JUL 2018

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 8 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 47 Mississippi E V E N T P L A N N E R ' S G U I D E T O MS P A S C A G O U L A H A R B O R One of several small communities along the Mis- sissippi Gulf Coast, Pascagoula has a rich 300-year history and many buildings featuring antebellum architecture. Pirate Jean Lafitte, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant and Zachary Taylor all spent time in Pascagoula and considered it home, a hideaway or a respite throughout the years. Today, you can launch small craft in the harbor and travel the Pas- cagoula River Blueway Trail, the largest free flowing waterway in the lower 48 states. As a natural estu- ary, there is abundant animal life including over 22 threatened and endangered species and over 300 plant species. D. FRAN MORLEY With its year-round mild climate, delicious culinary fare, many music and entertainment venues, and world-class golfing, the Magnolia State offers a wide range of experiences for meetings, conferences and conventions. Along with a wealth of outdoor adventure options, heritage sites and cultural attractions, there are many luxury casino resorts and picturesque small towns. Mississippi Gulf Coast The Mississippi Gulf Coast (MGC), which com- prises 12 unique coastal cities, provides planners with a perfect year-round destination, said Anna Roy, public/media relations manager for Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast. "We have a temperate climate and 62 miles of scenic shoreline with astounding natural beauty," she said. "There is an incredible amount to do, see and experience here, from outdoor activities, such as kayaking, boating, fishing and hiking, to a wide variety of attractions, museums, world-class gaming and championship golf courses. And when it comes to food, we've got it all, from coastal seafood shacks to fine dining."(See Breakout Spotlight on page 50.) The MGC also features meeting venues to suit any need, including the 400,000-square-foot beachfront Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Con- vention Center, with 32 meeting rooms with a meeting capacity of 8,000 and an arena that seats up to 11,500. The communities of the MGC have more than 15,000 hotel rooms total, ranging from luxury casino resorts to boutique hotels. Now open or opening soon, according to Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast, are a new 43,000-square-foot smoke- free casino at Island View Casino Resort, the 158-suite Watermark Hotel, a 100-room Hilton Garden Inn and an 81-room Hampton Inn. The new Marine Education Center in Ocean Springs has state-of-the-art meeting facilities featuring beautiful views of the water. In Biloxi, the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art has a new Welcome Center that can accommodate up to 300 people for receptions. In Gulfport, the new Gulf Coast Event Center features a 3,550-square-foot ballroom with 1,200 square feet of pre-function space. Now cruising out of Biloxi, the Betsy Ann Riverboat offers sightseeing, sunset and dinner cruises on the Mississippi Sound and back bays for up to 70 people. Ship Island Excursions can take groups of up to 150 people across the Mississippi Sound from Gulfport and Biloxi to explore Gulf Islands National Seashore during the spring, summer and fall months. Landlubbers can learn about the Gulf waters at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, a 2,000-square-foot museum with a 180-seat auditorium and outdoor event spaces. Biloxi has two entertainment districts: one along the beachfront and one in the historic downtown. Attractions and entertainment include the historic Biloxi Lighthouse and MGM Park, ► Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast

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