The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.
Issue link: http://digital.smallmarketmeetings.com/i/754182
S i t k a : H i s t o r i c O u t p o s t www.smallmarketmeetings.com Destination Showcase 26 29 Totem Poles S I TK A.ORG "We're 90 minutes by air from Seattle, which makes our community very attainable from the lower 48," said Mackey. "Attendees can leave home in the morning and attend a cock- tail reception in Ketchikan that evening." Sitka: Historic Outpost Located on Baranof Island, Sitka was also settled by the Tlingets before the Russians established a fur-trading colony in 1804. Today, Sitka boasts 21 National Historical Registry sites. The onion-domed St. Michael's Orthodox Cathedral still dominates down- town Sitka, and the story of Russian America comes alive at Sitka National Historic Park, which commemorates the last Tlingit-Russian battle. Also downtown are the restored Russian Bishop's House and Castle Hill, where Russian America was transferred to the United States in 1867. Former Sheldon Jackson College, Sitka's art mecca, offers a variety of meeting spaces, a state museum, festivals and a fine- arts camp that offers year-round, adult work- shops. The Alaska Raptor Center features bird- in-hand programs for groups. The Fortress of the Bear sanctuary provides up-close brown bear viewing. "Outdoor activities span kayaking, flight- seeing, ATV tours and golf," said director of tourism Sherry Aitken for Visit Sitka. "We have Alaska's highest salt-water catch rate for king salmon, plus world-class halibut and freshwa- ter fishing." Downtown Sitka will have 326 hotel rooms next summer after the Aspen Hotel opens with 70 suite-style rooms. Another 200 rooms lie outside the central district. The 105-room Westmark Sitka provides 2,759 square feet of flexible space for five meeting rooms, with banquet space for 100 and classroom seating for 75. Located on Sitka's historic waterfront, the 72-room Totem Square Hotel and Marina offers airport shuttle service and meeting space for up to 25 attendees. Across the street is the Community House, a performance venue and meeting space modeled after a Tlingit clan house, with a stage and tiered or banquet- style seating for up to 300. Sitka's 32,000 -square-foot Harrigan Centennial Civic and Convention Center was completely renovated and reopened in October. It offers breathtaking mountain views from its 4,127-square-foot auditorium and seven meet- ing rooms. The experienced staff can help plan events, plus provide the latest in multimedia equipment and a commercial kitchen with approved caterers. Off-site events at the modern Sitka Performing Arts Center have a 650-seat capac- ity or space for 150 for a lobby cocktail recep- tion. For a unique site, catamarans moored in the downtown marina can accommodate up to 100 guests and offer full audiovisual and Wi-Fi capabilities. Visit Sitka can assist with accommodations, group room rates, meeting facilities and local transportation contacts. Volunteers are avail- able for delegate information, registration or room set-up support. Promotional assistance can include providing delegate bags, local visitor guides, walking maps and promotional items, depending on meeting size. To build interest, a PowerPoint presentation, a video or a slide show can be provided for premeeting promotion. Discounts with local galleries, boutiques, coffee shops and restau- rants can also be coordinated. "Our staff is intimately involved with each event," said Aitken. "We treat everyone who comes here like a star." Bald eagle sightings are common in southeast Alaska. Courtesy Visit Sitka