Yakima to Host Large Music Conference This Month

Steve Treseler, the author of The Living Jazz Tradition, conducts a workshops to middle school, high school and college educators at the 2014 WMEA conference. Photo by CMA Press.

Steve Treseler, author of The Living Jazz Tradition, conducts a workshop to middle school, high school and college educators at the 2014 WMEA conference. Photo by CMA Press.

The Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) will hold its 43rd Biennial Conference and All-State Honor Group performances February 11th – 14th at the Yakima Convention Center and numerous other venues around Yakima. Over the course of the weekend, more than 4,000 students, teachers, staff and families will make their way to Yakima for the event.

Included in that figure are 1,200+ All-State and Junior All-State students. In addition, about 1,100 music teachers from around the state will attend 120 sessions for continuing education as well as 15 concerts their students are performing. An additional 1,700 or more family members, friends and staff will be in Yakima for the event.

According to Yakima Valley Tourism, this is the largest convention slated for 2016. “We work on this event for more than a year,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO for Yakima Valley Tourism. “This conference fills hotels for miles and brings significant visitor spending to the Valley.”

There are more than 20 ensembles (Bands, Orchestras, Choirs, Jazz Ensembles, and Percussion Ensembles, etc.) from all over the state. Along with their teachers, students will perform at “Concert Hours” and “Demonstration Sessions” throughout the weekend. To coordinate the programs, WMEA bulks up for the conference to about 80 staff members (from an office staff of six). This group will take care of details from presiding at conference sessions, moving percussion gear around concert sites and making sure that All-State Students are properly fed and rested.

In order to attend events at the conference, people have to be registered or they have to be involved with presenting, performing or staffing. The Junior All-State and the All-State Concerts, however, are open to the public.

The schedule, time and locations of the concerts are listed below:

Friday, February 12th at 3:00 PM

All State Jazz Concert – Yakima Convention Center

Saturday, February 13th at 4:15 PM      

  • Junior All-State Instrumental Concert – Eisenhower High School
  • Junior All-State Choral Concert – Capitol Theatre

Sunday, February 14th at 1:00 PM

  • All-State Bands – Eisenhower High School
  • All-State Orchestras – Capitol Theatre
  • All-State Choirs – Yakima Convention Center

Concert tickets are $20 if purchased in advance, or $25 the day of or at the door. Children grade eight and below are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling 509-853-2787, on the WMEA website at www.wmea.org under 2016 Conference Information, or online at www.ticketswest.com/events/wmea-all-state-concerts/14702/. Tickets will be sold at the door of each concert venue, plus at the Capitol Theatre Box office starting at 11:00am on Friday for Friday’s Jazz Concert at the Yakima Convention Center, and starting at 11:00am on Sunday for the three Large Group Concerts. Tickets to any of the Sunday concerts allow access to all three events that day.

Yakima has been the traditional location for the WMEA State Conference and All-State Honor Groups for more than 20 years. The event is staged in Yakima around President’s Day Weekend every even numbered year. “We always feel special here,” stated WMEA Executive Director Scott Ketron. “The team of folks at the tourism office and hotels that help us manage this event are like family and they know what to do. We value Yakima, its people and our ongoing relationship with the community.”

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Yakima Valley Hosts Travel & Lifestyle Media

Spring fam tour

Travel media enjoy a meal at Russillo’s Pizza and Gelato in Yakima WA

Last week we had the honor of hosting eight writers and journalists on a two and half day spring tour of the Yakima Valley. The writers came from New York City, Portland, Vancouver B.C. and metro Seattle and have placed stories in a variety of media outlets including Town and Country, New York Times, Forbes Life and Travel Guide, Fodor’s Travel, OutCity.com, Northwest Travel Magazine, About.com, Real Food Traveler, Foodista, Seattle Kitchen/KIRO Radio, BC Living and Western Living.

The tour had a spring, wine and food theme and allowed participants to experience a number of attractions, food products and beverages. Activities  included hikes in the Cowiche Canyon, massages at Ummelina, sipping wines throughout the valley and great meals including Italian fare at Russillos to a cooking demonstration at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser.

