JUL 2015

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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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ J U L Y 2 0 1 5 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 52 M I S S I S S I P P I there is something here for everyone," said Yolanda Clay-Moore, public relations manager for Visit Jackson. "Whether you want to re- trace steps of the Civil Rights movement, the Civil War, music, literature, art or culinary charm, you'll find it in Jackson." Hotels with major meeting facilities include the Hilton Garden Inn Jackson Downtown (for- m erly the historic King Edward Hotel), Hilton Jackson Convention Center, the Jackson Mar- riott Downtown and Cabot Lodge Millsaps. The 105-room Courtyard Jackson Airport/Pearl opened in summer 2014 and a 78-room Hamp- ton Inn in Richland, south of Jackson, opened in January 2015. Jackson Meeting Space: • Jackson Convention Complex: 330,000 square feet of flexible event space; 382-seat theater • Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum: 40-acre complex; 40,000-square- foot heritage center • Mississippi Children's Museum: 39,828 total square feet of meeting space, with 515 square feet of classroom space • Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum: includes 2,246-square-foot Trust- mark Conference Center and smaller areas • New Stage Theatre: 364-seat main theater • Hilton Jackson Convention Center: 276 guest rooms; meeting space for up to 1,200 • Hilton Garden Inn Jackson Downtown: 196 guest rooms; 7,300 square feet of event space • Jackson Marriott Downtown: 30,000 square feet of event space Located between the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi Delta, Meridian and Lauderdale County embody the natural beauty and the long history of the region known as The Pines. Two recently opened historic features in Meridian, the Civil War Trail and the Civil Rights Trail, begin downtown and in- clude sites important to the war years as well as those important 100 years later to sit-ins and boycotts, Freedom Riders and more. Trail markers with scanable QR codes provide information and short videos about each location. Planners who bring an event to Meridian have a wide range of choices, many in the historic downtown where events might co- ordinate with the city's many festivals, live music and other activities, said Dede Mogollon, executive director of Meridian Tourism. "The MSU [Mississippi State University] Riley Center has had a huge technology renovation and now has 60-inch monitors in every room. All the presenters need to do is bring a jump drive; everything else they need, including onsite IT staff, is there. It couldn't be easier for planners!" The Riley Center combines this high-tech service with classic looks, offering Victo- rian-style decor in a building originally built in 1889. In the past year, three new hotels have opened, including Meridian's first Mar- riott/Fairfield Inn property and a Main Stay Suites, bringing the city's total number of lodging rooms to 2,000, Mogollon said. Temple Theater is another event venue and home to the monthly Sucarnochee Revue, a music show- case. Downtown also features a Blues and Country Music Trail, Walk of Fame, and an assortment of muse- ums and galleries, many with event space. Two other unique spaces for events include Union Station (still a transportation hub) and Weidman's, a historic restaurant dating to the 1870s. Meridian Meeting Space: • MSU Riley Center: 950-seat main theater and 200-seat studio theater; 30,000 square feet of event space including a 5,200-square-foot exhibit hall, nine meeting rooms, and a tiered classroom that seats 50 • Union Station: 3,000 square feet of event space • Weidman's: private banquet seating for up to 80 • Best Western: 122 guest rooms and maxi- mum banquet capacity of 250 • Drury Inn & Suites: 182 guest rooms and suites with 2,232 square feet of ballroom space plus four conference rooms • Hilton Garden Inn: 133 rooms and suites with reception space for up to 200 • Holiday Inn Meridian: 121 guest rooms with 2,400 square feet of meeting space and additional 1,300 square feet of pre- function space • Quality Inn: 107 guest rooms with event space that holds up to 240 in classroom- style seating. n Contact: Lauderdale County Tourism Commission MSU Riley Center (601) 696-2203 "At the MSU Riley Center, yours is not just another meeting. We want to provide a unique and memorable experience for your attendees." SEE AD ON PAGE 53 Carousel horses on the streets of Meridian B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : LAUDERDALE COUNTY/MERIDIAN

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