Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine November/December 2021 Issue

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MID-ATLANTIC

EVENTS November | December 2021

Think Tanks, Focus Groups, Return On Relationships Are In! Visit Delco, PA, Drexelbrook and Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine hosting a Think Tank Talk dinner



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MAKE YOUR NEXT EVENT SHINE A LITTLE BRIGHTER. Mohegan Sun Pocono is excited to welcome you back and has ample space and resources to make your next event a huge success! With property-wide safety and wellness initiatives, customizable menus, and physical-distancing floorplans, your guests will enjoy a first-class, in-person experience like never before. Book your event today at mohegansunpocono.com or call 1-855-MEET-MSP.

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CONTENTS Nov z Dec 2021

MID-ATLANTIC

EVENTS November | December 2021

Visit Delco, PA, Drexelbrook and Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine hosting a Think Tank Talk dinner PAGE 40

, Think Tanks, Focus Groups In! e Return On Relationships Ar

PAGE 10 - Lakeside Grille at Rocky Gap Resort and Casino in Flintstone, MD

FEATURES

10

ok and Mid-Atlantic Events

Visit Delco, PA, Drexelbro

Magazine hosting a Think

Tank Talk dinner

Custom Events at Casino Resorts Opportunities for custom group experiences at casinos

24

Spaces and Places with a Rich History Regional venues and destinations with ties to history

34

CVBs and DMOs – Here to Help! One-stop destination resources offerings so much for planners

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Better Serving the LGBT+ Community Some ways that all of us can be better allies

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Culinary Tours Group dining experiences and food-related team building

PAGE 34 - The Pocono Mountains CVB helps planners in a wide range of ways, serving as a destination resource for its many resorts and towns, including Jim Thorpe, PA.

PAGE 78 - Experiential events for groups like those hosted at La Cucina at the Market are the hot activities going into 2022. 8

November z December 2021

EVENTS EXTRAS

40 Return on Relationships 46 Guest Experiences: Hotels and Event Venues LOCATiON REPORTS 50 Bucks County, PA 56 Chester County, PA 60 Delaware County, PA 66 Montgomery County, PA 70 Philadelphia, PA 82 EventMakers 84 Around The Region EVENTSWORTHy 88 Live! Casino Hotel Philadelphia Event Center Opening 89 Meet Me in Delco


Mid-Atlantic Events Staff PUBLISHER & EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jim Cohn MANAGING EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rich Kupka DESIGN & PRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . .Dana Kurtbek-MME Media FEATURES EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Lydia Young TRAVEL EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ken Alan EVENTS DIRECTOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jennifer Johnson CONTROLLER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Robert Conrad CONTENT CONTRIBUTIONS BY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Elena Gaudino, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Maggie Trabucco, Angela Tuell

ADVERTISING & SALES 215-947-8600 ad-sales@eventsmagazine.com

EDITORIAL OFFICES 1800 Byberry Rd Ste 901, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006 215-947-8600 editor@eventsmagazine.com Opinions expressed in editorial submissions contributed to Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine are those of the individual authors exclusively and do not represent the opinions of Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine, its staff, its advertisers, or its readership. Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine and Tri-State Events Magazine, Inc. assume no liability or responsibility for independently contributed editorial submissions or any typographical errors, mistakes, misprints, or missing information within advertising copy.

- Chester County Conference & Visitors Bureau - Discover Lancaster

MEETINGS WITH A SIDE OF VITAMIN SEA From corporate retreats to big time concerts to antique car shows, and everything in between, it’s no wonder year after year meeting and event planners choose the Wildwoods Convention Center!

