Submitted by Thurston Economic Development Council
The Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC) proudly announces that George Sharp, Rural Program Manager for Thurston EDC, has been honored with induction into the prestigious Washington Festivals & Events Association (WFEA) Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place on October 10th at the WFEA annual convention. George Sharp joined a distinguished group of 25 individuals who have received this recognition since the inception of the Hall of Fame in 2001.
“I’m truly honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Washington State Festival and Events Association. Although I couldn’t be there tonight due to a recent hospital stay, I’m grateful for the opportunity to accept this award through my dear friend, Robin Hailstone Kelley, who has been by my side for over 30 years,” said George.
“My deepest thanks go to my best friend, Mitch Chandler, and his family for their support in every event I’ve been part of. I couldn’t have done it without you. And to my wife, Stacy Guettinger Sharp, your unwavering support means the world to me. Thank you for this incredible honor. I wish each of you continued success in your endeavors, and I eagerly anticipate reuniting with you all in the spring.”
George Sharp’s induction into the WFEA Hall of Fame is a tribute to his exceptional contributions to the festivals and events industry. With decades of dedicated service, George has held leadership roles, including founding member, past President, and frequent recipient of marketing awards from WFEA. His expertise has also made him a sought-after guest speaker for the organization.
George Sharp is a Certified Live Event Professional (CLEP) and has demonstrated his commitment to the industry in various capacities. His journey in festivals and events began in 1989 when he volunteered as the first Tase T. Lentil Mascot for the National Lentil Festival. He subsequently served as the Visitor and Convention Director for the Pullman Chamber of Commerce and the Executive Director of the National Lentil Festival.
George has managed and supported numerous festivals and events throughout his career, including the Pullman 4th of July Celebration, Mudwonderful Festival, Cabaret Gala and Auction, and the City of Pullman’s Rose Bowl kickoff celebration in 1997.
His dedication extended to statewide impact when he became the Tourism Development Manager for the Washington State Tourism Office in 1999. Notably, George was instrumental in creating the Great Idea Grant Program, which was pivotal in launching the Washington Wine Country Campaign.
Furthermore, George’s contributions extended to community and economic development. The Washington Economic Development Association (WEDA) recognized George as the Economic Advocate of the Year in 2019. His involvement as a founding member and past President of WFEA, co-creator of events like the Tumwater Artesian Brew Fest and Bucoda Boo-Coda Spook-Tacular Haunted House and Festival, as well as his role as a past President and Board Member of Capital Lakefair, demonstrate his commitment to enriching communities.
George’s remarkable efforts also secured vital financial support, exceeding $100,000 in grants and sponsorships, to ensure the survival of Capital Lakefair during the challenging COVID-19 shutdown.
His dedication has garnered numerous accolades over the years, including awards from Washington State Tourism (Georgie Award), IFEA, and WFEA for marketing excellence. George Sharp has been honored as Pullman Citizen of the Year, a United Way of Pullman Red Feather Award Winner, and an inductee into the Pullman Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame.
George Sharp, who attends over 25 festivals and events annually, continues to be a highly-rated speaker at WFEA Conferences. His unwavering commitment and passion for festivals and events are instrumental in the success of Thurston County’s vibrant festival scene.