Raise the Roof raised over $7000 for Hurricane Ida Relief

They came. They ate and drank. They donated to the tune of $7,000 in the one-night “Raising the Roof for Hurricane Ida Relief” program. Patrons of four Florida rooftop bars: EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge (Epicurean Hotel in Tampa); Hi-Fi Rooftop Bar (Fenway Hotel in Dunedin); Vantage Rooftop Bar (The Karol Hotel in Clearwater); and Beacon Social Drinkery (Luminary Hotel & Co. in Fort Myers) donated half of the evening’s sales to directly support of those impacted by the storm. The $7,000 was given to the American Red Cross. “It came together fast, but we wanted to give our guests and neighbors a way to quickly and directly help those affected by Hurricane Ida,” said Joe Collier, President of Mainsail Lodging & Development. “It was great to see so many come out at our four hotel rooftop bars to support the cause, with some guests making private donations, including one $1,000 donation from another local business.” To donate: www.RedCross.org.


Two travel companies unite to create greater international adventures.


Two travel adventures companies that specialize in off-the-beaten-path small group trips with a personal touch have united to offer a broader range of global destinations and experiences. Active Adventures (Queenstown, New Zealand) and Austin Adventures (Montana, USA) have merged to provide a wider world of opportunities for global travellers. Wendy van Lieshout, CEO of the merger, said travelling today is about the destination as much as how people travel. “It’s about precious time together – creating lifetime memories, being inspired, and connecting with the people and environment around us. It’s about feeling you can trust the company you are on that journey with that all the little details will be taken care of to create the best experience possible.” The merger means more than 60 years of combined experience, more destinations and experiences in multiple time zones. Dan Austin, founder of Austin Adventures explains, “We were founded in different countries, yet our companies have very similar stories. Each business is like a family – now we’ve just created one bigger family!” Shared features include handpicked local guides, small groups (12-18), all inclusive, multi-day, fully guided, multi-activity adventures with personalized service, select lodging in amazing locations and memorable meals.

www.activeadventures.com and www.austinadventures.com

Scholarships will be awarded by Innovators of Progress.


Nov. 30 is the deadline to apply for the Innovators of Progress one-year pre-accelerator program designed to support entrepreneurially motivated students. Applicants must be at least 18, enrolled full-time at a U.S. accredited college, university or trade school in the Washington D.C or Baltimore, MD metro areas, as well as attend any of Maryland University System Institution, and be a full-time resident within the Washington DC or Baltimore metro areas. The one-year program provides up to $15,000 comprising of seed capital, tuition assistance, and internships. InnovatorsofProgress.org began the program to identify motivated students seeking to acquire an entrepreneurial mindset and provide them with financial aid and seed capital for their progressive ideas in science, technology, engineering, math, healthcare, finance, infrastructure/civil, education, literacy, and business (“applicable industries”). This program is designed to support students that plan to pursue a full-time career in innovation upon graduation. funding provided is non-dilutive. The application (due by Nov. 30) takes 30 minutes or less to complete. For full eligibility requirements: https://innovatorsofprogress.org/about/

A wild ride on the Grand Canyon rapids with Western River Expeditions.


If taking a daring river rafting adventure down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and into Utah’s Cataract Canyon is on your bucket list, you may have to set pen to check sooner than expected., Western River Expeditions, an adventure travel company (Salt Lake City, UT), with operations and offices in Moab, UT and Fredonia, AZ, says government permits are sparingly given out. Due to COVID lockdowns and record-breaking heat waves, the demand has exploded. Even though the company offers guided trips from March through October, all 2021 is booked and 2022 trips are nearly sold out. It may be easier to book Cataract Canyon if the Grand Canyon tour is unavailable. Trips for 2023 go on sale November 30, 2021.

For a catalogue or questions: (866) 904-1160; (801) 942-6669); http://www.westernriver.com/


COVID continues to be a chief factor in hosting, delaying, or cancelling an event, trip, or conference. The hospitality, meetings & events, and business travel industries continue to question what should/can be legally and/or morally done to protect venue staff, vendors, speakers, and attendees. There are no clear answers, but parameters should be clearly spelled out in all promotional materials. I recently have turned down attending events that did not mention any safety protocols, or the ones stated did not suit my comfort zone. Only by having stated policies can a fully-informed decision be made. What factors play into your decisions to host? Were safety experts or corporate liability lawyers consulted? Were safety protocols contracted with the hotel and/or venue? As an attendee, what are the factors you examine before registering?

