, with follow-up that reinforces main ideas and connects the experience to the content. Offer hands-on experiences with exclusive options they couldn’t do on their own. This creates connections with people and companies, grows brand loyalty, improves employee retention and builds solid foundations.”

She adds, “A bonus by-product is that you’ll be equipping communities and destinations with the power to grow. When we partner with an organization like Feeding America, we are creating connections that help people thrive.” 

ETHOS believes this type of purposeful planning produces more meaningful connections, experiences and results that have a greater impact on things like employee retention, sales, and brand loyalty. The ETHOS creative methodology also incorporates Simon Sinek’s seminal concept of “Start with Why”. Hill attributes this idea to having a big influence on the team’s creative process. She concludes, “Getting a deeper understanding of WHY companies want to create these meetings and events enables us to create a truly unique experience that has a long-lasting impact.”

To learn more about their creative methodology and how it has already begun to make an impact in local communities, contact ETHOS VP, Creative + Design, Meryl Hill at or Director of Experience + Design, Julie Addelman at

About ETHOS Event Collective

ETHOS Event Collective is a Destination and Event Management Company that helps meeting and event planners stay ahead of increasing demands while supporting the people and places that make the experiences we create possible. We call it Purposeful Planning and it’s how we ensure results for both company and community long after a meeting or event has ended. To learn more visit

Media Contact:

Lexi Matias
Marketing Manager

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Bride in limbo after Val Vista Lakes HOA votes to cancel events

Bride in limbo after Val Vista Lakes HOA votes to cancel events

GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – A bride-to-be is scrambling to re-plan her wedding after she was notified her venue is no longer hosting events starting at the beginning of next year.

“Yesterday, I got a phone call from the general manager of Val Vista Lakes telling me they were canceling all events after January 1st, 2023, and they said it was because of legal reasons,” said Amy Greco. “It’s not actually the HOA company. It’s actually the HOA board members that are voting against having the events there. The only thing that I could think of is that they want to host events there themselves and maybe because Val Vista Lakes is such a popular venue, they’re not able to do so. Which is fine, but I feel they should honor my contract.”

Greco said she wanted the venue so badly that she booked her reservation in August 2021 for her wedding in March 2023.

“Since I moved here in 2006, I wanted to get married there mainly because of the lake and the views there. Because of the docks, it reminded me of my hometown in Long Island,” Greco said. “It was a must for me. That was the first thing that I booked, and then I kind of built the wedding around that.”

Val Vista Lakes said in an email to Greco that she would be returned her $1,000 deposit. However, Greco said she doesn’t know what will happen to her vendors.

“It’s kind of like build your own wedding. So it’s up to me to pick all of my vendors and book them and put it all together,” Greco explained. “I have everything booked. I have my caterers booked, I have the bartender, invitations are sent out, there’s a hotel room block already booked, RSVPs are already coming in. If I were to have to go somewhere else, I don’t know that I can bring my vendors with me, I don’t know if they can refund me the deposits. I don’t know what’s within my budget anymore. It’s all kind of ruined.”

Greco said she wanted Val Vista Lakes as her wedding venue before meeting her future husband. She’s hoping there’s still a way to make it happen.

“The general manager from Val Vista Lakes, or the HOA company, had called me and said that there is a loophole and if I find any resident in Val Vista Lakes that will sponsor me for my event, I’m still able to have it,” Greco said. “But I don’t know anyone that lives in Val Vista Lakes because I’m all the way here in Phoenix.”

Arizona’s Family reached out to the vice president of Val Vista Lakes, but we have not gotten a response.

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Council gives green light for another special events venue in Guelph/Eramosa

Council gives green light for another special events venue in Guelph/Eramosa

GUELPH/ERAMOSA – Another farm in Guelph/Eramosa has been given the green light from council to operate as a seasonal special events venue.

On June 6, council approved a zoning bylaw amendment for CJ Equestrian Centre and CJ Country Events, located at 5725 6th Line, which would allow the venue as a secondary business to the main agricultural use.

The site is currently operating as an equestrian farm and seasonal camp.

Permitting existing structures to also be utilized as an events venue would accommodate events such as weddings, receptions and workshops, the report to council noted.

