Olympic bronze medallist Tina Cook was among those who attended a packed event held by Arun District Council.
It was standing room only when the double medal equestrian winner at the Beijing Olympics joined more than 150 people at the events forum.
It was staged by the council to bring together organisers of public occasions to ensure they can make the most of a year to remember.
Next year will see the OIympic torch pass through Bognor Regis and Aldingbourne as well as celebrations held for the Queen’s diamond jubilee.
The forum was hosted by Cllr Norman Dingemans, Arun’s member in charge of economic and cultural development.
He said: “There’s real excitement about next year and the opportunities it presents us as a district.
“I’m pleased our events forum was able to bring together so many of our event organisers.
“I hope our speakers and the networking opportunities helped people think about the possibilities for next year and inspired them to get involved in the celebrations.”
Guest speakers at the forum included Oona Nuirhead CBE, the London 2012 nations and regions member for the south east, and University of Chichester event management degree course students.
Arun chairman Cllr Dennis Wilde was also there. He said: “I was pleased to see it so busy with people who have lots of ideas about what they want to do in 2012.”