Small Market Meetings

FEB 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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February 2017 23 Centrally located and insanely affordable, Nebraskaís capital has the venue selection, entertainment value, small-town hospitality, and big-city amenities that planners and attendees come home raving about. The status quo doesnít get to be extraordinary. But you do. CARPE DIEM CONFERENCE DE Plan for more at . nearly 500 cyclists ride through Maine's rich farmland, stopping to enjoy local farm treats at aid stations along the way. Nearby in Cape Elizabeth, the Beach to Beacon 10K race is a staple event in Maine, with registration typically filling up within 20 min- utes, and follows a beautiful shoreline route to a lighthouse. Afterward, the city celebrates with a food festival. Sarasota County, Florida When searching for a sports venue, it's hard to beat a location with gorgeous coastal scenery and yearlong temperate weather. In Sarasota County, Florida, the sports commission enhances that natural setting with top-quality service to professional and amateur teams alike. "We have a track record of success when it comes to hosting sports teams," said Sarah Huffman, sports sales manager at the Sarasota County Sports Commission. With its proximity to the water, Sarasota's niche sport is aquatics, particularly rowing. Nathan Benderson Park is the only venue in North America officially approved by FISA, the international rowing federa- tion, and will host the 2017 World Rowing Championship in September. Benderson Park features a 2,000-meter course with 10 racing lanes as well as an athletic training center and a 5K track circling the venue. In addition to rowing, the park hosts events for canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, dragon boats, triathlons, and 5k and 10k runs. Sarasota is also proud it will host the World Sailing Annual Conference in 2018, which has never been held in the United States. "The area is ideal because of our wonderful year-round weather," said Huffman. "January through June, you can get on the course or in the pool, and the sun is always shining." Horse lovers might pay a visit to Fox Lea Farm nearby in Venice, a nationally recognized horse show facility, and lacrosse and soccer groups can take advantage of the 130 acres of playing fields at the Sarasota Polo Club. In the spring, softball and baseball groups often flock to Ed Smith Stadium, which serves as the training ground for the Baltimore Orioles. Colorado Springs, Colorado As home to one of three official Olympic Training Centers in the United States, Colorado Springs immediately sets itself apart as an excellent destination for sports groups. "We have over 60 sports organizations headquartered here," said Cheryl McCullough, director of sports and special events at Visit Colorado Springs. Because of this, the area has some of the finest sports amenities in the world. At the Olympic Training Center, groups are welcome to tour the training complex, visit the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame or coordinate a reception on the property. Planners can also hire one of the local coaches or sports experts as a guest speaker at their meetings. Adult hockey leagues and figure skaters gravitate toward the Broadmoor World Arena Ice Hall, which frequently hosts training programs, performances and tournaments. Of course, no visit to Colorado Springs is complete without witness- ing the breathtaking view from Pikes Peak. Though it may be famous as one of the highest summits in the Rocky Mountains, car racing enthusiasts know it as the site of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, also known as the Race to the Clouds. Later in the year, runners from across the country put their training to the

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