The approved request will allow CJ Equestrian to host events of up to 180 people from March 1 to Dec. 31, despite recommendations from county and township planners to cap attendance at 140 and limit the season to April to November.

The applicants also requested an increase to the maximum gross area of all associated buildings and structures from 327 square metres to 650 square metres.

MHBC planner Pierre Chauvin, on behalf of the applicant, referred to the amendments as “red line revisions,” asking council to approve the changes as they reflect the centre’s vision for its operations.

“Not every on-farm diversified use is the same,” Chauvin said.

“They all have different nuances, different ways of operating and certainly, CJ Equestrian is one of them.”

Applicant Lyssa Caine added the centre hosts its events around its own farming activities and being able to spread events throughout the year would give them more flexibility.

“We are the farmers and we do want to protect our farming operations for generations to come,” she told council.

“As such we are requesting these items above out of not only the experience and the knowledge, but also to help our future generations with balancing out farming and on-farm diversified uses.”

Mayor Chris White said the numbers were a good compromise from what was initially brought forward,

He described the township as having a “pro-business council,” noting it’s good for the community.

“What we do here, [sets precedent] and everybody’s got to be on a level playing field,” White said.

“The intention here is to make sure that it’s secondary, protects the neighbours, doesn’t set bad precedence.”

White added, “That said, there seems to be a reasonable compromise here that some of the original numbers you may have wanted, we kind of sought out a middle ground here.”

Council received the planning report and approved the zoning amendment, making CJ Equestrian the second business now permitted to operate as a seasonal on-site venue in the township.

Last June, council  approved a site plan approved Thatcher Farms as a special events venue.

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Capped venue capacity makes hosting events unviable, says SA conference industry | Fin24

The events industry in Africa is expected to only recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
The events industry in Africa is expected to only recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

The events industry in Africa is expected to only recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

  • The current cap of 50% on venue capacity is making it hard to host economically viable events in SA, according to the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry.
  • It means the cost remains the same as it would for a full capacity event, but the organiser may only use half of the venue space.
  • The events industry has, therefore, called on government to use the 50% venue cap only as a guideline and allow local governments to have oversight on the hosting of large events. 

The ongoing 50% cap on venue capacity is making South African events and exhibitions economically unviable, says Glenton de Kock, CEO of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI). 

While it allows for business events and exhibitions such as Meeting Africa, Propack, WTM Africa, the Mama Magic Baby Expo, and most recently the Mining Indaba to take place, venues and attendees are capped due to the restrictions.

“This means the cost remains the same as it would for a full capacity event, but the organiser may only use half of the venue space. Also, attendees are required to produce proof of vaccination, which makes the events industry the only mandated vaccinated economic sector by the South African government,” De Kock told Fin24.

SAACI has urged the government to consider the negative economic and employment impact of keeping this regulation in place and has made proposals on what a more sustainable approach might be.

In SAACI’s view, it may be best to have the regulations as guidelines and allow the events industry, which is already regulated by the Safety at Sports and Recreation Events Act, to self-regulate. The organisation proposes oversight can be placed with local authorities about allowing large business events and exhibitions.

“We need to understand that the events industry is the engine room for powering the recovery of the economy,” says De Kock. “We still need to get a push from the private sector, which has kept their business or incentive meetings to a minimum.”

READ | Room rates, occupancy nearly double as Cape Town tourism bounces back

During a recent briefing to the events industry hosted by Deputy Tourism Minister Fish Mahlalela at the Century City Convention Centre in Cape Town, he said government remained committed to growing the business events industry and is steadfast with its efforts and investment in this regard.

He said the events industry in Africa is expected to only recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

Both Mahlalela and SA Tourism’s chief convention bureau officer Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo emphasised that key to fully realising the growth of the events industry will be collaborations with various role players in the South African and greater African business events sector.

Data from the latest SA Tourism business events industry performance outlook indicates that the value of the South African business events industry dropped from $6.9 billion in 2019 (therefore, pre-pandemic) to $1.6 billion in 2020. However, projections indicate the value could reach $7.4 billion by 2024 and $10.2 billion by 2028.

