ConventionSouth

JUN 2012

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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2012 Sneak Peek Directory Subscribe Advertise Contact BIRMINGHAM EDITOR'S HOT PICKS Heaven Or Hot & Hot Located in Birmingham's Avondale district, Old Car Heaven (pictured left) offers over 100 antique cars and 46,000 square feet of event space. In the Five Points area, Hot and Hot Fish Club's Chef Chris Hastings (pictured right) was named "Best Chef of the South" by the James Beard Foundation. ■ Why BIRMINGHAM? "We're an affordable, easy-to-get-to destination that surprises planners and others who haven't visited here before," said Michael Gunn, vice president of sales for the Greater Birmingham CVB. "They don't expect the natural beauty that we have here, being in the foothills of the Appalachians, and they don't ex- pect the city to be so metropolitan and sophisticated. Our dining scene is fantastic; in recent years, we have had numerous chefs win major awards and recognition for their work, and that is a pleasant sur- prise to everyone." What visitors expect to find is Southern hospital- ity, Gunn said. "We have that too, and we're a small enough city that when a large event is in town, everyone knows and cares about it." When the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists hold an annual conference, they need a city that can accommodate their 1,200-plus atten- dees, with meeting space for large general sessions and some 45 breakout groups. "Just the size limits where we can go, but also many of our members are with educational institutions operating on a limited Explore Downtown The historic149-room Tutwiler Hotel Hampton Inn & Suites is just a few blocks from the complex. According to the CVB and hotel sources, the 1920s-era hotel, which completed a major renovation a few years ago, of- fers complimentary shuttle service to the Five Points shopping, dining and entertainment district. The Tutwiler has six meeting and banquet rooms with 3,800 square feet of space. Southside/Five Points area hotels include the 298-room DoubleTree by Hilton, adjacent to the University of Alabama–Birmingham campus, and the 242-room Embassy Suites Hotel Birmingham. The Birmingham Barons baseball team is also moving downtown with the new $64 million Regions Field expected to open this year. The stadium is adjacent to the newly opened 19-acre Railroad Park green space that includes covered and open areas for small and large events, said Michael Gunn of the Greater Birming- ham CVB. "All of this adds up to create a fun, new atmosphere for attendees in downtown. Visitors may never want to leave." ■ www.con v entionsouth.com JUNE 2012 ConventionSouth 45 budget, so finding an affordable location is impor- tant too," said Mark D. Legendre, secretary/treasurer and event planner for the association. The association met in Birmingham back in the 1990s, but Le- gendre wasn't sure the city could accommo- date the group now—until he visited. "Steve Pierson, national sales manager with the CVB, really sold me on the city. I vis- ited several times before the conference, and I found something new on every visit. We stayed at the Sheraton downtown and held all our meetings there and at the convention center, but we held an event at the Alabama Hall of Fame, and our Sunday night party at Old Car Heaven was great fun." ■ "…We're a small enough city that when a large event is in town, every- one knows and cares about it." —Michael Gunn, Greater Birmingham CVB BRIMINGHAM is one of the most important business and banking cen- ters in the South, serving as the headquarters for Regions Financial, a Fortune 500 company. And with new options opening up throughout the city, new energy abounds. TAKE YOUR GROUP TO THE FARM & LEARN TO...GOLF: Founded in 1999 by the Pursell Fam- ily, FarmLinks at Pursell Farms in Sylacauga, Ala., has a rich history dating back several generations when DeWitt Alexander Parker founded the Sylacauga Fertilizer Company in 1904. In 2001, the Pursell family con- structed a facility that offered year-round in- structional golf courses to gain hands-on experience with the latest turf management tech- nology. In 2003, FarmLinks Golf Club officially opened. www.www.farmlinks.org TOP PICK: Cahaba Valley Convention District Cahaba Grand Conference Center (205) 443-6767 www.cahabagrand.com Book a meeting for 2013 with us be- fore Dec 31, 2012 and receive 15% off your room rental FOLLOW UP: Greater Birmingham CVB www.inbirmingham.org BIRMINGHAM IN-DEPTH Visit www.ConventionSouth.com for more about the Birmingham area through our interactive Insiderʼs Guide with maps, videos & more. Old Car Heaven Read our full on-site report online.

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