NOV 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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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ N O V 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 56 S O U T H C A R O L I N A Aiken Aiken is perhaps not as well known to meeting and event planners as some other South Caro- lina cities but Jenny Burghardt, tourism super- visor for the city, wants to change that. "Aiken is the complete Southern town," said Burghardt. "We would love to host your small to mid-size group for a meeting or retreat in Aiken." In addition to the vibrant downtown, she said the area's unparalleled equestrian scene allows groups to include visits to polo matches and other equestrian events. Aiken, located in south-central South Car- olina and only 35 miles from Augusta, Ga., is one of the nation's centers of premier horse training. It is also home to several polo fields and top-notch horse sporting events, including two annual steeplechases, two major horse shows and other equestrian events. Aiken's primary meeting and non-equestrian event facilities include the Aiken Municipal Auditorium, which can accommodate 150 at tables, 200 theater-style and about 315 for a reception. The Etherredge Center on the Uni- versity of South Carolina Aiken campus has two auditoriums with seating for up to 450 people and access to classrooms for breakout sessions. Downtown, The Alley is a popular pedes- trian-only street filled with restaurants and outdoor dining options, and live music every Thursday night. The new Alley Downtown Taproom gives people access to self-serve beer, wine and specialty sodas. Clemson The northwestern city of Clemson is home to its namesake university, which has an on-cam- pus hotel and an on-campus conference center. The Madren Conference Center at Clemson University offers more meeting space than any- where else in the city: 17,000 square feet and a 107-seat tiered auditorium. The 89-room James F. Martin Inn is adjacent. Clemson's other accommodations include The Inn at Patrick Square, a new nine-suite, 36-room upscale boutique hotel, and The Ab- ernathy, a recently renovated and reflagged 41-room hotel near Clemson's Memorial Stadium. "The Inn at Patrick Square is a great place to hold meetings," said Perri Leuck, tourism coordinator with Visit Clemson. "They are new to the Clemson area but they have al- ready made a great name for themselves in the event world. Not only do they offer some of the most pristine banquet space in the area but they've partnered with next-door restaurant Rick Erwin's to offer some seriously decadent catering." Clemson also offers ample outdoor recreation opportunities for visitors. Clemson University has four historic homes on its campus, including two on the on-campus 295-acre South Carolina Botanical Garden, which features more than three miles of hiking trails. Recreational wa- tersports are available at the 56,000-acre Lake Hartwell on the city's outskirts. Greenville Greenville continues to thrive in South Caroli- na's Upcountry. "Greenville, South Carolina, is the meetings destination that everyone is talking about," said David Montgomery, vice president of sales for VisitGreenvilleSC. "With a safe and walkable downtown, a wide variety of eclectic, independently owned restaurants, and unique meeting venues and accommodations, there truly is something for everyone. Not only that, Greenville's convenient Southeast location of- fers groups easy access by car or through GSP [Greenville–Spartanburg International] airport, which is just minutes from downtown." New on the Greenville special-event scene is Avenue, a 7,000-square-foot venue with an in- door-outdoor rooftop space with a full-service kitchen and a rooftop garden. It seats 200 and can accommodate up to 400 standing. Greenville has 9,000 hotel rooms but because of demand, more properties are under- way. The city's first AC by Marriott, is under construction downtown. The 140-room prop- erty will be part of the mixed-use Camperdown development, which will also include 150,000 square feet of office space, 80,000 square feet of retail space and 170 apartment units. A joint seven-story, 240-room Residence Inn & SpringHill Suites property is expected to open in early 2018. Expected to break ground next year is a 160- room Grand Bohemian Hotel within walking distance of downtown Greenville's Falls Park on the Reedy. It will have an art gallery, spa, restaurant, bar and other features. An intriguing addition to Greenville's much- vaunted food-and-beverage environment is Vault & Vator. The unusual name comes from the original vault and elevator still in the turn- of-the-20th- Century building. Vault & Vator has a speakeasy vibe in its basement-level locale and offers a small-plates menu. Greenville's single most unique attraction is the BMW Zentrum Museum, the only BMW museum in North America. It also has a small meeting and events center, a café and a gallery. Greenville Venues: • TD Convention Center: 280,000 square feet of exhibit space; 60,000 square feet of meet- ing space; 30,000-square-foot ballroom The Peace Center in Greenville

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