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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 4 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 45 T E N N E S S E E M O U N T A I N S Karen Robertson, Gatlinburg CVB director of sales, and her colleagues are thrilled with recent developments in the little Smoky Mountains city of Gatlinburg. "We are excited to have the new state-of- the-art Rocky Top Sports World in Gatlin- burg," said Robertson. "To have that kind of facility right in our back yard just means that we'll be able to bring more people in to discover our wonderful city and everything else we have to offer to go along with that." Rocky Top Sports World held its grand open- ing this September, though the facility has already hosted more than a half-dozen small sports events. The $20 million development sits on 80-plus acres and features an 86,000-square- foot indoor facility, six full-sized basketball courts, seven synthetic turf fields, a championship stadium, recreational climbing wall and café. Rocky Top Sports World can also serve the corporate community, according to General Manager Steve Daugherty. "We have two really nice hospitality rooms, one of which is a confer- ence room, and we can offer sports-related team- building exercises for businesses." Rocky Top Sports World is managed by Sports Facility Advisory, headquartered in Clearwater, Fla. Gatlinburg has added several new alcoholic beverage operations to its remarkable array of great family friendly entertainment offerings. "Some additional distilleries have opened up here," noted Robertson. "Sugarlands Distilling Company opened up right down the road from Old Smoky Moonshine Distillery in Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler. A Davy Crockett's Tennessee Whisky facility has also opened where they're doing onsite brewing and Doc Collier's as well." Gatlinburg now has three craft moonshine dis- tilleries, two Tennessee whiskey distillers, three wineries and a beer brewery right on or just off of the Parkway. Gatlinburg's compact and scenic downtown nestled up in the Smoky Mountains also is home to Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, Ober Gatlinburg's amusement park and ski resort, Gatlinburg Ziplines Family Adventure, Guinness World Records Museum and Sweet Fanny Adams The- atre, among many others. A new retail addition is the new Paula Deen Store that opened in June. The Gatlinburg Convention Center's Great Hall provides 67,000 square feet of exhibit space and the Convention Center Gallery area is 38,200 square feet, including 18 meet- ing rooms. The adjoining W.L Mills Conference Center has an addi- tional 50,000 square feet of meeting space. "The City of Gatlinburg has maintained its commitment to environmental sustainability through several energy efficient upgrades to the Convention Center in the last 12 months," noted Gatlinburg CVB Public Relations Manager Marci Claude. "They are aesthetically pleasing and designed to enhance our guest's experience at the Convention Center." ■ Additional rooms are being added to Gatlinburgʼs 14,000- plus sleeping rooms. A new 128-room Courtyard by Mar- riott has already broken ground and itʼs slated to open late summer next year, according to Robertson. "Weʼre so excited about that," said Robertson. "Itʼs going to blend right in to our area and its surroundings. It will be a unique design with a fabulous outside courtyard, an in-house movie theater that will be set up like a living room, a restaurant and bar. It will have about 1,500 square feet of meeting space." The new Courtyard by Marriott will join existing Gatlinburg properties including the roughly 300-room The Park Vista – DoubleTree by Hilton – Gatlinburg lodge-style hotel and the 205- room River T . "The Smoky Mountains is an ideal location for all types of events, meetings and retreats," said The Park Vista Director of Sales Sharon Rinehart. "Whether you are organizing a strategic planning session, board meeting, retreat, sales or management training or team building event, our Smoky Mountains promises you the perfect surroundings to pull your team together, open up their minds to new ideas and get those creative thoughts flowing." The Park Vista – DoubleTree by Hilton – Gatlinburg boasts 25,000 square feet of meeting space. The facility is a 2013 ConventionSouth Readersʼ Choice Award winner and a 2014 "Green Meetings Approved by ConventionSouth" certified hotel. River T , a Westgate Resorts property, is located next to Ripleyʼs Aquarium of the Smokies. Chris Brown, Regional Director of Group Sales for Westgate Resorts, says River Terraceʼs downtown Gatlinburg location and its 20,000 square feet of meet- ing space seem to be the largest draws for the property. "The biggest significant change weʼve made in the last year is that weʼve converted our restaurant into Drafts Sports Bar," said Brown. "We have 17 HD TV screens and run multiple sports programming year round – local, regional, national." Several lodge-style properties can be found outside of the heart of the city. The rustic but elegant Lodge at Buckberry Creek sits on 26 acres alongside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 44-suite facility can accommodate up to 100 for business meetings. ■ Gatlinburg Spaces Gatlinburg: Rocky Top Sports World open air trolley The City of Gatlinburg has maintained its commit- ment to environmental sustainability through several energy efficient upgrades to the city's convention center in the last year. New Sports Facility, Distilleries, Hotel, Paula Deen Store, Oh My!