Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Recognized for Outstanding Event Safety with 2021 SUNsational Award

Orlando, FL – September 2, 2021 – The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) is thrilled to announce that it was recently honored with a second-place SUNsational Award in the “Event Safety Plan” category from the Florida Festivals & Events Association (FFEA). Out of a total of 170 events that were nominated for various distinctions, PBIEC was one of a select group that was recognized with an award. The winners were officially announced during the 27th FFEA Annual Convention and Tradeshow, and PBIEC was pleased to be amongst the honorees due to its extensive and industry-leading COVID-19 Action Plan that was produced and implemented for the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival.

“The entire team at PBIEC contributed to the success of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival, and thus this honor,” commented Michael Stone, President of Equestrian Sport Productions. “We are so pleased to have our collective efforts recognized, and we will continue to work diligently to offer award-winning horse shows for years to come.”

The FFEA SUNsational Awards recognize members’ innovation, individuality, and creative collaboration. Nominations were accepted in ten categories, and submissions were judged by a blue-ribbon panel representing media outlets, printing companies, website designers, photographers, promotional marketing professionals, and social media experts. Out of all the entries in the “Event Safety Plan” category, PBIEC was awarded second place overall.

“The 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival was undoubtedly one of the most challenging horse shows to plan given the precautions and changes that had to be undertaken across all departments. David Burton, our Chief Operation Officer, led the effort for our organization, and the end result is a testament to the adaptability of the team. We are all honored to have been recognized by the FFEA,” remarked Vaneli Bojkova, Vice President of Event Operations at PBIEC.

PBIEC is proud to have been one of the only horse shows worldwide that was able to safely bring horse shows back amidst the COVID-19 outbreak by reinventing how the season would operate across all areas. The nearly 20-page Action Plan was all-encompassing and outlined new operating procedures in areas such as facility access and guest screening procedures, signage, social distancing enforcement, hospitality changes, food and beverage precautions, sanitization, and much more. Not only was PBIEC one of the only horse shows to successfully run their entire show circuit, but it simultaneously increased digital spectator engagement and viewership while ensuring that those industry professionals who rely on the sport were able to continue their livelihood.

“The SUNsational Awards have recognized and celebrated the talents of our members for more than two decades,” said Suzanne Neve, CEO of the FFEA. “We’re proud of our members and their events – and excited to recognize them in this way each year. This year in particular was incredibly rewarding as we showcased the innovation and resilience of festival and event organizers throughout the state during this unprecedented time.”

The 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival brought significant challenges for the PBIEC team and the event participants, but it also taught valuable lessons and practices that will shape the future of horse sport.

About the Florida Festivals & Events Association (FFEA)Celebrating 27 years, FFEA is a not-for-profit association dedicated to supporting and promoting more than 5,500 festivals, events, and fairs in the state of Florida through education, networking and dissemination of information and the cultivation of high standards. For more information about FFEA, visit

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