Attend the state’s most prestigious gathering of event and festival organizers, which is part of its annual conference.
Besides holding its annual auction to benefit young professionals and students, WFEA also recognizes new additions to its Hall of Fame and presents its Summit Awards to worthy event organizers.
Two outstanding event professionals, Beth Knox and Alan Silverman, and Seattle Center, will be inducted into the WFEA Hall of Fame presented by Grand Event Rentals at an awards dinner during the WFEA annual conference April 3-5 in Bellevue.
Recognized for making significant contributions to the events industry, all of the inductees have had long careers in developing creative special event programming.
“We are proud to be a part of the induction of these individuals,” said Eddie Redman of Grand Event Rentals and a WFEA Board member. “They have made a profound difference in the communities they serve, and have worked many a long day to bring citizens together of all backgrounds to celebrate together.”
Silverman is the founder of Festivals Inc., a special events production company and Lifestyle Events Inc., producer of Coffee Fest – the largest and first Coffee and Tea Trade show in the U.S. A native of New York City, his background includes over 50 years in the restaurant and hospitality industry, which provided the foundation for the growth and success that both companies have experienced.
Festivals Inc. was formed when Silverman created and produce the first Bite of Seattle in 1982. The Bite has grown into one of Seattle’s largest community festivals, attracting over 350,000 people annually and remains a flagship event for the company. He was a visionary and pioneer in establishing procedures and guidelines for special events in Seattle.
An accomplished restauranteur, Silverman saw clearly the business opportunities within the fast-growing coffee and tea industry. In 1992 Coffee Seattle was born and although the event is no longer owned by him, it was his vision, drive and passion for the industry that built the foundation for what is still today the leading trade show for coffee and tea.
Silverman was also instrumental in forming ASSET (A Seattle/King County Special Events Team). “His leadership went way beyond the events he produced,” said Bruce Skinner WFEA Executive Director. “He worked tirelessly to promote ASSET’s primary goal of communicating the value of sports and special events to the City of Seattle, the media and broader community.”
Knox recently completed serving as the President and CEO of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games that were held in Seattle. Considered to be the most significant event in Seattle since the 1990 Goodwill Games, the Special Olympics showcased the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities, providing for world-class competition and inspirational experience.
Prior to that, she served as President and CEO of Seattle Seafair from 2005 -- 2015, overseeing Seattle’s largest regional celebration with 75 events – 10 of them large scale – over eight weeks.
She also was the President and CEO of the Seafair Foundation and the Boise River Festival in Idaho from 2001 – 2003. She served as a Vice President at One Reel for two different stints (1994 – 2001 and 2003 – 2005), in charge of revenue development for a $22 million operation that produced Bumbershoot – The Seattle Arts Festival, At&T Summer Nights at the Pier concert series, Teatro Zinzanni, AT&T Family Fourth and many other events.
She began her career as the Director of Promotions at Seafair, serving from 1988 – 1994.
“Knox is a natural leader,” said Skinner. “She is skilled in all facets of the events industry while being a team builder and staff and volunteer motivator. People are amazed at how calm she can be in the event industry’s fast-paced, high pressure environment.”
Seattle Center is a significant center for events of all types, and remains a vital center more than half a century after the 1962 World’s Fair created the campus. Major events include Bumbershoot, PrideFest, Bite of Seattle, and Seattle Center Festal, a year-long series of 24 world cultural events, the largest of which is Northwest Folklife. Other events include arts and entertainment events at several facilities in the Center.
Over 1.8 million people attend these events annually.
It also has several permanent attractions, including the Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pacific Science Center and Mercer Arena.
“Seattle Center remains a vital center for events,” said Skinner. “It attracts a large cohort of visitors from outside the local area, contributing to the economic base of the regional economy, which generates jobs and income for thousands of people in King County. It is a major tourism destination.”
The inductees join three others who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame:
- Mike Brennan, the former CEO of the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce which produced the innovative Ski to Sea event.
- David Doxtater, the head of Workshop, which is currently producing the opening of the Seattle tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
- Ed Neunherz, the former Executive Director of the Spokane Lilac Festival.