Here is an example of an international conference spelling out their policies. Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) announced additional steps to increase attendees’ comfort level at its upcoming meetings. Co-located are the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®) North America and the HFTP Annual Convention, Sept. 27-30, 2021 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, TX. “Unlike other major conferences and tradeshows, proof of vaccination will not be required to attend, but there will be many other safety measures implemented,” said HFTP CEO Frank Wolfe, CAE, FIH. “As a global non-profit organization, HFTP has been entrusted with a leadership position in hospitality. We are a politically agnostic, non-medical organization, but we are suggesting our attendees become vaccinated if possible.” You can check out the website for the convention details on programming and registration, but here are just some of the safety protocols outlined. Daily sanitization of the meeting spaces, exhibit halls and common areas; unique design of the HITEC trade show floor, including 20-ft cross aisles; face coverings required; two onsite first aid centers and an isolation area in case of illness; all host hotel staff will be masked; and welcome reception will be in an indoor/outdoor space.

education@hftp.org; www.hftp.org; www.hitec.org

Frazier History Museum – Hall of Bourbon saluting the history of Kentucky bourbon.


September is Bourbon Heritage Month in Louiville, KY, celebrating America’s only native spirit in Kentucky, where 95% of the special whiskey is made. All month: 25% off bourbon-themed merchandise at Louisville Visitor Center. Pick up free annual guide. www.gotolouisville.com

Sept. 8, 15, 22, 29: Whiskey Walking Tours through downtown Louisville, KY. A “Looking at Louisville” tour guide shares their knowledge of pre-Prohibition Louisville and the boom of bourbon on Whiskey Row during a 10-block walking tour that starts at the Louisville Visitor Center. The free.90-minute tour is capped at 10 participants. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2021-whiskey-walking-tours-tickets-152017982879

Sept. 10, 17, 24: Hospitality & Heritage Walking Tours. Explore Bourbon history and Louisville, KY’s rich African American culture and hospitality, from prohibition through civil rights. Attendees will receive a curated Bourbon Vibes guide by historian, curator and guide Andrea Meriwether, with her recommendations about where to catch your own Bourbon Vibes in Bourbon City. Free, but register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/historic-hop-downtown-walking-tours-tickets-165274435285.

Sept. 11, 18, 25: Black Americans in Bourbon Experience at the Frazier History Museum (home of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center). Hear the untold stories of African Americans who helped make one of the state’s greatest products, Bourbon, into America’s native spirit. Told from multiple points of view, this tour will take you on a journey from post-World War II to the present.  Book at www.fraziermuseum.org/unfiltered

Sept. 9, 16, 23, 30: $5 Buck Bluegrass on the Mary M. Miller riverboat on the Ohio River. 21` & over, only. www.belleoflouisville.org/special-events

Sept. 16 – 18: Kentucky Southern Social at the Omni Louisville Hotel. Special events including an Old Forester 150th Anniversary Dinner, Speakeasy Dinner with Rabbit Hold founder Kaveh Zamanian, Angel’s Envy Cocktail Hour & bottle engraving and fireside cocktails with Peerless owner Corky Taylor, among others. www.kentuckysouthernsocial.com

Sept. 23: Art of Bourbon at the Speed Art Museum. Combines Kentucky’s official art museum with Kentucky’s bourbon for a bourbon and whiskey auction party. Curated with the support of Wall Street Journal bestselling author and renowned Bourbon critic Fred Minnick. www.artofbourbon.org

Sept. 23-26: Louder Than Life features pop-ups from popular Kentucky Bourbon brands and local Louisville restaurants. Headliners for the event include Metallica, Korn and Disturbed. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within a maximum of 72-hours prior to the festival will be required to enter. www.louderthanlifefestival.com

Sept. 24 – 26: Pensacola (FL) Seafood Festival. Produced by Fiesta Pensacola. 150 artisans for arts & crafts fair. Free entertainment. Line up soon. Apply now for to be a vendor.

www.PensacolaSeafoodFestival.com; (850) 433-6512 850-433-6512

2021 Fire Woman & sponsor Sienna Sauce bring the heat to the World Food Championships.

Nov. 5 – 7: World Food Championships in Dallas, TX, indoors at Fair Park Centennial Hall. 1500 competitors. 20+ tasting experiences. Includes 2nd Annual Fire Woman Challenge, where lady pitmasters go head-to-head in a 90-minute, no-electricity, no-menu-limit barbecue battle. Their challenge will be to craft their best barbecue dish infusing the Official Sauce of the Firewoman Challenge: Sienna Sauce, a Texas-based barbecue sauce. Day and weekend passes, beginning at $15. The World Food Championships (WFC) is the highest stakes food competition in the world. This multi-day, live event culinary competition showcases some of the world’s best cooks who compete for food, fame and fortune in 10 categories (Bacon, Barbecue, Burger, Chef, Dessert, Recipe, Sandwich, Seafood, Soup and Steak). Official Higher Education Partner is Dallas College, a seven-campus college serving more than 70,000 students annually in academic, continuing education and adult education programs. Culinary, Pastry and Hospitality Programs to the Dallas College School of Business, Hospitality and Global Trade, WFC will be integrating hundreds of student volunteers to help further their education.


Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is an active member of International Live Events Association, Meeting Professionals International and the Society of Professional Journalists. She is now serving on the 20121-2022 MPI Independent and Small Business Owners Advisory Board. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. Karen@KarenKuzsel.com; www.karenkuzsel.com; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.