Local Teams’ Futures Offer Excitement At Erie Events

by Brandon Boyd, Coordinator of Communications

We’ve been blessed to see great athletes pass through Erie Insurance Arena and UPMC Park throughout the years.

For the Erie Otters, it’s been NHL MVP Connor McDavid, Dylan Strome, Alex DeBrincat, Andre Burakovsky (about to participate in the Stanley Cup this year), Mike Rupp and Brad Boyes.

For the SeaWolves, we’ve seen Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, Curtis Granderson, Michael Fulmer, Omar Infante, and plenty of other Detroit Tigers starters through the years.

The BayHawks have offered Jeremy Lin, Seth Curry, Danny Green and others who have seen significant NBA playing time.

Here in Erie, we get to consistently see the future of professional sports. It’s a unique honor that proves to be a lot of fun time and time again.

At Erie Events, we’ll be honoring a few of our past athletes in a way that can be seen by many — but we’ll talk about that later.

With all the past athletes we’ve seen come through our city, it’s only a matter time before the next greats come through. Some of them are already in our midst. Let’s have a look:

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Erie SeaWolves: If you haven’t caught a game, you’re missing out! With plenty of promotions on game days and top players in the Detroit Tigers minor league system, a day at UPMC Park is one that will highlight your summer.

There are several players to look out for on the team. Beau Burrows, pitcher, has posted a strong season for the SeaWolves. As the Tigers #4 ranked prospect, has a 2.61 ERA and has shined as a starter thus far.

Pitcher Kyle Funkhouser is a top-ranked Tigers prospect as well, and though his 0-3 record might not show it, he has a lot of promise as a player. Second baseman Will Maddox is currently batting .382 and while he’s not ranked highly in the Detroit Tigers system, he’s playing high-quality baseball that will quickly get him noticed.

The future of the SeaWolves looks bright, too, as three top-100 MLB prospects could see time in Erie. Pitcher Franklin Perez, obtained in the Tigers’ Justin Verlander trade, was to be playing for the SeaWolves before an injury. When healed, he should see time in Erie and will likely wind up a future pro. Pitchers Matt Manning and Alex Faedo, currently in lower level baseball, will possibly see their baseball futures wind up in Erie as well. The Tigers and Toledo Mud Huns (AAA) roster boasts plenty of former SeaWolves, and this year’s roster will prove to be similarly fruitful for the Tigers organization.

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Erie Otters: The benefit to a less-than-ideal season is a high draft pick. The Otters drafted fourth in this year’s OHL Priority Selection Draft and took defenseman Jamie Drysdale. Drysdale is a well-spoken, affable athlete whose on-ice demeanor is just as impressive as when off the ice. Drysdale led his team to a GTHL Championship and was named the GTHL’s Player of the Year.

2017 first round CHL Import pick Stephane Patry represented Switzerland at the 2018 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship, and in addition to Drysdale, four Erie Otters prospects were selected to participate in the OHL’s Gold Cup, an annual showcase event.

Names to watch on this year’s Erie Otters team include Hayden Fowler, a 2017 first rounder acquired from Sault St. Marie, and Emmett Sproule, 2017’s first round pick. The Otters quickly expected to start succeeding again and relive the magic of the past few years.

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Erie BayHawks: As the G-League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks, the BayHawks are primed to see a few promising players on the team. The Hawks currently have three first-round picks (#3, #19, and #30) as well as pick #33 in the second round of the NBA Draft. The Hawks are a young, rebuilding team, and it’s likely that at least one, if not more, of their picks ends up playing for the BayHawks. The future roster of the BayHawks will likely clear up a bit after the NBA Draft.

The BayHawks will likely be returning some members of last year’s playoff team. It remains to be seen who might stick with the Hawks next season, but the success of the BayHawks should remain next season.

All told, just as the past, the future of sports in Erie is bright with plenty of young athletes ready to start telling the stories of their successful careers. You just might want to come read them while you can.

