JUL 2017

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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J U L Y 2 0 1 7 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 13 WINTER EVENT HOT SPOTS Gainesville, Florida HOT SPOT: The Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, featuring the state's largest public display of bamboos and largest herb garden in the Southeast, is a hot spot for receptions, meetings, retreats and conferences, according to Kelly Aleman, Tourism Sales Man- ager for Visit Gainesville Alachua County. The Thomas Center and The Hippodrome Theatre are other options for indoor & outdoor events. HOT EVENTS: The Downtown Festival & Art Show held in November and the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, held in late January and early February. HOT FACTORS: Seven unique Florida State Parks and natural springs are in the area. HOT ACTIVITIES: Take the Fun Bike Tour, the Gainesville Food Tour or explore five craft breweries. 2 Panama City Beach, Florida HOT SPOT: Winter is the perfect time for groups to explore a newly opened 2,900-acre conservation park and two state parks featuring the beautiful scenery and varied natural habitats of Northwest Florida. Explore scenic trails and view the diverse and rare plant and animal species of the region. HOT FACTORS: PCB is the Wreck Capital of the South, with many historic wrecks for scuba divers to explore. The area also boasts one of the highest concentrations of bottlenose dol- phins in the world. HOT VENUE: The recently renovated Sheraton Bay Point resort offers 60,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor event space including outdoor lawns, a covered deck and private bay beach.. HOT ACTIVITIES: A new geocaching trail offers a pirate-themed GeoTour of the World's Most Beautiful Beaches. Fishing charters, airboat adventures and eco tours can be arranged throughout the year. 3 Alexandria/Pineville, Louisiana HOT SPOT: The Kisatchie National Forest is a great place for winter horse- back riding, according to Kelli West, marketing manager for the Alexan- dria/Pineville Area CVB. Additional recreational activities include fishing, hiking, hunting, sightseeing, and road and mountain bicycle riding. HOT VENUE: The Los Pinos Event Center combines the rustic feel of the out- doors with the elegance of an elite space. HOT FACTORS: Alexandria's Cultural District includes two recently renovated convention hotels, seven restaurants, coffee shops, art museums and a children's museum. The area is home to more than 100 locally owned and operated restaurants. HOT ACTIVITIES: Hands-on art classes –create a Mardi Gras mask or make an illuminated parasol. Cooking demonstrations connect groups with a local chef to create a uniquely Louisiana meal. 4

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