In the view of the SANCB, Africa is poised to be one of the fastest-growing business event regions, with Namibia and Ghana set to be the fastest-growing events destinations on the continent between 2021 and 2028.

The incentives component of the events industry is expected to show the fastest growth on the continent. The SANCB believes this presents substantial opportunities for corporate meetings and company incentives.

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Thatcher Farms almost ready to show off new event venue

Thatcher Farms almost ready to show off new event venue

Dana Thatcher said this was a natural extension to an increasing market for agri-tourism experiences

GUELPH/ERAMOSA – It has taken a lot of paperwork, labour, money and a few headaches for the owners of Thatcher Farm but years of hard work will soon pay off as their on-farm venue is set to host its first events. 

A part of Thatcher Farms, on Fifth Line in Guelph/Eramosa township, now hosts a new structure and event area called Barn Swallow Fields which Dana Thatcher said in an interview was named after a bird commonly seen at the property. 

Thatcher and her husband Adam are first-generation farmers who have slowly been adding to the property since they first bought it. 

She noticed over the years people have increasingly been coming to farms like hers for more than just to buy products. 

“We found that people would show up and start wandering around,” Thatcher said. This led to adding experience-based things such as strawberry and pumpkin picking, sunflower fields and events. 

She said people, especially those who live in a city, are longing to come out to enjoy nature and fall in love with farming are fuelling the rise in agri-tourism. 

“The countryside, it just draws people, it’s a quiet space and there’s good food and there’s just kind of beauty all around,” Thatcher said. 

This new event venue is an extension of this. Thatcher said they had a large tent used for events but wasn’t suitable in case of rain. 

“We thought a permanent structure would be helpful and if it rained or it was bad weather, it wouldn’t matter,” Thatcher said. 

Building wasn’t an easy task and required a lot of work with the township including zoning and site plan approvals. Overall, Thatcher figured the process took more than three years to see through to completion. 

Guelph/Eramosa council approved the zoning change in June 2021 and at the meeting it was noted this may be precedence-setting as the venture may be the first of its kind in the township. 

Nearly a year later, Thatcher said the venue is almost ready to host seasonal events like concerts, farm dinners and weddings, among other things. 

The Thatchers have built the barn to fit in with the existing feel of the farm. Thatcher said she considers it to be rustic, clean and elegant. 

“I think we’re pretty unique in our county as well, like there’s not a lot of this available so to be able to invite the community out to enjoy the farm or have a wedding it’s pretty unique,” Thatcher said. 

She was unsure what the first event will be, there is a tentative plan to host something for father’s day but that is still to be determined. However, a Canada Day live music event is set to go and weddings are booked for August and September. 

Next year is still open but Thatcher is confident that will fill relatively quickly after they have examples of what can be held. 

“I think once we get a few events under our belt, I think that we’ll see a big snowball effect,” Thatcher said.

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Local venue sees increase in events while recovering from pandemic

Local venue sees increase in events while recovering from pandemic

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – COVID-19 postponed and even cancelled weddings, baby showers, and graduation parties.

This kept people from gathering to celebrate, but this year is proving to be different as restrictions ease and case numbers decline here in Lincoln.

Event venues, like Urban Farmhouse Room, shut down in 2020 due to COVID-19. Now, they are hosting hundreds of events while rebounding from the effects of the pandemic.

On Saturday, Caron Stajduhar is celebrating her first grandchild at her daughter’s baby shower.

“We came from Georgia and there are several other people coming from far away,” Stajduhar said.

It is a busy time of the year for Urban Farmhouse Room.

“May is very busy for us, and so is April and June. We are gearing up for a very busy Spring season,” Corinna Moser, owner of Urban Farmhouse Room said.

As COVID-19 cases decline in Lincoln, Moser said people are booking more events, like baby showers.

This was not the case two years ago. The venue opened on March 1, 2020. A couple of weeks later, the pandemic shut them down.

“We were just kind of like in shock almost,” Moser said.

Moser said they had a lot of events booked that spring after they opened, including 25 graduation parties.

“We were finally doing this and then we got three events in two weeks and by about March 13, we had to shut down,” she said.

