A Day in the Life: Concession Operations Manager

Beth Wilkinson is still fairly new to the Erie Events management staff, but not new to the Food Service industry.  When asked how long she’s been in the business, she responds “Since I was tall enough to reach a sink.”

A graduate of Mercyhurst University, Beth has worked many years in the field, finding her true passion as the Concession Operations Manager at the Erie Insurance Arena. Events are exciting and upbeat. The time goes by quickly when it’s such a fun atmosphere.

The focus for this season, aside from always providing exceptional customer service, is trying new menu items.  This season’s new menu items are caveman pops (turkey legs), arena chips and brownie sundaes. If you haven’t yet, make sure you try one of them when you’re at the Arena.

The Food & Beverage Department has four full-time employees, 51 part-time employees and six volunteer groups.  It takes hard work from everyone to get ready for an event.  We are definitely a great team and enjoy serving our patrons!


School Kids Enjoy Lake Erie Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

The Warner Theatre is playing host this weekend to a holiday favorite — the Nutcracker. The 56th annual production is Saturday night at 7pm and Sunday at 2:30pm. But before the performance this weekend for the general public, hundreds of school children got to see the show. It’s a Lake Erie Ballet production that’s a tradition in the community. There were around 1,200 students at the first performance this morning, followed by a special performance for around 100 autistic children. If you’re interested in coming to the show this weekend, get your tickets now at http://www.erieevents.com.

nutcracker 2 nutcracker 3 nutcracker


A Day in the Life: Bayfront Convention Center General Manager

Jeff Esposito, the Bayfront Convention Center general manager, talks about local champions:

Usually when people learn that I am general manager of the Bayfront Convention Center I get lots of questions. That’s great – I love talking shop. One of the more frequently asked questions is how do you bring conventions to Erie? I usually respond by saying it’s with the help of people like you.

The Bayfront Convention Center has a sales and marketing department whose job it is to generate sales. We also team up with several other groups such as VisitErie, the Sports Commission, our hotel partners, Presque Isle Downs & Casino as well as other local attractions. We all work together to bring out-of-town groups to Erie. Yet, you have an even louder voice.

If you are a member of a group, you can bring the group to Erie. Next time you get an email notifying you of the upcoming year’s convention ask your group why are they not considering Erie as a location for the convention. Introduce us to the group and watch how surprised the event planners are after they have a tour of Erie and see for themselves all that we have to offer. You become a “Local Champion,” a person who brings a group home to Erie – along with its positive economic impact to the region.

Consider that even a small convention can bring more than $300,000 in economic impact to the region. That’s a great return and all it requires is your providing your group a positive recommendation about your hometown. So, the next time you get an email or flyer in the mail give us a call at 814-455-1260.

TBT: Erie Events Employees Team Build while Bowling

Erie Events employees had a great night team building event while trying to roll a good game at the Polish Falcons Club bowling lanes. The team building exercise turned into a friendly-competition as each team wanted to come out on top with the highest score, giving them the chance to hold the bragging rights!

action shot Beth cheryl and dave Dawn ed and chuck everyone score board

The most competitive of us all might have arguably been our executive director, Casey Wells. The teams were selected at random, but Casey lucked out when he landed on a team with the best bowler, Reine. That was essentially an automatic win considering most of the other employees weren’t the best bowlers! Martha, Casey and Reine took home the win, defeating everyone else.


It was an enjoyable night for everyone who participated!

Groupon Tickets at Jim Brickman Concert

Erie Events has a longstanding relationship with Groupon for discounted tickets to some of our events and shows. At Jim Brickman’s December 14th Sunday night performance at the Warner Theatre, we experienced an issue with tickets purchased from Groupon. We’d like to inform our patrons who purchased those tickets of the problem and apologize for the issue despite it stemming from Groupon.

Tickets purchased through the “deal-of-the-day” Groupon service are always pre-selected and set aside for shows and events. Unfortunately, the Erie Events box office staff didn’t receive the complete list for everyone who purchased a ticket for the concert on Groupon, leading to a delay handing out tickets. Of the approximate 230 people who bought tickets on Groupon, we only had around 30 of those names. That delayed the usual fast ticket pick-up service. Thanks to our staff expediting the process and the promoters holding the show’s start time by 15 minutes, we were able to get each patron in the door for the two hour 20 minute show by 7:25pm.

