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 14-19, 2024
January 12-17, 2025

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.

Year One TopicsYear Two Topics
How to Build a Successful EventApplication of Project Management to Events
Business PlansApplied Program and Event Development
Event Budgeting and Budget ManagementApplied Budget Development
Building a Strong Volunteer ProgramApplied Sponsorship Research
Sponsorship Sales and ServiceApplied Sponsorship Proposals and Follow-up Reports
Food and Beverage ProgramsWhat Cities Want from Events and How To Strengthen Those Partnerships
Merchandise ProgramsAdvanced Risk Management & Contingency Planning
Event Administration and Legal ConsiderationsCase Study: The Development of a World Class Programmable Park
Marketing and MediaCity Event Concept Project
Social Media MarketingOpen Forum Roundtable Discussions (Year 1 and Year 2)
Risk Management
Surveys, Evaluations and Economic Impact Studies 
Community Building through Proactive Events Management 

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