“The writers had a great time meeting the people, cultures and attractions of the region,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of Yakima Valley Tourism. “Trips like these help writers craft authentic stories of the Valley.”

The tour was coordinated with our public relations firm Green Rubino of Seattle.

Tourism 2020: State of the Tourism Industry in the Yakima Valley

headerImageBlockTM-copyAs the New Year begins, the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau is rolling out a number of programs aimed at building all forms of tourism in the Yakima Valley in 2014 and beyond.  To outline these projects, the Bureau will hold a presentation Friday, January 17th 10:00 a.m. at the Yakima Convention Center, 10 North 8th Street in Downtown Yakima.

Among the topics to be covered:

  • Update on the state of the tourism industry nationally, state wide and locally
  • Brief review of Tourism 2020, the organization’s  strategic plan for tourism in the Yakima Valley
  • Review proposed legislation to fund new Washington state tourism efforts
  • Announce an important change for the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau

There is no charge to attend the session and the event is open to the public. To RSVP call 800- 221-0751 or contact laura@visityakima.com

Visitors Bureau Builds Tourism for Yakima Valley

As summer winds down and fall approaches, we want to share recent successes of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau in our efforts to build tourism for Yakima and the Yakima Valley.

August was a hugely successful month for media coverage resulting from our efforts! Notable coverage included articles in Lonely Planet online, Portland Magazine’s fall story, Seattle Time’s Pacific Northwest Magazine, Crave Local.com, 425 Magazine and others. In total the exposure generated $52,000 in advertising value and reached 20.5 million readers.

The Sports Commission finished the annual Hot Shots 3 on 3 Tourney in Downtown Yakima. We had a tourney record of 497 teams, an increase of 8.5% from 2012 and the sixth straight year the team numbers have grown. An estimated 12,000 people were downtown for the event.

Now the Sports Commission turns to fall events. September 13 and 14th we host the SunDome Volleyball Festival with more than 80 teams and close to 1,000 players from all over Washington and Oregon.

Following that we stage the Pirate Plunder Adventure Race October 5th. To date we have more than 860 registered (last year there were 878 total racers). This year we are partnering with the Allied Art’s Fresh Hop Ale Festival happening that day to make Yakima a weekend destination.

Yakima Hosts Meeting Professionals

Over the course of two days this week, the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau, Yakima Convention Center and the local hospitality industry hosted an educational forum for twelve state and regional meeting planners and association executives.

During their stay, the meeting professionals discussed issues facing the meeting industry and tactics to improve their programs and services. In addition, hotel management staff were in attendance to learn and share insights.

The sessions were coordinated by Linda DiMario, a long time tourism and meetings expert from Long Beach California. This is the third time Linda has conducted the forum and was well received by the attendees.

In addition to the formal programs, the planners and executives were treated to social events, enjoyed catering creations from the new Convention Center caterer Centerplate and a participated in luncheon at the Yakima Valley Museum.

Driving Meeting and Sports Business to the Yakima Valley

2013-04-16_11-34-58_648This week the hospitality industry of Yakima went to the  LeMay Car Museum in Tacoma to show Washington state meeting and sports planners that the Yakima Valley is ready to drive results for their meetings and events.

Sixty-two staff from thirty-one  groups came to the museum to learn about new services for the meeting and sports industry in Yakima, network, enjoy food and have fun. The event was sponsored by Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau, Yakima Convention Center and Yakima Valley Sports Commission. It was also an opportunity for the participants to meet staff from Centerplate, the new caterer for the Yakima Convention Center.

“These social events with meeting planners and sports organizers are a key way we keep in touch,” stated John Cooper, President and CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau. “It gives our industry an opportunity to provide the attendees with updates while learning how we can better serve them.”

