2015 International Wine, Beer, and Food Festival
Ferris State University students participated in the 2015 International Wine, Beer, and Food Festival in Grand Rapids, Mich. The festival was held at the DeVos Place from Nov. 19-21.
Ferris State University has been the premiere educational partner of the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer, and Food Festival since it’s establishment eight years ago. Hospitality Management Professor Amy Dorey forged Ferris’ relationship with ShowSpan, the festival’s management company, over nine years ago with the vision to provide students with the unique opportunity to learn important professional and hands-on skills.
Over 500 Ferris students volunteered their time to work the three-day international festival, which markets itself as, “Michigan’s premiere tasting event,” and, “a celebration of culinary crafts.” Students are contracted with ShowSpan to act as vendor representatives and service pourers for a variety of international food and spirit tasting booths. Approximately 175 Ferris students are assigned to cover over 150 tasting booths each night of the festival.
Numerous Ferris State University College of Business programs recruit students to participate. These programs include Hospitality Management, PGA Golf Management, Professional Tennis Management and Music Industry Management. Registered student organizations and athletic teams volunteer their time as well.
Student workers are provided with a unique opportunity to network with industry leaders and learn important professional skills including marketing, promotions, consumer behavior, guest relations, and safe alcohol service; qualities that can merely be learned through experience as opposed to a classroom setting.
Music Industry Management student Chloe Tooson has participated in numerous International Wine, Beer, and Food Festival’s. Tooson’s continuous participation is due to the immeasurable experience felt by student workers.
“I really enjoy this event. It’s a great fundraiser and networking opportunity. It’s a lot of hard work and requires working long days, but in the end, being a part of the festival is a lot of fun,” says Tooson.
Additionally, Ferris’ participation results in over $30,000 in funding that is dispersed to programs for travel allocation, equipment purchases, and other programmatic level funding.
This year, Ferris State University was acknowledged with the 2015 Convention/Arena Authority Chairman’s Award due to the institution’s dedication to community partnership. This award signifies Ferris’ contribution to the Grand Rapids community, and the continuous success of the International Wine, Beer and Food Festival. Ferris State University President David Eisler, College of Business Dean David Nicol, and College of Business faculty members Amy Dorey, Lori Armstrong, and Aaron Waltz accepted the award during the festival’s opening reception.
“Receiving the Chairman’s Award was very rewarding. This award signified that, ‘this event couldn’t happen with out you,’ which was a great feeling,” says Tooson.
For information on the 2015 International Wine, Beer and Food Festival visit showspan.com/GRW/.