Small Market Meetings

MAY 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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M c P h e r s o n O p e r a H o u s e M c P h e r s o n May 2017 35 Hall. The civic auditorium and gymnasium opened in 1922 in the Kansas town just 35 miles south of Wichita. Wellington Memorial Auditorium, as it's known today, still serves the community as the town's largest event venue and "the go-to place," said Annarose White, facility director and director of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce/ Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It's been the town's community gathering place for years and years." The main hall has a stage and a concrete floor that is larger than a basketball court. The hall is partially ringed by fixed theater seating, including seats in a second-level balcony. The open floor area makes it flexible for trade shows, fundraising banquets and awards ceremonies, and the hall can hold about 1,300 people. The 600-square-foot Veterans Room is also available for smaller events. The city, which owns the auditorium, recently invested about $500,000 into ADA-accessibility upgrades and renovations, and the adjacent Heritage Park, which is also city owned, has an outdoor stage and can be reserved for events. www.wellingtonkschamber.com/memori- al-auditorium McPherson Opera House McPherson The McPherson Opera House was destined for a date with a bulldozer and would have become a parking lot were it not for the efforts of dedicated volunteers in the 14,000-person town of McPherson. The three-story, 900-seat theater opened in 1889 to a full house. A 1913 remodel added a Western-themed mural over the stage. A late- 1920's renovation removed the second balcony and reopened the opera house as a movie theater. When the last tenant moved out of the building in 1983, it sat vacant until it was nearly bulldozed to make way for a parking lot. But in 1986, volun- teers launched efforts to save it from demolition, and over the next two decades, the McPherson Opera House Company raised money and restored the theater in stages, completing the work in 2010. The restoration rebuilt the auditorium's second balcony and upgraded the seating to modern standards, so it now seats 488. In addition to reserving the auditorium, groups can also rent the theater's 1,350-square-foot ball- room, which has a prep kitchen, and two 50-per- son community rooms on the lower level. Two 30-person-capacity rooms and the lobby in the Mary Anderson Arts Center work well for meet- ings, lunches, dinners and receptions before a show. www.mcphersonoperahouse.org Little Apple... BIG MEETINGS Manhattan exceeds your meeting expectations. • Inspiring meeting venues • Walkable destinations • Delightful dining VisitManhattanKS.org Call for a free Meeting Planner 800-759-0134

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