Yakima Convention Center and Centerplate staff working the trade show

Yakima Convention Center and Centerplate staff working the trade show

Yakima Convention Center Choses New Caterer

logoCenterplate, one of the largest hospitality companies in the world, will become the exclusive food service provider for the Yakima Convention Center on May 1st.  Centerplate serves more than 115 million guests each year in more than 300 venues throughout North America and the United Kingdom.  Centerplate’s current client list includes convention centers in Dallas, Miami, and San Diego, major entertainment venues like the Spokane Arena, the Tacoma Dome, and the New Orleans Arena, and pro sports franchises such as the Denver Broncos (NFL), Seattle Mariners (MLB), and Portland Timbers (MLS).

“We’re excited about the experience and quality that Centerplate brings to the Yakima Convention Center,” said Yakima City Manager Tony O’Rourke.  “Centerplate clearly has a proven track record for outstanding customer service that our Convention Center guests will enjoy.  We are looking forward to a long and productive relationship,” said O’Rourke.

Centerplate will offer several new selections that include a Northwest take on fresh, local ingredients sourced from neighboring suppliers have been created for the Convention Center’s menu by renowned Executive Chef Matthew Lecours, who has served as Microsoft’s District Chef and as Centerplate’s Executive Sous Chef at Safeco Field.  Yakima Valley wines will also be prominently featured on the Convention Center’s menu.

“We know the Yakima Convention Center is a valuable asset to the community,” said Centerplate Regional Vice President Adrian Dishington.  “Centerplate’s goal is to provide each guest with a one-of-a-kind authentic experience while also providing local businesses with opportunities to partner with us.  By working hand in hand with meeting planners and event specialists, we’ll deliver world class hospitality for each and every guest at the Convention Center,” said Dishington.

Centerplate has been the hospitality service provider for numerous major events including thirty U.S. Presidential inaugural balls, thirteen Super Bowls, twenty one World Series, and the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.  The company was recently named by Nation’s Restaurant News as the fastest growing restaurant/hospitality groups in the United States.

The Yakima Convention Center is the premiere meeting facility in Central Washington and last year served more than 125,000 guests and generated nearly $9 million in economic activity. The center is owned by the City of Yakima and managed by the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau.

Yakima Valley Washington Launches Travel Campaign

Barrett4-20-12aTo boost Spring travel to Washington’s Yakima Valley, the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau (YVVCB) launched a marketing campaign today to attract leisure travelers. “We get many visitors to the Valley each spring for sports tournaments and conventions,” stated John Cooper President & CEO. “This project is aimed to lure visitors here for wine touring, outdoor recreation, food and cultural events.”

The YVVCB has created a “Find Spring” campaign website that includes a range of spring events and attractions. It also has purchased advertisements in regional media and built online campaigns to attract visitors and increase web traffic.  Examples include participating in a Seattle Metropolitan’s email campaign sent to their 21,000 subscribers, a getaway drawing on ScenicWA.com that is sent to their 35,000 subscribers, exposure on Sunset.com and an email campaign to the YVVCB’s 8,500 online subscribers.

A major feature of the project is a sixty second radio commercial airing on Seattle radio stations that comically pokes fun at the rain in the Puget Sound and that the Yakima Valley is a sunny get-away. The spot will air 540 times through mid-May and will be supported with on-air promotional giveaways. Radio stations include Star 101.5, KOMO News, ESPN and KIRO radio.

Discover the Yakima Valley “Find Spring” website by clicking here. 

Washington Wine Tasting During The Harvest

The season has turned. Nights are cooler and as the sun rises, there’s a mist on the valley floor.  Gold and red trees dot the distant hills.  It’s harvest time in wine country.   If you plan right, fall is a great time to visit and immerse yourself in the wine making process.

