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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O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 37 K E N T U C K Y meeting rooms. The 392-room Hyatt Regency is also connected to the convention center. In addition, The Marriott Louisville Down- town has 616 guest rooms, with multiple meeting rooms and ballrooms that can ac- commodate up to 2,300 for receptions. The historic Brown Hotel has 293 guest rooms and 17 event spaces for meeting groups of up to 600. The 321-room Seelbach Hilton's Grand Ballroom can seat up to 400 for dinners. The Omni Louisville Downtown is currently under construction slated to open in spring 2018 with 612 guest rooms. Louisville Meeting Space • KFC Yum! Center - 22,000-seat arena; 32,000 square feet of meeting space • Kentucky Exposition Center - 1.3 million square feet of exhibit space; 19,000- seat Freedom Hall; 47,000-seat Cardinal Stadium • Muhammad Ali Center - cultural and educational facility with event space • Kavanaugh Conference & Retreat Center - retreat facility with banquet hall for up to 250 diners; open-air auditorium seats 500; lodge has 22 guest rooms • Kentucky Derby Museum - Great Hall can accommodate up to 400 for receptions • Aloft Louisville Downtown - theater seating for up to 103 • 21c Museum Hotel - 90 guest rooms; reception capacity of 200 • Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport - 588 guest rooms; 55,000 square feet of event space • Fern Valley Hotel & Conference Center - 406 guest rooms; 15 meeting and banquet rooms for up to 1,000 Frankfort Kentucky's capital city is a "small, vibrant city that loves to host small and mid-size meet- ings," said Robin Antenucci, director of sales and marketing, Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist and Convention Commission. "We work with meeting planners to customize their attendees' experience during their stay and we work with our local attractions to provide free-time activities for attendees. Frankfort is a very affordable location for meeting planners." According to Antenucci, the Frankfort Convention Center has recently completed renovations. The center has 10,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 5,000-seat arena and 17,000 total square feet of event space. "Also, on the same campus, the 163-room Capital Plaza Hotel has completed renovations of all guest rooms and lobby," she said. The downtown hotel can accommodate up to 400 for banquets and 500 for receptions. Hotels in Frankfort include a 123-room Hampton Inn, with two meeting rooms; the 90-room Fairfield Inn & Suites; and the Best Western Parkside, with meeting space for up to 80 people. The 67-room Holiday Inn Ex- press & Suites completes a renovation of all guest rooms and public spaces in Fall 2016. Lexington Lexington is a "hidden gem," said Rich Cabal- lero, speaking of the MWI Veterinary Supply event in the city. "It has a small-town feel with a big impact. Again, can't say enough other than, go. . . . You will be pleasantly sur- prised!" Marci Krueger-Sidebottom, VisitLEX vice president of sales and services, adds that plan- ners who are looking for "unique venues with memory-making experiences will find them in Lexington." With repurposed warehouses, barns, distilleries, antebellum mansions and equine venues, there are spaces that "com- plement the beautiful rolling hills that set the scenery for your event," she said. The Lexington Center complex includes 23,500-seat Rupp Arena as well as 66,000 square feet of exhibit space and 40,000 square feet of meeting rooms and ballrooms. Ac- cording to VisitLEX, planners have a total of 169,000 square feet total of flexible event space at the center and adjoining hotels: the 366-room Hilton Lexington and the 366-room Hyatt Regency, which completed a multimil- lion dollar renovation in early 2016. 21c Museum Hotel Lexington opened in spring 2016, with 88 guest rooms and more than 7,000 square feet of art-filled exhibition and event space. Four unique off-site venues noted by VisitLEX include the Apiary, which combines Southern hospitality with old-world crafts- manship and can accommodate up to 300; the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Center, newly renovated with a 540-seat theater, museum, gallery, courtyard and multipurpose room; Manchester Music Hall, which can host up to 1,100 for receptions; and The Livery, which reflects the local horse community in a "refined, upscale urban setting." Lexington Meeting Space • Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa - 409 guest rooms; 28,000 square feet of event space with 26 breakout rooms • Clarion Hotel - 291 guest rooms; 13,000 square feet of meeting and event space • The Campbell House, Curio Collection by Hilton - 250 guest rooms; 15 event rooms for up to 500 • Courtyard Lexington North - 146 guest rooms; 1,340 square feet of event space • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Downtown - 96 guest rooms; 650-square-foot meeting room • Gratz Park Inn - 41 guest rooms; meeting space for up to 75 • Embassy Suites - 230 guest rooms; ban- quet seating for up to 500 • Alltech Arena at Kentucky Horse Park - multi-use space with 20,000-square-foot exhibit hall and 5,200-seat arena Paducah Paducah offers planners and event attendees many pleasant surprises, said Becky Straley, director of convention sales at Paducah ► A visit to downtown Lexington in mid-August provided an opportunity to enjoy this historic yet trendy city. Here are five things I especially enjoyed. 1. The large fountain in front of the Lex- ington Convention Center complex. 2. Historic churches and houses, includ- ing Mary Todd Lincoln's childhood home. 3. The gorgeously restored Lexington Opera House, built in 1886. 4. Big Lex and other horse statues on the city streets. 5. The Brewgrass Trail, a group of local breweries located in and around town. Things I Like About 5 LEXINGTON Site Visit By Marcia Bradford