We’d like our patrons to know this is the first time we’ve experience this problem through Groupon. We’re working with them now to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Thank you for your cooperation and we hope to see you soon at one of our many events!


A Day in the Life: Publicity, Promotions & Special Events Coordinator

From the desk of Dawn Betza:

In my role as the Publicity, Promotions & Special Events Coordinator, I get to do many fun and exciting things. My main focus is to work with show promoters and help them facilitate their advertising and public relations campaigns. I create marketing plans, write press releases, place media buys, schedule radio/tv interviews, arrange meet & greets, etc. The bottom line…it’s all about getting the word out, but most importantly, it’s about putting butts in seats. Show promoters rely heavily on in-house marketing help since most are not familiar with the Erie market. They need advice and recommendations as to where to spend their marketing dollars, so I help make sense of it all – at least I think so anyway! Spending money on radio, tv, newspaper and online is the most effective way to get the message out, but it also opens the doors for other types of media opportunities. Promoters love these additional opportunities because they are absolutely free! They include ticket giveaways, special promotions, enter to wins, on air interviews – all great ways to extend the marketing message without any cost.

So, here is one of those great opportunities that I wanted to share with you. The Harlem Globetrotters have a program where they send a player, known as an Advance Ambassador, to town about one month before their game to do all sorts of media interviews, school visits and general public relations. My job is to escort the player to each location and to make sure each event is properly executed. While this is very interesting and a unique opportunity that most will never experience, it is also a very busy day loaded with events that start in the wee hours of the morning. Below is an example of an Advance Ambassador schedule – enjoy!!


TIME                      EVENT                                                                   NOTES TO PLAYER

5:45am                 Pick-up player at hotel                                   bring 2 basketballs for the day

6:00-7:00am       WSEE-TV/WICU-TV                                         live interviews morning news, be prepared to spin ball

7:30-8:00am       Connoisseur Radio                                          multiple live interviews on Star, Rocket, The Wolf

8:30-9:30am       Erie Day School                                                 175 student assembly, interviews afterwards

10:00-10:30am   Cumulus Radio                                                  multiple live interviews on Classy 100, Nash & Z102

11:00-11:30am   WERG Gannon Radio                                      recorded interview

11:50-1:00pm     WSEE TV/WICU-TV                                          live interviews afternoon news, also weather segment


2:00-2:30pm       Erie Insurance Arena, JET-TV/FOX            shoot basketballs to record promo, also interview

3:00-4:00pm       Youth Development Center                        meet & greet, sign autographs, pictures

4:30-5:30pm       Emerson-Gridley                                              200 student assembly

6:00-7:00pm       JET-TV/FOX                                                        multiple live interviews evening news

7:30-8:30pm       CiCi’s Pizza                                                          meet & greet, sign autographs, pictures


The Harlem Globetrotters return to the Erie Insurance Arena on February 3, 2015 @ 7:00pm. Tickets on sale now.

Check out this cool video – a Harlem Globetrotter shatters the Guinness World Record for the farthest basketball shot made backwards!


The e Cultural Loop Starts Saturday

A new, free, park-and-ride trolley service will launch this Saturday, December 13th. A downtown “Cultural Loop” will provide new options for audiences of many downtown arts and cultural venues. A partnership between EMTA, the Erie Downtown Partnership and Erie Arts & Culture, the Cultural Loop will provide Saturday evening services from 5-11pm as a pilot program to encourage residents and visitors to spend more time downtown in our cultural district. “Park-and-ride services have been a successful tool in encouraging participation at summer activities along the Bayfront. Our season ticket holders and subscribers have voiced a similar need for park-and-ride services throughout the year to our major venues,” states Amanda Sissem. Service will begin with Saturday evenings with the opportunity for expansion as interest grows.

Free parking for the Cultural Loop is located at the Intermodal Transportation center with indoor waiting in the Rotunda. The route travels South on French Street to 14th Street, West on 14th to State, North to 11th Street, West on 11th to Peach, North on Peach to 10th Street, East on 10th to State, North on State to Perry Square, and around the Square and North on State, returning to the Intermodal Transportation Center via the Bayfront Parkway.