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Ticket Delivery Options 101

by Ann Noble, Box Office Manager

When purchasing tickets for events, there are several options you can choose to receive you tickets.

  • If you are purchasing tickets in person at the Erie Insurance Arena, you will receive your tickets in hand.
  • Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at (814) 452-4857. Most often tickets are mailed out the same day as they are purchased. They are mailed to the address provided by the purchaser.
  • If your purchase is made within 7 days of the event, your tickets will be held at Will Call, and you will be instructed to pick them up with your ID.
  • If you purchase online at erieevents.com you have a few options. You can choose to have them mailed out, or left at Will Call. You can also opt to use the “Print At Home” option. If you choose this delivery, you will receive an email confirming your order, and in the body of the email there will be a hyperlink that reads “click here to print your tickets.”

Now this topic could be a blog all by itself! Please check your surroundings to make sure that you do, indeed, have a printer, and if you do…please make sure it has ink and is capable of printing in more than a microscopic font. “Print At Home” does not mean bring your phone with you and show us your tickets on said device…although in some instances, we can scan the bar-code if you enlarge the screen and have the brightness turned up.

In all seriousness, though, if you do have an issue printing your tickets you can call the box office at any time and we will be glad to help you.

Brantley Gilbert Concert

Here’s the “Need to Know” on our Brantley Gilbert concert on Saturday, May 12:

  • Doors open at 5:30.
  • VIP Doors are at 5.
  • Our parking garage opens at 5:30 p.m. It’s located right by the Erie Insurance Arena and it costs $5 (cash only) to park. Handicap parking is available in the garage and around the arena.
  • NOTE: All patrons MUST GO THROUGH METAL DETECTORS. When going through metal detectors, please remove your phone, keys, electronic devices and large metal objects. You do NOT have to remove belts, coins, wallets, jewelry or watches.
  • Bags and purses are subject to additional check. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU BRING A BAG OR PURSE. This will slow down lines as well.
  • Cameras are allowed as long as they aren’t professional-style ones with attached lenses.
  • There is food for sale here as well as beverages! As for the temperature of the arena, it’s comfortable but may depend on personal preference. If you run hot, dress light. If you run cold, maybe bring a jacket just in case you need it.

Additional questions? Just ask!

What’s the Latest at the Warner?

by Barry Copple, Operations Manager

Hello, Erie!

Another year has come and gone, and what a winter we had! Typically, we don’t do very many concerts in the summer, so there’s not a lot to report on the concert scene at this time. However, that doesn’t mean we aren’t busy here at the Theatre. The month of June is extremely busy with our local dance companies such as Little’s, Long’s, Marguerite’s, and Spotlight Dance Studios. With graduations, wedding receptions, dance rehearsals and load-in days all happening as well, June generates 19 event days. Busy, busy!

Something new to the Theatre this past year was the addition of sippy cups. I know what you’re thinking — sippy cups? — but hear me out. While we don’t allow food or drinks in our auditorium, you can purchase the Warner Theatre cup for $3. After purchase, you can bring it to the Theatre for most shows and refill it for the cost of the drink only. You’ll be able to use it again and again for just the cost of the drink. Not bad! This has been a great success for us and for our patrons, making it more convenient for all involved. Next time you’re here, ask one of our servers about it.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with a little history lesson about the Warner Theatre. It was built by the Warner Brothers (yes, THOSE Warner Brothers) and opened in April 1931 at a cost of $1.5 million. Other than a few weeks during ownership changes, the Theatre has been in constant operation. I have had the privilege of giving tours of our Theatre to many artists and their staff from around the world, and I get the same response over and over: “This is one of the most beautiful theatres I have ever seen.” That means a lot not just to me, but to this community. Erie, we have our problems, sure, but there is so much to be proud of. I consider it an honor and love being the caretaker of this magnificent treasure.

So get up and go, Erie! Have a great summer.

We’ll talk again. Until next time!

