Dec. 06, 2018
Hospitality management students in assistant professor Yao-Chin Wang’s (front, blue jacket) Festival Management and Analysis class gained first-hand experience working with organizers and vendors at this year’s War Eagle Fair.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the first time this fall, students participated in a new festival management course at the U of A with an emphasis on service learning and including a festival analysis component.
Festival Management and Analysis was added to the curriculum in hospitality management by assistant professor Yao-Chin Wang.
The service learning aspect of the course centered around the War Eagle Fair, a craft fair held each October featuring more than 250 booths along the banks of War Eagle Creek near Hindsville. This fall, students focused efforts on vendor visibility at the fair.
“Service learning is the best teaching method for festival management and analysis,” said Wang. “Festivals are cultural celebrations. Cultural elements and memories of local community are preserved at festivals. Without talking to artists and feeling the real festival environment in person, it’s hard for students to deeply experience and realize the beauty and value of community. Working in a real festival is a good approach to learn important decision-making cases, such as bad weather and traffic management. The War Eagle Fair is organized by the Ozark Arts & Crafts Fair Association and many festivals are organized by nonprofit organizations. A service learning course design is a great opportunity to continue our land-grant and flagship responsibilities.”
With input from Cole Seal, media and social media coordinator for the fair, student groups managed vendor visibility for 50 to 60 booths. Each group scheduled and made posts on the fair’s official Facebook page to promote vendors.
“During final presentations, hospitality students suggested in addition to creating social media posts, they could help shy vendors interact with fair attendees or help by watching their booths when they are using restrooms or having …