Event Management School

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.

Registration, Fees, and Dates

Save the date!

January 12-17, 2025
January 11-16, 2026
January 10-15, 2027

All dates are subject to change.


The Event Management School is hosted annually at the Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia in partnership with the National Training Center at Oglebay.


Event Management School is a partnership between the International Festivals & Events Association, the National Training Center at Oglebay, and the National Recreation and Park Association.

Who should attend

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

Key Subjects Covered

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 knowledge-base by providing more applied workshop-style opportunities in specific areas, together with a project-based opportunity to help bring the “real world” a little closer to the classroom.

First Year Session Topics

  • Strong Foundations:  Understanding Event Management and the Importance of Doing What We Do
  • Business Plans
  • Arriving at the Bottom-Line:  Event Budgeting and Budget Management
  • Putting the "Community" in "Community Events":  Building a Successful Volunteer Program
  • Event Administration and Legal Considerations
  • Operations:  From Vision to Reality
  • Merchandise Programs
  • The Basics of Sponsorship Sales and Service
  • Marketing & Mediums:  Traditional, Social and Creative
  • Food & Beverage Programs
  • Introduction to Event Risk Management and Resilience
  • Social Media Marketing:  Understanding the Landscape, Benefits and Challenges
  • The New World of Event Ticketing, Financial Transactions and Audience Expectations
  • The Common World of Events and Cities:  Building Community through Proactive Events Management
  • Is Everyone Invited? Including Those with Disabilities
  • How'd You Do?  Surveys, Evaluations and Economic Impact Studies
  • Year-Two Team Event Presentations

Second Year Session Topics

  • The Application of Project Management to Events
  • Human Centered Design to Enhance the Event Experience
  • Applied Risk Management:  Event Security, Crowd Safety and Emergency Response
  • Inside Perspective:  What Cities Want from Events and the New Age of Partnership in Municipal Event Management
  • Is Everyone Invited?  Designing an Access Program to Include Those with Disabilities
  • Applies Sponsorship Research
  • Applied Budget Development
  • Applied Sponsorship Proposals and Follow-up Reports
  • City Event Concept Project and Presentations

What do graduates say?

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