JUL 2013

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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Cover Story: WarmSpots For Winter Meetings ith warmer temperatures during the winter than other parts of the country, the South is undoubtably a smart place to hold your meetings from October to March. But what Southern locations are the best places for winter meetings with the warmest temperatures, the most year-round activities and the best festivals to attend? We asked our readers and Facebook fans to decide this past May where 50 destinations with winter appeal were up for vote. With hundreds of votes tallied, here are your top 12 picks for the South's "Best Places to Meet in the Winter." W 1 McAllen, Texas One of the most Southern points in the U.S., McAllen is part of the "Texas Tropics" and is a short drive from the Gulf of Mexico, and even the country of Mexico. Expect an average high around 70 degrees and the opportunity to explore the rare fauna and flora that makes this a uniquely tropical destination. Groups from across the world visit McAllen to view the rare species of birds that flock to the area. At the local parks, bird feeders are active in the winter with sightings of the Green Jay, the Golden-fronted Woodpecker and others. McAllen is also home to a site of the World Birding Center for in-depth education about these rare birds. And groups come for the fiesta with the ability to experience TexMex food and music year round. However, in mid-December, the flavor of McAllen is on show during the city's Tamale Fest, which includes entertainment, a marathon and yes, even a tamale-eating competition. ■ 2 Pensacola, Florida McAllen CVB y Spic It's not just McAllen, Texas' climate that will keep groups warm during the winter. Tamales are a specialty food of the area and are on the menu at many of the local eateries. w w w. c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m Pensacola CVB Pensacola's National Naval Aviation Museum is a free attraction that's open year round. October through February is the "secret season" in the Pensacola Bay area with winter highs averaging in the upper 60s and values offered to groups, including hotel properties with no resort or parking fees and free attractions like the National Naval Aviation Museum. ■ J U L Y 2 0 1 3 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ 9

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