“Erie Events is excited and proud to partner with Erie Arts & Culture to include the beautiful, historic Warner Theatre in the Culture Loop,” said Elizabeth D’Aurora, the Coordinator of Communications and Client Relations for Erie Events. “The Warner Theatre is home to the Erie Philharmonic, Lake Erie Ballet and the Erie BROADWAY Series, all of which go hand-in-hand with the Erie Arts & Culture initiative.” Main stops along the Cultural Loop include the Intermodal Transportation Center, the Warner Theatre (French Street side with access to the Erie Insurance Arena and main entrance on State Street) and the Erie Playhouse. Optional stops dot the entire route encouraging passengers to visit additional arts and cultural venues, galleries and downtown restaurants. The service runs approximately every 30 minutes between 5-11pm.

“This new service will be a great addition to our downtown,” commented John Buchna, CEO of the Erie Downtown Partnership. “We’ll be able to provide safe, timely transportation to those who support arts and cultural programs by linking them to venues and other establishments. Arts and cultural programs are key to our downtown. This new service is a way for patrons to enjoy creativity and support their downtown as a whole. It’s a great new program and we’re thankful to Erie Arts & Culture and EMTA for making this trolley service a reality.”

To access the Cultural Loop schedule and map visit http://www.erieartsandculture.org/events or check routes and fares at the EMTA website http://www.emtaerie.com.

cultural loop description cultural loop map


Beware of Ticket Resellers

Secondary ticket markets are rising in popularity, interfering with what is supposed to be a fun experience for our loyal patrons. We want buyers to use caution when purchasing tickets to events at Erie Insurance Arena and the Warner Theatre. The only safe place to purchase tickets is by visiting the Erie Insurance Arena box office, the official website for Erie Events, or by phone. Patrons will avoid higher prices and eliminate the possibility of purchasing tickets that aren’t valid.

The problems of secondary ticket markets became more evident during the Jason Aldean: Burn it Down tour that sold out Erie Insurance Arena in October. In an effort to minimalize the actions of these markets, the show promoter required the arena to hold tickets purchased through the Fan Club pre-sale at the box office and only the original buyer with appropriate ID would be allowed to pick them up. Ticket resellers, who were informed of this policy, gave their customers misinformation and many fans found themselves without tickets. Unfortunately, the Erie Insurance Arena could not help these fans because their ticket transaction did not occur through the box office. These situations will be on-going as promoters and artists introduce new measures to keep secondary ticketing companies from gouging their fans. Procedures like those for the Jason Aldean pre-sale, where tickets can only be picked up by the original purchaser, will continue. Many artists have also established stricter ticket limits on the number available to purchase which limits the amount available to resellers. Erie Events’ has a longstanding policy of an eight ticket limit, although some shows have reduced that to four, or even two per person.

So how does a show like Aldean’s sell out ten minutes after going on sale? The demand for tickets greatly exceeded the number that were available for sale.  Thousands of tickets were allotted to the Fan Club and radio pre-sales and all sold out within minutes. The public on-sale, which occurred via the phones, internet and box office simultaneously, also sold out within minutes. With computerized ticketing, every person on the internet is essentially, the first person in line at the box-office window.

Erie Events’ is not able to honor, replace or refund invalid tickets. Customers with invalid tickets are welcome to purchase replacement tickets from us, but seating location and/or price is based upon availability. Some resellers may offer money-back guarantees, but that does not necessarily guarantee entry to an event.

Unfortunately, there is no way to determine if the person buying a ticket is purchasing it for the secondary ticketing market. Therefore, it is not possible to stop those buyers from purchasing tickets. It’s up to us to educate our patrons to be cautious when purchasing tickets.  The buyer must beware.

In the best interest of our patrons, we offer this simple advice: the only guaranteed ticket is purchased at the box office at the Erie Insurance Arena (where there are no handling or service fees), by purchasing through our website (www.erieevents.com) or by calling the box office at 814-452-4857.

Erie Events 2

Get Tickets Now for Elvis Lives!

If you’re an Elvis Presley fan, get your tickets now for the Elvis Lives tour coming to the Warner Theatre January 11 at 3pm.

The show will feature Dean Z, Jay Dupius and Bill Cherry. Get your tickets now at http://www.erieevents.com, by calling the box office at 814-452-4857 or by coming to the Box Office in person at Erie Insurance Arena.

