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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I N S I D E R ' S G U I D E By T. Wayne Waters ALABAMA ARKANSAS FLORIDA GEORGIA KENTUCKY LOUISIANA MARYLAND MISSISSIPPI MISSOURI NORTH CAROLINA OKLAHOMA TENNESSEE TEXAS VIRGINIA WEST VIRGINIA From the Tri-Cities of Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol at the northeast corner of the state, down to Knoxville and then on to the family-friendly towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee offers a gorgeous mountain landscape and plenty of superb meeting options. ■ Tennessee Mountains 44 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 4 "We have so much going on in Knoxville right now," exclaimed Visit Knoxville President Kim Bumpas about East Tennessee's largest city. "What's so exciting as you look to book Knoxville as a meeting destination or as a tourism desti- nation are the many new stores and restaurants opening down- town. The Stock & Barrel is a new restaurant in Market Square. We have a lot going on in our night-life scene. 5 Bar is new on Gay Street and Scruffy City Music Hall opened a few months ago on Market Square. Jack 'n' Diane's Dueling Pianos opened on Cumberland by UT. CitiFid-O, a cool store for animal lovers, opened downtown this spring. These are the kinds of things that make a visit to Knoxville all the more exciting." Visit Knoxville is also opening satellite visitors centers around the city including locations at the Sunsphere, Outdoor Knoxville by the Tennessee River and the UT Visitors Center. Each location will have flat screen plasma TV broadcasts of the Visit Knoxville Network, according to Bumpas. About 15 of these TVs are already broadcasting not only at the satellite visitors centers but at various key locations around the city. Pro- jections call for about 10 more to be in play by the end of the year. The broadcasts highlight Knoxville's scenic beauty and all the attractions and amenities the city has to offer. Knoxville's iconic Sunsphere is being renovated. Visit Knoxville part- nered with City of Knoxville and the Public Building Authority of Knox County to renovate the observation deck of the 266-foot tall golden globe gleaming in World's Fair Park. It's a great location for visitors to see a 360 degree view of the Knoxville area while learning about the 1982 World's Fair held in the city. The Sunsphere also houses the Icon Ultra Lounge and a separate special event floor. The Knoxville Convention Center is also located beside World's Fair Park. It has 120,000 square feet of exhibit hall space, a 30,000 square-foot ballroom, 14 meeting rooms, two boardrooms, open concourse spaces and outdoor event terraces overlooking the park. The Knoxville Convention Center was selected as the Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association's 2014 Service/Supplier of the Year Pauly Award. KCC has also earned recognition for its environmental efforts. "The Knoxville Convention Center received its L.E.E.D. Silver certifi- cation this year," noted General Manager Mary Bogert. "It is the first convention center in the state of Tennessee to receive this recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council and also the first convention center in the state to receive the Tennessee Green Certification from the Ten- nessee Hospitality and Tourism Association." KCC is also installing a covered walkway to connect the convention center to the 286-room Holiday Inn at World's Fair Park and another to the Tennessean, a new upscale hotel scheduled to open across the street in January of 2016, according to Bogert. City of Knoxville is also upgrading the existing covered sky bridge from the Convention Center to the Hilton Knoxville, which has its own 14,000 square feet of meeting space. The 85-room Hampton Inn & Suites is another property across the street from the convention center. Knoxville's largest hotel and confer- ence center is the 378-room Knoxville Marriott, featuring great views of the Ten- nessee River. The property has more than 30,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. ■ Scruffy City Music Hall is a unique event venue and brew- ery with a balcony overlooking Historic Market Square. Visit Knoxville officials re port the city has "many new stores and restau- rants opening downtown." w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m The Knoxville Convention Center received its L.E.E.D. Silver certification this year, making it the first convention center in the state to receive this recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council. Knoxville's Nightlife Heats Up!