Small Market Meetings

MAR 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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L o r a i n C o u n t y March 2017 31 University. With 4,000 hotel rooms and a strong pres- ence for corporations, the region appeals to groups that "are interested in being in the Cincinnati area but don't necessarily want to be all the way downtown," she said. Centre Park of West Chester opened in December 2015 with a 130-room Holiday Inn and a 20,300-square- foot event center with a 9,300-square-foot ballroom. The 295-room Cincinnati Marriott North is the county's largest hotel and has 12,900 square feet of function space. Also in West Chester Township, the Four Points by Sheraton, formerly the Wingate by Wyndham, has more than 4,600 square feet in five meeting rooms. The Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park offers a variety of event venues, including a 300-person outdoor pavilion, a lodge that can seat 130 and the park's signature pyr- amid-shaped house. Groups can explore the 6.5-acre Jungle Jim's International Market, with more than 150,000 food and specialty products, and even gather at the adjacent Oscar Event Center. Lorain County To get from downtown Cleveland to the famous amusement park Cedar Point in Sandusky, one must drive through Lorain County, which sits squarely between the two. Its northern border hugs 25 miles of Lake Erie's shoreline and, to the south, is rural farmland and rolling countryside, said Jen Kennedy, interim director for Visit Lorain County. The county's largest meeting venue is the John A. Spitzer Conference Center at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, the county's second-largest city after Lorain. The center's 68,000 square feet of flexible space covers 25 conference spaces that range from small boardrooms to a 1,000-seat lecture hall. Also in Elyria, the Lorain County Transportation Center is a restored historic train depot turned event venue with a 2,360-square-foot meeting room that can be combined with the 1,150-square-foot, two-story rotunda. In Oberlin, Oberlin College is known for its music conservatory and for being a key stop on the Underground Railroad before slaves crossed the Canadian border to freedom. Groups can customize music experiences or historic tours to complement their meetings at The Hotel at Oberlin, which opened this past summer with 6,500 square feet of function space. The school's new jazz club-like music venue, the Birenbaum Innovation and Performance Space, opened in February beneath the hotel. Lake Erie's wine region also offers many vineyard venues, including Vermillion Valley Vineyards and the Matus Winery. At Lakeview Park on the shores of Lake Erie, Sunset Terrace is a refurbished 1920s bathhouse available for events. Guests can enjoy views of Lorain Lighthouse through the lake-facing wall of windows or sit on the back deck "and watch the waves roll in," Kennedy said.

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