-Barry

 

Work, Life, and What I’ve Learned

by Lisa Di Luzio, Director of Marketing and Sales

Each morning, I wake up, say goodbye to my husband, and then I head home and see my family.

No, I’m not living some sort of double life. I’ve been the Director of Marketing & Sales here at Erie Events for five years now, and for me, the Bayfront Convention Center feels like home, and the people I work with feel like family.

It’s truly a pleasure being here. You’re surrounded by a lot of great people. Here at the Bayfront Convention Center and at our other Erie Events locations, we have some of the best employees the area has to offer. In my years here and in my 23 years at the Bel-Air, I’ve learned a few things about work, relationships at work, and life in general that I would like to share. I don’t think I know it all, but I’ve certainly been through a lot!

Be Comfortable with the Uncomfortable – No two weeks, two days, or even two minutes are the same at the Bayfront Convention Center. We consistently have meetings, conferences, conventions, dinners and other events that our team is involved in. The staff has to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and be open to change. Our constant is change, and especially when we have multiple events, we have to leave our comfort zones. That might mean assisting with set up, tear down, being out on the floor, and more.

During my time at the Bel-Air, I had a moment where I didn’t want to accept change. A superior had me read “Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life” by Dr. Spencer Johnson and it changed my outlook on change. I highly recommend the book!

Even within our staff we’ve had to be comfortable with change. Since January 1, I’ve re-transitioned an employee, developed others, and hired a new event coordinator. Through all of it, our staff has been amazing.

Respect Your Employees and Build a Relationship – As I mentioned earlier, my Bayfront Convention Center family feels like family just as much as my real family. But it doesn’t become like that overnight. There’s a few elements that go into it. The people I work with here mean the world to me. We have a close relationship, but the respect is also good. I set the tone right out of the gate with an open-door policy. I don’t do drama – if there’s a problem, I’m here to talk. I’m of the mindset that you go right to the top with problems. But when you come with a problem, also come with a solution. It’s easy to have an issue, but it’s more productive to also have an idea of how to solve it.

We have an open and communal area, so good, bad, and otherwise, it’s all out there! When something happens, good or bad, we make sure to let it be known and use it in the future. As an example, we had Kwik Fill come in for a convention last week. It was a home run and the client described it as “perfect.” So when Country Fair came in this week, we were able to use that as an example and have a blueprint for how to provide them with their own “perfect” experience.

My management style has been to let my employees do their job. It sounds simple, and it is when done right. That means no micromanaging. I empower everyone to make choice and do their job, though it all comes across my desk eventually.

In the end, everyone who knows me knows I’m a “kumbaya” type of person. I’m high energy, I get excited about my work, and as I’ve been told, I always have that patented Lisa smile on. We all work hard to respect each other and have an open work environment. We spend so much time here, you better darn well get along!

Appreciate Your Clientele and Build Relationships – The common denominator we all have here is doing what’s right by our building and by the client.  We have a clientele that we’re blessed with. It’s awesome to walk in and out of here each day knowing that you were able to provide an experience for everyone who came in.

When we have weddings, galas, conventions – that’s when we network and build relationships. Our location and our building help us to sell, certainly, but our relationships with people are what makes the difference. It’s one thing to have someone fill out a survey and give us a high rating – it’s another to have them come back again and again or recommend us to others. It’s the “show, don’t tell” of event coordinating. The biggest compliment we can get is when our clients come back.

There are so many times you leave here and you can hold your head high – even if you can’t do much else because you’re physically exhausted from a long day. I am so, so lucky to have the job I have and be able to work with the people I do. I’m often the last to leave, and usually it’s dark and I’m always parked far away to keep close spots available for our guests. It gives me time to reflect as I’m walking back to my car, and only one word comes to mind at the end of my day: Wow.

Graduation at Erie Insurance Arena

By Brandon Boyd, Coordinator of Communications

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That’s me (left) with my friend, Mike, outside of the Erie Insurance Arena after graduating. Apparently I had not yet learned how to directly show off my diploma.

