Small Market Meetings

JAN 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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G r a n d R i v e r C e n t e r D u b u q u e , I o w a B l u e W a t e r C o n v e n t i o n C e n t e r P o r t H u r o n , M i c h i g a n 26 Heartland Meeting Guide Venues that are near or even on the water offer plan- ners picturesque settings, but waterfront sites with views of lakes, sounds of running rivers and smells of ocean air also help attendees disconnect from the busyness of the daily grind and focus on the business at hand. There's no shortage of wonderful lakefront and river- front destinations in America's Heartland. Here are some ideal settings for waterside events. Grand River Center Dubuque, Iowa Many people "don't realize what we have here in Dubuque," said Sue Moran, director of sales and market- ing for the Grand River Center, the Iowa city's conven- tion center. Planners and attendees arrive to find that the backs of the center and the adjoining water-park resort hotel overlook the Mississippi River with views of rolling hills, two bridges and three states: Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. "It's a wow factor when people show up," she said. The Grand River Center and neighboring Grand Harbor Resort are in a riverfront area known as the Port of Dubuque, where visitors will also find the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, the Diamond Jo Casino and the Stone Cliff Winery. W ater - f ront d e s - tinations connect guests with nature in a way that many con- ference facilities can't. The 86,000-square-foot center includes a 30,000-square-foot exhibit hall and flexible meeting rooms that can be divided into six spaces. Outside the 12,000-square-foot ballroom is a glass-walled prefunc- tion concourse, and outside the concourse is an adjoin- ing patio overlooking the river. The River Room is an all-glass jewel box that canti- levers over the paved riverfront trail behind the confer- ence center. The room can accommodate 80 for seated meals and is the facility's most popular space for recep- tions and VIP events, Moran said. A skywalk connects to the neighboring Grand Harbor Resort, where half of the hotel's 193 guest rooms deliv- er river views and the on-site Tony Roma's restaurant offers waterfront patio dining during the summer. Dubuque River Rides offers seasonal sightseeing tours and dinner cruises aboard its paddle-wheel boat. Blue Water Convention Center Port Huron, Michigan The Blue Water Convention Center sits where the St. Clair River meets Lake Huron, just at the foot of the arching Blue Water Bridge. It's not surprising, then, that the center's water-view spaces "are our most popular rooms," sales and marketing manager Gina Quade said. Shore Up Your Meetings Here Dubuque's Grand River Center offers sweeping views of the mighty Mississippi. By Rachel Carter

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