The following is from the Elvis Lives website:


2013 Winner Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artists Contest​​

Dean has dedicated his entire life to honoring the legacy of Elvis Aaron Presley, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” From his early days in Lancaster, California, to stages across the globe, he has repeatedly shown why he is one of the best in the business today. Dean became an accomplished musician during his youth and took off for Las Vegas, at 17. Throughout the next 13 years, Dean performed in Vegas, and has paid tribute to “The Memphis Flash” in Japan, Australia, Norway, Denmark, England, across Canada and the United States. Dean soon earned a spot with the World’s Greatest Live Tribute Show, “Legends in Concert,” and in 2007, began headlining the show in Branson, Missouri, where he currently performs two shows a day. After competing against 500 performers from around the world, Dean was named the 2013 Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist™ in Memphis during “Elvis Week” in a contest sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.


2014 Winner Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artists Contest

Jay was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Growing up in a house where his father was a professional musician made it very easy for Jay to follow in his dads footsteps. At the early age of three, his mom put on a record of Elvis Presley singing ‘Hound Dog’. As he listened, his eyes lit up and his hips started to move as he smiled with excitement. Begging his mom to play it over and over, Jay became a huge fan of the King of Rock ‘n Roll. At the age of 4, Jay got his first taste of live performing, he would put on white pants and a white dress shirt to mimic a jumpsuit, flip up his collar, pretend he was Elvis and put on shows in his parents living room for family and friends. Elvis has always been one of the biggest influences in his life and entertaining career. Jay has read extensively about Elvis’ life, studying Elvis’ performances, movies and singing style. He considers being an Elvis tribute artist a true blessing and a great honor to pay tribute to the greatest entertainer of all time. Jay was recognized by Elvis Presley Enterprises as the best Elvis tribute artist in the world of 2014 and is honored to hold the 2014 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist World Championship.


2009 WInner Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest

Bill Cherry is the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest winner from 2009. The Collinsville, Ill. native is the son of a Pentecostal minister, which helped develop Cherry’s deep-rooted love of southern gospel music at a young age. A life-long fan of Elvis Presley, Cherry has been keeping the King of Rock n’ Roll’s memory and music alive since 1989. With his award-winning performances specializing in the concert years, Cherry has entertained and touched the hearts of countless fans. “Performing a tribute to the greatest entertainer the world has ever known is a dream come true,” said Cherry.

A Day in the Life: Warner Theatre Operations Manager

Hello Erie,

As the Warner Theatre Operations manager, I, Barry Copple, can tell you it is not only challenging, but also extremely busy. I am asked many times, “What do you do when there is no event going on in the building?” The answer is simple — the day of the event is only a small part of the whole process. Many times I am working on and planning two months prior to the show date. For example, the month of December is very busy. We are just coming out of a two day run of our Warner Winter Wonderland Art & Craft show; I am now, and have been for a number of weeks, taking care of production needs for the show Straight No Chaser, who performed at the Warner on December 4th; two Erie Philharmonic Christmas performances December 6th; the Broadway show “Sister Act” December 8th; a private Christmas party in the grand lobby on the 12th; a concert with Jim Brickman on the 14th; the Fresh Beat Band concert the 16th; the Lake Erie Ballet “The Nutcracker” moving in on the 17th for five days and three performances through the 21st; two church services on Christmas Eve put on by Grace Church; a large private Christmas party in the Grand Lobby for 250 people on the 27th. Keeping in mind, each event has it’s own contact person, production, staffing, stage and building needs. At times, I am dealing with six, seven, eight or even nine different production people while coordinating nine different events all at the same time. So you can see how difficult it can become if you are not organized and have a good staff under you to help you facilitate all the demands placed on the facility and myself.

Straight No Chaser 2 Straight No Chaser 3

Some of the logistical challenges we face recently was moving 2,200 school children through the theatre for an Erie Philharmonic performance that arrived in 36 buses. My job is to make sure those children get in and out of the building safely, back on the correct bus, while also moving another 1,500 kids in the front door and parking another 25 buses for a second performance — all within 1/2 hour.


Last but not least, along with coordinating production for events, we still have a facility to take care of as well; regular maintenance items and cleaning all have to be taken care of on a daily/weekly basis. Take a look at the number of keys I carry with me daily!

barry's keys

It’s a challenging career, but I couldn’t ask to work in a more beautiful, historic building helping put on events that the community gets to enjoy! I hope you can “Get Up and Go!” to one of our many upcoming events.

That’s it for now folks, I’ll have plenty more to discuss next time, so until then, take care and we’ll talk again!