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Philadelphia, North Jersey & Washington DC - Meeting Professionals International – Middle Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Philadelphia & Potomac - Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives - National Association of Catering Executives – Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey - Ocean City, MD Convention and Visitors Bureau - Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association - Pennsylvania Society of Association Executives - PHL CVB - Pocono Mountains Convention & Visitors Bureau

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Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine is the bi-monthly, Mid-Atlantic publication, bringing information about the Hospitality and Meeting Industry to Meeting, Seminar, Trade Show, Overnight Accommodation, Special Event, Conference, Convention, for Association, Corporate, Group and Individual Planners along with Hotel, Resort, Conference Center, Attraction, Banquet Facility General Managers, Directors of Sales, Catering and Conference Services. Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine (ISSN 0896-3967), is published bi-monthly by Tri-State Events Magazine, Inc. Copyright 2021 by Tri-State Events Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved.

Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine 1800 Byberry Road, STE 901 Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006 215-947-8600 www.eventsmagazine.com

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To schedule your next meeting or event,

800-992-9732 | WildwoodsCC.com

Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine

Mid-Atlantic EVENTS Magazine

9


Custom

at Casino

Conference Center at Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ


m Events

o Resorts Those seeking all-under-one-roof destinations for group outings and events will find that casino resort properties present the perfect solution. Many casino properties are home to everything from entertainment and nightlife to fine dining and ample meeting space to relaxing spas and luxurious accommodations. These features and amenities collectively represent the diverse offerings available on site at casino resorts, but they are only part of the picture. Many of these venues also present opportunities to engage attendees with unique and sometimes one-of-a-kind group offerings, customized events, activities and more.

Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, NJ

“There is a unique area for socializing in Izakaya, Michael Schulson’s Japanese-inspired gastro-pub and sake bar, while Angeline, created by Iron Chef and James Beard Award winner Michael Symon, presents classic Italian fare.” - Mark Stavitski, Borgata Hotel Casino

At Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa and The Water Club in Atlantic City, NJ, the casino provides a creative environment to inspire and motivate attendees of any event, explains Mark Stavitski, executive director hotel sales for the property. “Our legendary luxury service and attention to detail begins with the very first consultation.” He adds that Borgata is able to tailor its function spaces to what each individual meeting or event planner envisions. Examples include: creating an intimate sunset reception in the Immersion Spa space on the 32nd floor of The Water Club; transforming the 30,000-square foot Borgata Event Center into a large-scale themed gala accommodating colorful productions such as Wizard of Oz or Moulin Rouge; developing team building activities and open-air events at the Borgata Outdoor Pool and Borgata Beer Garden; and creating a dramatic and radiant attraction by covering The Water Club Indoor Pool in Lucite for an illuminated dance-on-water effect surrounded by plants and palms to provide ambience and uplighting that resembles a tropical atrium. Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa has a variety of spacious venues, whether planners are expecting 10 or 3,500 attendees. “We have the resources and technology to make any event happen, with the flexibility to arrange accommodations to suit any occasion,” assures Stavitski. Primary spaces include the aforementioned versatile Borgata Event Center with a full-sized performance grade stage built on hydraulics allowing for flexibility in stage height; the 18,000-square foot bi-level Central Conference Center, which also is highly-customizable and includes five meeting rooms, a boardroom and a clear-span ballroom - all outfitted with top-grade technology and supported by experienced audio-visual technicians; as well as The Water Club’s contemporary and inventive space with nine meeting rooms and four boardrooms, plus a fully staffed and fully equipped business center.

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THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE THIS PLACE Escape to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and experience everything this true luxury destination resort has to offer. Spacious hotel rooms, dining options to suit every palate, several indoor and outdoor pools, 2 award winning spas and over three acres of nonstop, heart-pounding, pulse racing casino action. You don’t have to go far to get away. Come see why There’s No Place Like This Place.