Here are some tips to help you enjoy Washington Wine Country during the harvest:

  • Plan ahead: In wine country many visitors come during the harvest and crush. That requires extensive advance planning for lodging, dining and activities.  Here in the Yakima Valley the weekend traffic is manageable and there are great activities like the Prosser BalloonRally, the Wine Yakima Valley Catch the Crush event in October or the Thanksgiving in Wine Country event the weekend after Thanksgiving.
  • Check the website of the local tourist office: They’re a wealth of information, especially about harvest and wine events.  Also, regional and state wine associations are a good source to help you plan. In the Yakima Valley check the Rattlesnake Hills Wine Trail or Wine Yakima Valley for updates and information.
  • Learn before you go: Visit websites and videos about the regions and wine making process. Brush up on the art of tasting and basic wine terms. And if you use Twitter, try hashtags to follow the online conversations, like #WAwine.
  • Wine regions are agricultural regions: With a few exceptions, most vineyards and wineries are located on rural back roads. That’s part of their charm. During harvest though expect more traffic, especially farm equipment. In the Yakima Valley the wine grape harvest coincides with other fruit harvests. Be patient and obey the rules of the road.
  • Designate a driver: Basic rule for any season. Be sure to reward them for the duty though, like buying the lunch or a bottle for later on!
  • Pace Yourself: Plan on visiting up to five wineries a day. Your palette will go numb if you try to tackle too many wineries. Plus, during harvest you may want to linger to watch what’s happening.
  • Expect a different mood: It’s very different at wineries in the fall. There’s a tension and excitement as the winemakers and staff work to bring in the grapes. The hours are long and all hands are on deck. Ask questions about what’s going on, but be respectful if they have limited time to chat.
  • Prepare for the weather: And remember the wine! It may be cooler, but on sunny mild days the temperature inside a trunk or car can climb to a level not good for wine. Bring a cooler or two.
  • Get involved: Many wineries have programs where you can actually work the harvest. You wear your grubbies, get an assignment and work the fields harvesting or other tasks. It’s a great way to gain a greater appreciation of the hard work that goes into making wine plus learn directly from the winemakers.
  • Learn about dog friendly wineries: A great resource in Washington Wine Country is winedoggies.com
  • Fly to Washington Wine Country: Your Vacation to Washington Wine Country Just Got Easier – with the Taste and Tote Program. Check your first case of wine free from Yakima, Tri-Cities/Pasco or Walla Walla on Alaska Airlines. Enjoy waived rental car drop fees from Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Show your Alaska Airlines boarding pass for waived tasting fees at participating wineries.  Extra Benefits for booking your Taste and Tote Flight between September 1-15! Airlines to Yakima, Pasco/Tri-cities, or Walla Walla and save 10%! It’s easy; just enter EC2451 at alaskaair.com in the discount code box. The discount will be applied automatically. Travel September 1, 2012 – November 15, 2012, book by September 15, 2012. Not valid for travel from Mexico, Hawaii, or Prudhoe Bay. Additional terms, conditions, and restrictions apply.

With the right planning and attitude, a visit to a wine region during the harvest and crush is an exceptional way to learn about fine wines. Enjoy!

Yakima Valley Visitors Bureau Annual Lunch

The Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau announces its Annual Lunch will occur May 24th in Downtown Yakima. Special guest presenter will be Steve Warner, the new Executive Director of  the Washington Wine Commission. Mr. Warner comes to the Commission from Merck & Co., Inc., where he was Managing Director based in Bucharest, Romania. Prior to that, he held General Manager and marketing positions in global and regional marketing in the Asia Pacific region and led teams while living in Seoul, South Korea; Bangkok, Thailand; and several domestic markets. Mr. Warner holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from East Tennessee State University and a master’s of business administration in international business and finance from Rutgers University.

Born and raised in Washington State, Mr. Warner graduated from West Seattle High School before serving in the United States military’s Special Operations Command, first as a Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and then as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy.

At the Annual Lunch, Mr. Warner will discuss the Commission’s new Strategic Plan, the future of Washington wine and its role in tourism.

In addition, the Visitors Bureau will present the Chairman’s Award to recognize outstanding contributions made by an organization or individual for generating economic vitality for the Yakima Valley.

DETAILS:

When:  Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 11:45 am

Where: Yakima Convention Center, 10 North 8th Street, Yakima, WA 98901

Cost:  $30

$200 per table of ten

RSVP: 509-575-3010 or reesha@visityakima.com