How to Host a ‘COVID-Friendly’ Event

Posted August 19, 2020 by Alyssa Stahr

2020 has not been the year for large gatherings. Brightly Creative has seen its entire schedule change this year, having our travel plans delayed, shifted or nixed altogether due to canceled trade shows, conferences, in-person meetings and events. It’s truly been a year of adaptation, patience and disappointment (I may have shed a tear at missing my favorite show of all time, Natural Products Expo West). 

But, in spite of it all, we held our first event of the year: the National Honey Board’s annual Honey Beer Competition. How in the world did we hold an in-person event that on top of everything else logistically with COVID, included tasting beverages? As with most wins in life, the event was a culmination of hard work, luck and a ton of preparation. And, looking back, there were a ton of smiles (I swear I could see them behind the masks), which tells me the event was a rousing success. How did we do it? We’ll let you in on our secrets in hosting during COVID. 

Reduce numbers and haste.

Did this event look like it had in the past? Of course not! We scheduled it over two days instead of one and reduced the number of judges that we had in the past. The result was a more laid-back, stress-free competition filled with more time for the judges to really put in thoughtful tasting notes. It wasn’t rushed, and the room was filled with camaraderie and zen instead of having a frazzled look. 

Set clear expectations and communicate.

Judges were informed ahead of time as to what to expect. Included in the list was when to wear masks, the check-in process (yes, we took temperatures at the door each day) and what our team would be wearing. With that being said …

Bring plenty of protective gear.

The stewards (myself and Jasmyne) wore masks and disposable gloves at all times (except for eating and bathroom breaks, in which we switched out gloves after vigorous hand washing). Keith, who served the beer tastings, not only had a mask and gloves, but he also wore a face shield. Plexiglass from LloydPans was also put up between judges, who judged in pairs at the tables. We cleaned and disinfected every item touched in between the two days, down to the pencils used for judging. 

Serve great food.

The Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, where the event was held, hooked us up with a great space and amazing food. Lunch on both days was pre-packaged in boxes, and no outside food or beverages were allowed to ensure safety for everyone. There’s no better satisfaction than with comfort food, and Lemp did not disappoint.

Take it all in and enjoy!

For most of us, quarantine has been a very real thing for six months. Face-to-face interactions have been to an extreme minimum, if not at all. For me personally, this event was a wonderful way to crack a good dad joke and practice smiling from behind a mask. I thoroughly enjoyed being around the team and the judges, who are amazingly talented at their craft. I learned a lot about beer in the process. A positive attitude almost always results in a win-win for everyone in attendance. 

Curious as to who won? Visit

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