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service. Planners can create custom menus from each restaurant’s a la carte menu. There is a unique area for socializing in Izakaya, Michael Schulson’s Japanese-inspired gastro-pub and sake bar, while Angeline, created by Iron Chef and James Beard Award winner Michael Symon, presents classic Italian fare. Old Homestead Steak House also boasts private dining rooms and personal service. Adds Stavitski, “our newest venue, American Bar and Grille, serves classic American grilling with globally influenced flavors from Japan, Italy, Germany and beyond for 12 at the Chef’s Table or up to 80 guests for private events.” For those who want to add entertainment as part of their event, Borgata’s entertainment department can work with planners to add talent. Some A-Listers hired have included Pat Benatar, Huey Lewis and the News, Earth Wind and Fire, and The Temptations. “With unsurpassed luxury and exceptional function space, our stunning East Coast hotel offers the perfect backdrop for memorable meetings and events,” exclaims Stavitski. “Here, everything from top-tier entertainment and Vegas-style gaming to spa services and world-class dining set an unforgettable stage to mix business with pleasure.” The Prime Rib at Live! Casino Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia recently celebrated the and Hotel Philadelphia, PA opening of the new Live! Event Center, a 15,000-square foot meeting, event and convention space that already has “In addition, a number of our public venues can be privahosted meetings, weddings, boxing, and a magic show. tized,” notes Stavitski. “Borgata's nightlife venues, including Soon it will host larger scale entertainment like concerts Premier Nightclub and Gypsy Bar, provide unique settings and comedians, too. for large event gatherings or parties. Plus, each restaurant, bar, lounge, outdoor venue, and even the Music Box Theater Whether planning a one-day meeting or a multi-day conferwith seating for up to 900 people can be rented out and ence, the experienced event planners at Live! can handle transformed to fit any need.” every detail. The Event Center at Live! can host everything When it comes to dining, whether for an executive luncheon or a formal affair, Borgata’s professional catering team and chefs, alongside on-site meeting planners, can customize menus for any occasion. “We work directly with our clients to bring their vision to fruition and the sky's the limit with what we’re able to offer,” Stavitski says. As an example, the property can offer five-course tasting menus highlighting seasonal and local specialties paired with wines selected by Borgata’s own sommelier. The property’s fine dining establishments boast a variety of group options that can accommodate parties in addition to private rooms for added intimacy with elevated, personal 14 november z December 2021

from small to large-scale events. Its Market Ballroom features a high-tech performance stage and an 18-foot ceiling with modern light fixtures and a maximum capacity of 1,000. The Liberty Room, with a capacity of 100, offers a distraction free setting for breakout sessions and smaller meetings. The Rittenhouse Room pairs easy access with high-tech amenities to accommodate groups up to 100 people, as well. In September, Live! hosted one of the area’s first in-person galas - The Head Strong Foundation’s annual Lime Light Gala. “The room was decorated in lime green to set the stage for a night recognizing contributors to finding a cure for cancer. A huge silent auction was held during the event,


which helped raise funds. In addition, we helped kick off Hispanic Heritage Month as the host of the Hispanic Heritage Gala where guests enjoyed live entertainment and fun throughout the evening,” notes Kelley Maddox, VP of sales for Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia. Meetings can be taken “sky high” with rooftop event rentals atop the property’s parking structure for one-of-akind outdoor gatherings with amazing views of the city skyline and surrounding Stadium District, as well. In addition to the meeting space in the Live! Event Center, guests hosting an event will have access to the many amenities that make Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia a truly all-inclusive and versatile meeting destination. The property features the 208-room luxury

Live! Hotel, ample on-site covered parking, gaming and nightly entertainment. The property also features 11 exciting dining destinations, including the Zagat-rated #1 steakhouse The Prime Rib, as well as customized catering for all needs. Live! Philadelphia can offer an assortment of team building opportunities, too, like learning table games such as blackjack, taking an art walk in the building, participating in chef tastings and more. “We also offer private event spaces at restaurants: The Prime Rib, Luk Fu and Sports & Social,” says Maddox. The Prime Rib, one of Philadelphia’s most coveted restaurants, offers multiple luxury private spaces perfect for any occasion. Thoughtful details allow flexible use of space to ensure that every

event maintains the highest standards of quality and style. Luk Fu, an Asian fusion restaurant, is equipped with two private rooms that even offer karaoke. The venue features street art designs, graffiti-style murals and neon lights - all complemented by a robust menu, cocktail list and selections of sake. Sports & Social, the ultimate sports fan clubhouse, features versatile space including state-of-the-art AV system, 52foot LED display, 24 televisions, booths, lounge areas, and a FanDuel Sportsbook and Lounge. “Whether planning a one-day meeting or a multi-day conference, our seasoned event planners at Live! will handle every detail including the creation of custom menus,” Maddox explains.