During 2020, they had almost 100 events despite the pandemic.

In 2021, they passed that number with 243 events.

Saturday’s baby shower is just one of many events lined up for their busy year.

“It’s just going to be great,” Stajduhar said. “It’s so fun to get together with people since we’ve been cooped up not able to do things like that.”

Moser said she was happy to get all the events rescheduled once the venue re-opened in June 2020. She said they are on track to have more events this year than last year.

Copyright 2022 KOLN. All rights reserved.

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Goochland events venue Rassawek Vineyard plans to add a winery – Richmond BizSense

Goochland events venue Rassawek Vineyard plans to add a winery - Richmond BizSense

An aerial view of Rassawek Vineyard’s inaugural Autumn Festival in October. The Goochland County venue plans to bring the event back this year. (Photos courtesy of Rassawek Vineyard)

After adding converted rail cars-turned-short-term rentals on its grounds, a sprawling Goochland County events venue has plans to become the site of the region’s newest wine-making operation.

Rassawek Vineyard at 6276 River Road West, which has hosted Rassawek Spring Jubilee for more than a decade, wants to add a winery to its growing list of offerings.

The winery could open as early as 2023, though the venue is still working on most of the details of the project.

At least initially, the winery wouldn’t be open every day or to the general public. Instead, it would operate in coordination with other events at the property and be accessible to people who attend those events, Rassawek Event Planner Jessica Jessee said.

The winery would likely take up residence in one of the structures the venue’s owners have collected and moved to the property over the years. The square footage and seating capacity haven’t been determined yet.

“We are still deciding where on the property to have the main thrust of the winery project be,” Jessee said.

Owned by the Liesfeld family, Rassawek Vineyard already grows grapes on its property but it has yet to make wine onsite. Its grape crop is managed by Goochland-based Elk Island Winery, which last year helped produce a Rassawek-branded line of wines.

Beyond wine, Rassawek also plans to enclose an existing open-air wedding pavilion this year. The project will roughly double the space to 6,900 square feet. The venue has a wedding capacity of 150 to 200 seated guests.

“We are enclosing the space to expand our wedding season to year-round,” Jessee said. “This venue will be heated and cooled, which will allow for weddings during the summer and winter in addition to our spring and fall weddings we have lined up.”

She said the venue has fully booked its spring and fall wedding weekends for 2022.

Those moves come as the venue looks to take full advantage of a 2020 conditional-use permit to increase the range of programs and events it offers. One of the first such steps was the opening of five short-term rental properties on the grounds and the addition of a fall festival last year.

Rassawek Vineyard offers short-term rentals. Among them are modified train cars such as the one shown.

The Liesfeld property is 1,000 acres, of which 355 can be used for programming, per the 2020 CUP.

Rassawek’s five short-term rentals consist of two cabins and three train cars, which were opened to the public in June.

Among the retrofitted train car rentals is Rassawek’s Pullman car, which features a bedroom with two double beds, a four-person dining table, a full bathroom and a half bath. Jenny Liesfeld said Rassawek acquired the car after it had been renovated by its previous owner and it spurred the idea of renovating more train cars.

The venue also has a caboose, which has a full bathroom and four twin bunk beds, as well as a boxcar that features a queen-sized bed and kitchenette.

The Pullman and the caboose car were part of a private collection located at Lestor Manor in King William County and owned by Carroll Lee Walker. All the train cars were donations, Liesfeld said.

Jessee said the rentals have proven popular and plans are underway to open a sixth rental. The CUP allows the venue up to eight short-term rentals.

The short-term rentals were rented more than 50 times during the six months they were open in 2021, which Jessee said was above expectations.

The currently available rentals range in their nightly rates from $220 to $500. Renters have access to biking and fishing on the property, and the units either have full kitchens or have access to full kitchens.

This year will mark the first time Rassawek will hold both its big festival events in the same year. The Spring Jubilee hasn’t been held since 2019 due to the pandemic and is set to return in June.

The new Autumn Festival, which was held for the first time in October, will return in 2022. The fall festival is focused more on showcasing historic and contemporary trades like blacksmithing and welding, whereas the Spring Jubilee is focused on wine, food and arts and crafts.

