Small Market Meetings

JUN 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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Page 5 of 43 www.sma ll mar k etmeet i n g m Conference Report 6 Head North to South Bend This Indiana college town is set to impress at Small Market Meetings Conference By Dan Dickson flexible and distinct event space. The main spaces are the 25,000-square-foot Exhibit Hall; the 12,000-square-foot Discovery Ballroom, which is divisible by two; and two theaters, the 700-seat Bendix Theatre and the 166-seat Recital Hall. But the most eye-catch- ing feature of the Century Center is the 17,000-square-foot Great Hall. "You can't find a better spot to gather than in the Great Hall, which overlooks the St. Joseph River through a 38-foot floor-to-ceil- ing wall of glass," said Nowak. Man-made rapids were created right outside the center, and the sight is breathtaking, especially in the evening when the rapids are splashed with color from tall, interactive light sculp- tures on both sides of the river. To get even closer to the ever-churning water, many people use Island Park Pavilion, a popular multipurpose park and concert venue just outside the Century Center's big windows. W hen you think of South Bend and Mishawaka, Indiana, you can't help but also think of the University of Notre Dame, the highly respect- ed 12,000-student private college with a loyal alumni network and sports fan base. Notre Dame is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year and is a fascinating place to visit. Delegates will discover that school spirit and more when South Bend hosts the 2017 Small Market Meetings Conference, September 26-28. If meeting planners and travel industry representatives are debating whether to attend this year's meeting, the South Bend Mishawaka Convention and Visitors Bureau urges them to register. "It is definitely the year to go," said Lindsay Ference, the CVB's director of sales. "We have a lot of fun things planned for them, like sightseeing tours one afternoon so everyone can see the city. We can also provide additional information for anyone with extra downtime to explore before or after the conference." South Bend is on the St. Joseph River in north central Indiana, a few miles south of the Michigan state line. South Bend and its partner city, Mishawaka, are convenient to large nearby cities such as Indianapolis, Chicago and Detroit. The Indiana Toll Road (I-80-90), which runs east and west, and U.S. 31, which runs north and south, make that possible. The main airfield is South Bend International Airport. Conference Venue The Small Market Meetings Conference will be staged inside the Century Center, now in its 40th year, though you'd hardly know it. "Many people can't believe it's been that long," said Julie Nowak, the center's senior sales manager. "But we're constantly improv- ing and redoing things. We host everything from conferences to church groups to proms and weddings and anything else in between." The Century Center, located in the heart of downtown, has a total of 75,000 square feet of September 26-28, 2017 b 26 28 2017 b 26 28 2017 Parking is easy at the Century Center. The facility has 350 on-site parking spaces, and there are 2,000 additional spaces within two blocks. The Century Center strives to keep visitors happy. "The best thing we offer is our cus- tomer service," said Nowak. "We're graded on every event that comes here by the people who have used it, and we always get grades from an eight to a 10. We have a sales team, event managers, catering and A/V on-site, all to assist any meeting planner. We're a one- stop shop." Convenient Conference Hotel The official Small Market Meetings Conference hotel is the 291-room DoubleTree by Hilton. The hotel is connected directly to the Century Center by the climate-controlled Green Sky Bridge, which has a community herb garden growing along its walkway.

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