MAR 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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M A R C H 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 19 Bring on the Fun! Southern CVBs Present Tantalizing Group Itineraries By Adrianne Bowen ANNUAL CVB ISSUE Ever thought of CVBs and fun in the same sentence? Exhilarating mayhem might not be the first thought you have when it comes to CVBs but beyond taking care of the business side of events, such as finalizing hotel room numbers and squaring away audio/visual needs, CVBs are your best source for fun. "Work hard, play hard" is the name of the game and if you're a planner looking at Southern destinations for your next event, these CVBs will help you turn an ordinary business meeting into something extraordinary. Take a look at the fun waiting for you in some of the South's most desirable event destinations: Austin, Texas "Austin has everything planners need to keep at- tendees entertained after meetings and, of course, no trip to Austin would be complete without live music," said Omar Lozano, music industry marketing manager for Visit Austin. "Infusing the sound and spirit of Austin into a meeting program is easy. The city's 250-plus live music venues offer spaces of all sizes and local acts can perform wherever a group chooses to meet. The Austin Music Office is here to make sure all visitors experience our music scene by marketing local music to travelers and working with groups to book local bands for their conventions, keynote sessions and offsite receptions." In January 2017, Austin hosted PCMA Con- vening Leaders at the Austin Convention Center and 42 other venues throughout the city. "After the official PCMA events, attendees had the opportunity to continue networking and expe- rience the Live Music Capital of the World like locals at Austin Live! After Hours shows. Badged attendees received complimentary access to the participating venues, drink specials and the best of Austin live entertainment. The Austin Music Office worked in conjunction with local venues in entertainment districts within walking distance to the convention center, offering live music from some of Austin's best local bands," Lozano said. He added that planners can find the space that's right for their groups, choosing from numerous venues, such as Cedar Street Courtyard, where Ultimate '80s band The Spazmatics pumps up crowds on the patio at Cedar Street Courtyard in the Warehouse District. Geeky charm and bottomless energy are the signature moves behind this beloved Austin group. Other venues include: Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden, a Rainey Street locale with a large outdoor patio, specializing in sausage and bangers, and offering live music events; Maggie Mae's, a legendary venue on historic 6th Street where patrons enjoy rooftop dancing: Stubb's BBQ, with a local live music legacy that includes Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash; ACL Live at the Moody Theater, where Austin City Limits is filmed; and Guero's Oak Garden, where attendees can dance on the patio under the shade of live oak trees. Lake Charles, Louisiana Want to Mardi Gras Mambo all year-round? "Groups can be welcomed by the Twelfth Night Revelers, who will parade around in their festive Mardi Gras costumes handing the guests Mardi Gras beads, while dancing to the Second Line Stroll," said Amanda Reeves, public relations manager for the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana CVB. "Next, head over to the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, the world's largest display of Mardi Gras costumes. Tour the museum and even see what it's like to ride on a Mardi Gras float. A great team-building exercise, staying true to the theme, is decorating Mardi Gras King Cakes. We bring in undressed King Cakes with all of the fixings and then teams get to decorate the King Cake. Enjoy a Zydeco Brunch at Sloppy's Downtown to get a feel of what a real Louisiana festival is like." In 2016, the CVB hosted the Society of Amer- ican Travel Writers (SATW) Freelance Council at Golden Nugget Lake Charles. "They loved all of the Mardi Gras touches we added to their conference and thought it was great to be able to experience an authentic Louisiana Mardi Gras all year-round," said Reeves. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama "Coastal Alabama offers a wealth of activities on and off the beach," said Beth Gendler, vice president of sales for Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism. "Groups craving a taste of the destination should consider dining at our huge variety of locally owned restaurants serving local ingredients. From resort-casual fine dining from nationally recognized chefs to seafood shacks ► Geeky Charm: In Austin, Texas, Ultimate 80s band, The Spazmatics, pumps up crowds at Cedar Street Courtyard.

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