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“We can host a dine around the casino event, where our team will bring guests light bites and flavors of The Prime Rib, Luk Fu, Sports and Social, and Termini Brothers to their meeting room.” Want to host a holiday event with craft seasonal cocktails? Live! Philadelphia has something for everyone with its high-end crafted cocktail menu. All of the on-site event spaces are all equipped with state-of-the-art technology and can play host to all forms of entertainment. “Our Market Ballroom can accommodate a large stage, which is perfect for live performances. Our talented team is happy to make recommendations for local vendors and entertainment partners,” suggests Maddox. Mount Airy Casino Resort boasts a 20,000-square foot meeting and convention center and ballroom that is a multi-functional, state-of-the-art venue for banquets, private and corporate events, weddings and entertainment. The outdoor deck at the clubhouse of Mount Airy’s nationally recognized golf course is ideal for outdoor corporate events, dinners and receptions. This deck overlooks the picturesque Pocono Mountains, and the patio is a great choice for seated groups of up to 100 people. In addition, Mount Airy also boasts a 15,000-square foot tented area for a large gatherings like trade shows and concerts. “From small to large gatherings, our experienced team can help plan your family reunion, anniversary party or any other private event,” explains Glenn Cademartori, vice president of marketing for Mount Airy Casino Resort. 16 november z December 2021

When it comes to food and beverage, Mount Airy’s Executive Chef helps to ensure flawless events from a simple continental breakfast to a formal multicourse dinner. “We’re continuously thinking outside of the box to ensure every event is a success, and our experienced team can help plan entertainment whether it’s a favorite band, dancers or magician,” explains Cademartori. As a full-service resort destination in the Pocono Mountains, Mount Airy Casino Resort offers everything guests would expect from a high-end resort and the staff and experience needed for an unforgettable event. The property’s amenities further enhance the resort as an events and wedding destination with a full-service spa, celebrity chef restaurants, championship golf course, indoor and outdoor swimming pool, casino and nightlife. In Uncasville, Connecticut, Miss America is returning to Mohegan Sun this December, having taken place at Mohegan Sun for the first time in December of 2019. “It was an incredible week of events, which culminated with the nationally televised finals inside the award-winning, 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena,” recalls John Washko, VP of exhibitions and convention sales floor at Mohegan Sun. “Leading up to that historic evening in which Camille Shrier took home the crown, there were various preliminary competitions that took place in the Earth Expo and Convention Center. Working alongside Miss America, our Mohegan Sun team knocked it out of the park, turning Earth Expo into a spectacular competition event space, and we can’t wait to do it again.”

Earth Expo also has hosted unique events like AAU Basketball Tournaments, full-scale boat shows and even Gamer-Con events, as well. In addition to producing world-class events, Mohegan Sun is a top destination for live entertainment. “When a group of people needs to unwind after a long day at work or are seeking a place to convene after a meeting, they will discover a world of entertainment at their fingertips,” assures Washko. “Whether you want built-in entertainment, such as bowling or pool at Game On, live concerts from today's top bands, or Country line dancing and mechanical bull riding at Comix Roadhouse, Mohegan Sun has a venue for every type of event.” With ten indoor venues and five outdoor options, Mohegan Sun has unique venues for events of all sizes, allowing their on-site event planners to create one-of-a-kind, themed parties without incurring the additional costs of décor or transportation to an outside location. “Every minute counts in meetings that are getting shorter,” cautions Washko. “Having these options readily available on-property allows groups to maximize their time for both teaching and networking at their event.” The event experiences at Mohegan Sun extends into some of the resort’s premier restaurants and lounges, too, with 16 private dining rooms all under one roof that cater to groups of various sizes, dining styles and cuisines, allowing for the convenience and ease of arranging a dine-around with the many options available. The Mohegan Sun team can guide clients in selecting the perfect setting for their private dining experience or unique event.


