SEP 2017

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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Page 61 of 67

CVB. "Put us to the test. We're used to the spotlight and will work tirelessly to ensure your time in Memphis makes you a superstar with your clients." A lot is happening in Memphis, according to the CVB. The Memphis Cook Convention Center is undergoing a massive renovation, repurposing existing space with significant upgrades to technology and hotel-quality ad- ditions, expected to be complete by fall 2019. The center can host groups of up to 10,000 for meetings in more than 350,000 total square feet of function space. It is connected by covered walkway to the 600-room Sher- aton Memphis Downtown and works with a committable room block in the downtown of 1,300 rooms. At Graceland, Elvis Presley's home, a 200,000-square-foot, $45 million complex has opened across the street from the new 450-room The Guest House at Graceland. According to the CVB, the new attraction combines museums, exhibits, restaurants and shops where guests can surround themselves with the sights and sounds of the city that in- spired Elvis. Event spaces at The Guest House at Graceland include a 464-seat theater, a car museum and several dinner venues. Private tours can be included with any event. The Children's Museum of Memphis is restoring the 1909 Dentzel Memphis Grand Carousel and will unveil it in its new 19,868-square-foot pavilion that will feature a lobby, pre-function space, ballroom and out- door patio. The Peabody Memphis, a historic 464-room hotel, renovated three ballrooms last year and this year is renovating the Grand Lobby and breakout rooms, according to Kelly Earnest, director of marketing and communications for the property. Hosting meetings since 1869, The Peabody has 80,000 square feet of event space, including 20 meeting rooms, the Grand Ballroom, two junior ballrooms, an executive conference center, 11,000-square-foot exhibit hall and rooftop Skyway Ballroom. A new outdoor attraction in the city, Big River Crossing is the nation's longest active rail/bike/pedestrian bridge. The bridge fea- tures more than 100,000 LED lights for static light displays or color shows. Memphis International Airport is also in the ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 62 T E N N E S S E E Rutherford County is the place where guests can "Meet in the middle," said Donna Klempnow, Rutherford County CVB director of sales. "At the geographic center of Tennessee, Murfreesboro has more than 375 dining choices to please the whole group. Shopping choices range from unique downtown Murfreesboro shops to The Avenue, Murfreesboro's largest open-air shopping and dining destination, to antique shops and malls across the county." Klemp- now said that history buffs will appreciate the Stones River National Battlefield, The Historic Sam Davis Plantation, Oakland Mansion and Rutherford County Historic Courthouse. "New meeting and event facilities are springing up all the time in our fast-grow- ing community," she said. "We have a new meeting space open near our hotels and visitors center in Murfreesboro. The Grove at Williamson Place is a new event venue and agri-tourism site. The main barn is 4,800 square feet, with air conditioning and heat, plus Wi-Fi service and audio-visual capabilities. A second space there is 4,300 square feet and can be used for buffet lines or overflow for larger groups. Finally, there is a 1,600-square-foot facility perfect for smaller parties or meetings. Of course, the outdoor space on this old farmstead is a true attraction for planners who want to have a corporate outings or receptions away from traditional hotel spaces." Another non-traditional spot for events, according to the CVB, is Arrington Vine- yards, which has indoor and outdoor space for groups of up to 250. "Rutherford County is quickly becoming a meeting planners best-kept secret," Klempnow said. "The inventory, proximity to Nashville and the hospitality Rutherford County CVB provides is unmatched." The CVB in Rutherford County is ready to offer assistance in finding the perfect loca- tions as well as other services, said Barbara Wolke, the CVB's senior vice president. "We offer planners a one-stop shop by assisting in site visits, room blocks and transportation planning assistance. We provide personal welcomes at conventions and meetings, public relations assistance and group tour itinerary planning. Plus, our staff can assist in on-site registration (as available), provide marketing materials and welcome bags, and prepare silent-auction gift baskets for large groups." n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Rutherford County Contact: Rutherford County CVB Elvis statue in Memphis

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