Five years ago today, I walked across the stage at Erie Insurance Arena and received my diploma from Penn State Behrend.

Graduation is a special time for all, and I can still remember the pride I felt seeing my hard work in college finally reach its culmination. It was an honor to have my family in the crowd to see me graduate, too.

For those graduating this year, you may have been counting down to graduation day for quite some time. Well, that time is just about here, and all of us here at Erie Insurance Arena want to make sure your day goes as smooth as possible.

Parents and friends of graduates need to remember that all patrons entering the Erie Insurance Arena need to go through a metal detector. At every event, this comes as a surprise to some, but it is simply the standard at facilities today.

When going through metal detectors, we ask that you remove your phones, keys, electronic devices (including a camera to take a picture of your smiling grad!), and large metal objects.

However, you don’t have to remove your belt, your watch, jewelry, wallet or coins.

We also ask that if at all possible, avoid bringing a bag or purse to graduation. Bags and purses at any event at the Erie Insurance Arena are subject to additional screening, slowing down the entry process. Bring only essential items!

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Some tips for you to remember when going through our metal detectors.

One last note: While there are plenty of things you CAN bring, there are some items that you just CANNOT bring. Those include bottles or cans, outside food and beverages, flasks, noise makers, selfie sticks, weapons, and other dangerous or unlawful items. Safety first!

We look forward to having you for graduation at Erie Insurance Arena and we can’t wait to be part of your special day!

 

Staying Environmentally Friendly

By Ariana Malizia, Event Coordinator

Is Mother Earth as happy to host our existence as we are to inhabit her? Probably not. As a proud tree hugger, I do my own individual part to lower my carbon footprint, by either using environmentally-friendly products or recycling paper, plastic, glass, aluminum and steel; unfortunately, though, I am guilty of not always doing so.

While I am an alum of Edinboro University, I recognize and appreciate Gannon University for their role in generating GreenEriePA.org back in 2012. Through their efforts, the movement gained momentum and is now responsible for an abundance of Green activities that take place around our humble city. Their mission is to educate new environmentalists (and businesses) of tips and how-to instructions for a cleaner world and a better, more sustainable future.

There are a number of businesses in the Erie Area who have chosen to go Green. One of the which is the obvious example of Whole Foods Co-Op: Natural Foods & Café. Not so obvious examples include Romolo Chocolates, Smith Provision Company, the Brewerie at Union Station, the Erie Art Museum, Erie Insurance and so many more. Most, if not all, of the mentioned companies (and others not mentioned) are a part of RecyclErie, an initiative that provides the following items to those who sign up:  Staff training on proper recycling procedures, indoor recycle bins, a certification of participation, a window decal, and free advertising.

During my free time, I genuinely enjoy biking, kayaking, hiking and camping, and visiting Presque Isle. Other green activities consist of geocaching (if you have never tried it, DO!), gardening, swimming, bird watching, fishing, hunting responsibly, and more.

As active citizens in this wonderful community, we alone are responsible to repair and maintain the atmosphere, and to provide proper care instructions for future residents.

Recycling centers in Erie:
Liberty Iron and Metal, at 1413 East Avenue, Erie, PA 16503
Lincoln Recycling, at 1602 Selinger Avenue, Erie, PA 16505
County Recycling Convenience Center, at 1624 Filmore Avenue, Erie, PA 16505
Geosource, at 1631 East Avenue, Erie, PA 16503
Millfair Compost and Recycling, at 2301 Millfair Road, Erie, PA 16506
Dirt Works Organics, at 4735 Shannon Road, Erie, PA 16510

Grant Request Vital For UPMC Park Future

by Casey Wells, Executive Director

Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) Grant request for UPMC PARK (request was submitted by the City of Erie to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s RACP Program)

In 2002, the Erie County Convention Center Authority (Erie Events) completed a Master Plan for the Erie Sports, Cultural and Entertainment District.  This document was an outgrowth of the Authority’s strategic planning efforts and was developed with extensive input from various stakeholders, community and civic groups, elected officials, citizens, facility users and tenants including the Erie Otters and the Erie SeaWolves.  It comprises a sports and entertainment complex consisting of UPMC Park, Erie Insurance Arena and the Warner Theatre.