THE PERFEC T MEETING PL ACE

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Rustic Kitchen at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, PA

Mohegan Sun Pocono (MSP) turns 15 in November and, to commemorate this milestone, full bands are returning to Breakers, one of the top Live Music Bars in Pennsylvania, and MSP also is rolling out an Anniversary Extravaganza on November 14th where one lucky Momentum casino club member will be selected every 15 minutes to win $1,500 in free slot play with a grand prize winner taking home a $15,000 cash prize at the end of the night. More information about Mohegan Sun Pocono’s 15th Anniversary Festivities can be found online at: www.mohegansunpocono.com/ 15th-anniversary.html

“Our team is more than happy to explore entertainment possibilities with group planners, as Mohegan Sun is home to various exciting venues regularly featuring live entertainment,” explains Washko. “The highest profile venue would certainly be the Mohegan Sun Arena, which hosts well over 100 concerts and sporting events per year, and allows for group outings to easily add in a concert or sporting event to their schedule. Mohegan Sun Arena has multiple luxury suites available for buyouts as well that clients have really enjoyed utilizing. Additionally, Mohegan Sun is home to top-touring comedy and local live music at Comix Roadhouse, up-and-coming Country music, as well as a variety of other great styles, inside the legendary Wolf Den, with even more live entertainment possibilities at Lansdowne Irish Pub and Music House and the popular ultra-lounge, novelle.” Event experiences at Mohegan Sun extend into some of the resort’s premier restaurants and lounges, too, with 16 private dining rooms all under one roof that cater to groups of various sizes, dining styles and cuisines, allowing for the convenience and ease of arranging a dinearound with many options available. The Mohegan Sun team can guide clients in selecting the perfect setting for their private dining experience or unique event. “Our team is more than happy to explore entertainment possibilities with group planners, as Mohegan Sun is home

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ONE OF A KIND EVENT. MOHEGAN SUN KIND OF EXPERIENCE.

SHARECARE HEALTH SECURITY VERIFIED® WITH FORBES TRAVEL GUIDE With an award-winning staff and an unmatched variety of dining and entertainment options, Resorts Casino Hotel is the one of a kind choice for your next event. Let us help you plan your own one of a kind experience in our 64,000 square feet of 昀exible space, with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. All in one of the most acclaimed locations anywhere, the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk, and featuring the quality, service and style of a Mohegan Sun property. Just minutes from two international airports.

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Special meeting offer valid through March 2022 • • • • • • • •

10% Discount on entire Catering Menu 20% off Audiovisual 10% of Room Block upgraded to Suites Complimentary Meeting Space Complimentary Wireless Internet in Guest Rooms Complimentary Wireless Internet in Banquet Rooms No Attrition Complimentary Access to our Cardio Room/Indoor Pool

ONE OF A KIND.


Rocky Gap Back Porch, Flintstone, MD

livers on fun and creativity, too. All of the planning, decorating and implementation is handled in-house.

