McAllen to Host 25th Anniversary of Annual Texas Festival & Events Association Conference

by Office of Communications | Sep 05, 2017

Mascots at Presser-McAllen to Host TFEA Conf1_09052017
The City of McAllen is proud to host next year’s Texas Festival & Events Association (TFEA) Annual Conference, which this year, will be held from July 12-15, 2018, right here at the McAllen Convention Center.  With over 450 members, organizers are expecting approximately 300 members in attendance at what will be the 25th anniversary of the organization’s education, informative, entertaining and, competitive conference.  This organization helps to offer guidance, suggestions, ideas and award the various festivals and events throughout Texas.   


“I am so excited to welcome friends and neighbors from all over Texas to the wonderful city of McAllen, where they can celebrate and experience a rich and vibrant culture that is a part of all of the events we host here in McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley,” said City of McAllen Mayor Jim Darling.


Aside from local McAllen and Rio Grande Valley festivals and events, such as McAllen Holiday Parade, Palm Fest, Car Fest, Quinta Mazatlán Monarch Festival, McAllen Marathon, as well as the Fiesta Edinburg and Weslaco Onion Festival, who are all part of the organization, other festivals and events that attendees to the conference can learn from include George West Storyfest; Fiesta Flambeau Parade; Fiesta Oyster Bake; Grape Fest in Grapevine; Main Street Fort Worth; Plano Balloon Fest; Poteet Strawberry Festival; and the Washington’s Birthday Celebration, to name a few.


“TFEA is proud to help all of our festivals and events in the state grow bigger and better, not only for the thousands of attendees and sponsors, but also, for the economic impact these festivals and events have in our local communities,” said Mary Margaret Campbell, Executive Director of the George West Storyfest and this year’s incoming TFEA chair. 


“Our events each highlight and celebrate our local culture, bring in visitors from around the state, country and even, around the world and oftentimes are the images we think of when describing each Texas city.  I encourage festivals and events, as well as vendors from throughout the Rio Grande Valley and Texas to come be a part of this special conference taking place right here in McAllen next year,” she concluded.


Additionally, event and festival vendors are invited to participate in the conference’s trade show, which is expected to feature about 45 vendors, including the famed Rental World based here in the Rio Grande Valley.


“For this year’s 25th anniversary of the conference, we want to focus on ways we can continue to learn from each other:  the best practices, share ideas and learn new trends to keep our festivals and events fun, innovative and important parts of our community’s identities,” said Joe Vera, Assistant City Manager for the City of McAllen, as well as a founding member and current Secretary-Treasurer for TFEA.


Another new feature for this year’s annual conference will be including international festivals and events from Mexico to participate.  Already invited to present is the Feria Estatal de León y Parque Ecológico.


According to the organization, the impact of festivals and special events on the communities they serve is multifaceted. Their power to be an economic engine, generating direct spending by unique visitors and the redistribution of that wealth through the community, is well-documented.  


A recent study by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley found the economic impact of the McAllen Holiday Parade in the city alone is $13 million, while Fiesta Oyster Bake, hosted and organized by the St. Mary’s University Alumni Association as a scholarship fundraiser, provided 68 students with $390,000 in scholarship money last year alone, according to Pete Hansen, Executive Director of Alumni Relations for St. Mary’s University. 


Events of all sizes, from small community gatherings to mega-festivals, infuse new dollars into the economy, generate jobs and create significant tax revenues.


But festivals and events also share the unique ability to create social capital, such as community pride, destination brand awareness, media activity and stakeholder engagement. While social capital is difficult to track and measure, it is equally as difficult to replace in building a vibrant sense of place.  “Communities become known for the festivals and events they host,” said Kay Wolf, CFEE, TFEA Executive Director and founding member.


Opportunities for sponsorship of the conference and various elements of the four-day event are still available.  Be on the lookout for conference registration details and just as importantly, contest deadline information.  Aside from an annual learning tool, TFEA recognizes the best of the best in the organization with almost 70 different categories for awards.


The City of McAllen recently returned from the annual conference laden down with 44 awards for its various events, including the McAllen Holiday Parade being named the Best Parade in Texas for 2017.


For more information, please contact Kay Wolf at

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