The Northwest Festivals Hosting Association was formed in 1981 at the suggestion of the Wenatchee Applarian Vice Chancellor Larry Frack to provide an opportunity for the festival hosting groups to meet together to discuss ideas and solve problems.
The first meeting was held in Seattle at the Camlin Hotel. Festivals remembered to have attended that meeting were from the cities of Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Spokane, Leavenworth, Olympia, Yakima and Wenatchee. The main topics of discussion were hospitality weekend packet prices, recognition and acknowledgements of festival leaders, housing of festival guests and transportation from the housing (hotel) to various festival events. The meeting was felt to be very helpful and the decision was made to continue the meeting annually.
For the next three years the Association met in Ellensburg, WA. A list of the conference hosts is provided in our “Past and Future Conference Hosts” section. However, in 1985 the conference was held in Wenatchee, in 1986 Yakima, in 1987 Spokane, in 1988 Portland, OR, in 1989 Seattle and in 1990 Spokane after which a number of our members traveled to the Whitefish Winter Carnival in Montana. The meeting in 1991 was a joint venture co-hosted by the Royal Bavarians of Leavenworth and the Wenatchee Applarians.
The Association has never charged dues. Membership criteria have guidelines set in our by-laws and new groups are voted into the Association by the current Festival membership attending the annual conference.
The membership in 1989 consisted of the following festivals: Puyallup Valley Daffodil Festival & Tacoma Daffodilians (hosting group), WA State Apple Blossom Festival & Applarians (hosting group), Spokane Lilac Festival, Newminster B.C. Canada Hyack Festival, Royal Rosarians (hosting group for the Portland Rose Festival), Olympia Capital Lakefair (organizing and hosting group), Seattle Seafair Commodores (hosting group for Seattle Seafair Festival), Vancouver B.C. Canada Pacific National Exhibition, Port Angeles Rhododendron Festival (organizing and hosting), WA State Autumn Leaf Festival & Royal Bavarians (hosting group) of Leavenworth and Yakima Folklife Festival. Whitefish Winter Carnival, Montana, Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Everett and Astoria Regatta Festival, Astoria, Oregon were voted in as members to the Association this year. Port Orchard Fathoms O’ Fun Festival was added to our mailing list.
During the 1990 Annual Conference Tillamook Dairy Parade and Issaquah Salmon Days Festival were added to our mailing list while Port Orchard was removed from it.
Our 1991 Annual Conference we saw our meeting attendance grow to over 60 and our original membership had grown from 8 festivals to 14. Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival was added to our mailing list this year. This conference was a joint venture organized by the Leavenworth Royal Bavarians and the Wenatchee Applarians.
During our 1992 Annual Conference the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival and the Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival were voted into membership.
Our Annual Conference in 1983 was held in Leavenworth with over 80 people in attendance. Seaside, Oregon was chosen as the location for our 1994 conference with the Portland Royal Rosarians and Astoria Regatta Festival co-hosting the event.
The Seattle Seafair Commodores hosted our 1995 Annual conference where the Tillamook Dairy Festival was welcomed as a member to the Association. Port Angeles and Whitefish remained on the mailing list, even though their hosting weekend packets were in question. Sequim Lavender Festival attended the conference as guests this year.
The New Westminster B.C. Hyack Festival hosted the 1996 Annual Conference followed by Wenatchee Applarians as hosts in 1997 and Tillamook Dairy Parade in 1998. During 1998 Port Angeles and Whitefish were contacted by telephone and both festivals stated they wished to be dropped from the mailing list.
The 1999 Annual Conference was held in Spokane followed by Port Townsend in 2000 and our attendance at this time had grown to an average of 100 people at the annual conferences.
During the 2014 Conference the Astoria Regatta Festival and the Issaquah Salmon Days Festivals officially resigned due to lack of funding and support from their festival organizers for the hosting weekends. They will still have parades and festival activities. Issaquah’s parade is a sanctioned event for the Seattle Seafair Festival and they may still participate in the parade. These other parades are option for member festivals.
The 2019 Conference held in Spokane, Washington focused on festivals being relevant in the 21st Century, Social Media, Fundraising and Recuriting and Retention of members. The Daffodil Festival requested to have their membership temporarily suspended and it was regretfully accepted.