Since the Master Plan was completed, many critical elements envisioned in the plan have been realized including:

  • Acquisition and improvements to numerous blighted properties in proximity of the Erie Events Complex
  • Upgrades to UPMC Park
  • Ongoing restoration of the Warner Theatre
  • Construction of a 1,000 car parking deck by Erie Insurance Group used by attendees to the Complex
  • Complete Renovation of Erie Insurance Arena

The next major step in completing the Master Plan consists of:  (1) the renovation of UPMC Park (now 25 years old); and (2) the full integration of UPMC Park with Erie Insurance Arena.  The integration of these two venues will create first-class facilities that are utilized to support both UPMC Park and Erie Insurance Arena, thus maximizing the year-round economic benefits of this undertaking.  At the same time, it will address two important elements that were deleted from the Erie Insurance Arena renovations due to budgetary constraints:  (1) team offices for the Arena’s major tenant, the Erie Otters; and (2) a team store for the Otters which is incorporated within the Arena and accessible on a year-rouupmcparkgrantnd basis.

This UPMC Park $12 million grant request essentially completes the vision of the 2002 Master Plan by providing critical elements to the Complex, ensuring the Otters and Seawolves remain in Erie. In fact, if this grant is fully funded, the Otters and Seawolves each have committed to extending their leases for an additional 10 years!!!!  This commitment is enormous in terms of job retention, economic impact and the quality of life in NW Pennsylvania.

The completed Downtown Sports, Cultural and Entertainment District is an integral part of the Erie Downtown Development Corporation’s investment and provides the critical amenities necessary to make Erie’s Downtown an exciting place to live, a viable place to work and an enticing place to visit.

I hope you support our efforts in securing RACP funding for UPMC PARK.

Ignore the Weather: Things Are Heating Up At Erie Events

By Brandon Boyd, Coordinator of Communications and Client Relations

If looking out your window and seeing April snow makes you melancholy, don’t worry, we’ve got just what can cheer you up.

While the weather has yet to make the turn, all of us here at Erie Events have our sights set on a bright and sunny future.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with our very own Erie SeaWolves. The SeaWolves have already taken to the field and their bats are beginning to finally heat up even if the weather hasn’t. We look for the SeaWolves to have another successful year both on and off the field. Just in the month of April, the SeaWolves have a fleece blanket giveaway, fireworks, catch on the field, and more. Personally, I’m excited for all the Buck Nights this year. In late April, one of the SeaWolves’ opponents, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (what a name!) bring Tim Tebow to the field. That will be a series you won’t want to miss!

On Friday of this week, Casey Wells, our executive director, will have information on a possible grant that will bring funding for renovations for UPMC Park and Erie Insurance Arena. If the grant is received, the Erie SeaWolves and Erie Otters will commit to 10 more years in Erie. Talk about a bright future!

Our events schedule for the upcoming months looks promising, too, with a number of concerts and performances ready to wow the Erie crowds. Our schedule of events includes:

  • April 19: Gov’t Mule, Warner Theatre
  • April 26: Brian Regan, Warner Theatre
  • May 12: Lloyd and Layton Greene, Warner Theatre
  • May 12: Brantley Gilbert, Erie Insurance Arena
  • May 16: Peppa Pig’s Surprise, Warner Theatre
  • June 29: Dierks Bentley, Erie Insurance Arena
  • September 25: REO Speedwagon, Warner Theatre
  • November 9 and 10: Monster Jam, Erie Insurance Arena

We also have a few family-friendly events that we’ll be announcing in the coming days.

As always, tickets are available at http://www.erieevents.com. We look forward to hosting you at any number of our events and we hope you have a great time! All said, despite the weather forecast bringing us down, the forecast for Erie Events is clear skies, sun, and a whole lot of entertainment!