The first autumn festival had 8,500 people attend, Jessee said. She added that the spring festival has attracted an average of 5,000 to 6,000 guests in past years.

Other ideas pitched for Rassawek, such as plans for an airstrip with which to hold air shows, and a zip-line course, are on the backburner for the time being. Plans to open the venue up to the general public on certain weekends is also under consideration.

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Outernet Live, Largest New London Live Events Venue For 80 Years, to Launch in Summer

Outernet Live, Largest New London Live Events Venue For 80 Years, to Launch in Summer

The first newly built large live events venue in central London for 80 years is set to open this summer.

Outnet Live is a state of the art 2,000-capacity venue. Part of Outernet London, an immersive media and culture district set to open later this year, it will host live music, dance, immersive theatre, awards shows and brand experiences.

Green Light Development founders Robert Butters and Karrie Goldberg will manage and operate the venue as joint venture partners. It is already open for bookings.

Before co-founding Green Light Development, Butters was CFO and VP for business development at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group and SVP of business development at SFX (now Live Nation).

Goldberg is also the founder and CEO of venue and talent booking agency The Kagency and has programmed and managed spaces for artists including Beyoncé, Madonna and Lady Gaga as well as high-end brands such as Cartier and Louis Vuitton.

They’ll be joined by the venue’s new chief operating officer Tristan Hoffman, who’s previously worked on venues in New York and London, including BB Kings Blues Club in Times Square, artistic director Leo Green, a concert promoter who most recently served as Live Nation’s director of live events, operations manager Octavia Harwood, who joins from a five-year run as head of venue management at the O2 Arena and beverage director Shannon Tebay, who comes from Savoy Hotel’s American Bar.

As part of the venue, the 12 Bar Club will also be revamped with an increased 350 capacity.

“This area of London has an amazing tradition of brilliant venues but many of them have sadly gone,” said Philip O’Ferrall, CEO and president Outernet Global said. “To open Outernet Live as part of our wider culture and music district makes us all immensely proud. It is absolutely vital that artists and fans have a place to go in the centre of our city to perform and enjoy live music and we will welcome many other types of events to our venue as well. When you factor in the incredible things we can do with the Outernet screens we move to another level and our offering is something that really can’t be found anywhere else in the world. We love the history of Denmark Street and embrace what the future holds.”

Butters and Goldberg said: “We have two amazing venues that sit at the heart of London’s first music, media and culture district. Launching Outernet Live is going to be very special as we combine a world class venue with the power of the wider Outernet campus.”

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High Five Spirits to Open New Distillery and Events Venue in Petoskey – 9 & 10 News

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Craft cocktail drinkers have a new spot to visit this summer.

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View from the tasting room balcony

High Five Spirits—the creators of Gypsy Vodka—are renovating the Bay Harbor Equestrian Club into a brand new distillery and events venue.

“This is the most exciting build that I think the three of us have done to date,” said partner and Director of Operations Michael Kolkmeyer.

Soon to be known as Gypsy Farms—after Gypsy Vodka—the property sits on nearly 23 acres, overlooking Little Traverse Bay.

“Renovations are slated to begin, probably the early part of next week,” said Kolkmeyer. “There’s a lot of space here, it’s not all earmarked with what it’s going to be purposed for, but we think it will come in handy.”

Preserving the originality and feel of the former equestrian club was important to them.

The riding room will become the spot for a new beer-garden and the stables will turn into private bourbon rooms.

Even the tack room will serve as the new distillery and tasting room.

“They’ll see that, you know, there’s no other property like this, at least that I’ve ever been to, so it’s really important to keep as much as we can,” said High Five Spirits Co-Founder Michael Kazanowski. “A lot of what you’re going to see here, like the horse stalls and everything are original.”

From humble beginnings to now, this is a huge expansion for High Five Spirits.

“We started off as a small company out of Colorado, my twin brother and I self-funded this and lived out of a van, working at music festivals—so having the opportunity to move into a 42,000 square foot facility really allows us to upgrade our distilling capabilities,” said Kazanowski.

Gypsy Farms is set to officially open in June.