to various exciting venues regularly featuring live entertainment,” explains Washko. “The highest profile venue would certainly be the Mohegan Sun Arena, which hosts well over 100 concerts and sporting events per year, and allows for group outings to easily add in a concert or sporting event to their schedule. Mohegan Sun Arena has multiple luxury suites available for buyouts, as well, that clients have really enjoyed utilizing. Additionally, Mohegan Sun is home to top-touring comedy and local live music at Comix Roadhouse, up-and-coming Country music, plus a variety of other great styles inside the legendary Wolf Den, with even more live entertainment possibilities at Lansdowne Irish Pub and Music House and at the popular ultra-lounge, novelle.” Mohegan Sun boasts two massive convention centers, award-winning entertainment venues, non-stop gaming action, world-class hotel accommodations, and more than 40 dining options, including the all-new TAO Asian Bistro and Lounge, plus shopping and more. Many of these amenities can be used for any private or professional group outing on-site. The team at Mohegan Sun Pocono has hosted a variety of innovative events, including an outdoor wedding overlooking the racetrack, using outdoor 20 november z December 2021

veranda space for cocktail parties, and bringing the "outside" inside with a tailgate BBQ replete with activities like cornhole and Giant Jenga, notes Sarah Farrell, director of sales and catering for Mohegan Sun Pocono. She continues, “Hosting an event at Mohegan Sun Pocono guarantees your guests a wonderful mix of business and pleasure. With the casino, sportsbook and fine dining establishments to start, we add in more fun with our live harness racing, comedy club and live cooking show experiences, plus the weekend highlights of Breakers nightclub and Bar Louie featuring live entertainment. Many groups are adding on fun party activities to their events that work well both indoors and outdoors.” In addition, the culinary and sales teams at Mohegan Sun Pocono work one-on-one with planners to customize events based on the group’s vision. “We look at the group size, agenda and food and beverage to create a customized program that fits the needs of the group while encouraging meeting safely,” Farrell notes. At Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, group guests enjoy cutting-edge audio-visual technology and quiet spaces for serious meetings in the onsite conference center, but when it comes time to party, Resorts truly de-

Since no third parties are required, meeting planners can stick to their budget while still hosting memorable group events, says Ritambra Verma, director of sales and revenue management for Resorts Casino Hotel. “Guests can enjoy tropical themed gatherings at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and LandShark Bar and Grill. Each venue offers a change of pace and laid-back fun. Ballpark stadium stations can be set up around the room, providing attendees with a unique culinary experience at each stop.” There are various venues available for corporate and private gatherings at Resorts Casino Hotel, including its 13,000-square foot Ocean Ballroom and 12,000-square foot Atlantic Ballroom. Superstar Theater can seat 850 people for a banquet and 1,300 for a large meeting or concert with a catering menu that is completely customizable. “We can customize our menu to fit client budget needs,” explains Verma. “We also offer an All-Inclusive Meeting Package, which gives attendees the opportunity to eat at different restaurants on property.” When it comes to entertainment and dining, the property features an expansive and award-winning casino, a sportsbook, plus numerous restaurants. In addition, guests can add to their event from an impressive selection of DJs, bands, comedians, magicians, motivational speakers, and dancers. Groups can expect an elevated experience across all of Resorts’ property offerings. “A world-class level of service is provided to all guests through ex-


Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, NJ

ceptional attention to detail,” says Verma. Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City is a very unique property with an abundance of on-site venues and locations that are ideal for all shapes, sizes and types of events. “I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of some really creative events, including clam bakes on our Cabana Level, a luau in Topgolf Swing Suite, caviar tasting in Dolce Mare, wine pairing in Blush Wine Bar, and even a carnival in The Park,” recalls Peter Ciccone, senior vice president of hotel sales for Ocean Casino Resort. “Topgolf is one of my favorite options for planners looking to book an event for groups between 40 and 400 people,” he explains. “The space features amazing floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean, a new and fun food and beverage menu, and its signature private bays with a selection of exciting virtual games such as golf, baseball, hockey and even zombie dodgeball. It’s a great spot for groups as well as families to enjoy.”

Whether it’s business or pleasure, celebrate the season at Ocean Casino Resort and plan your holiday party at one of our venues. With locations for 15–1,200 guests, Ocean makes any special occasion memorable.

OCEAN MEETING ROOMS OVATION HALL

Also available are any of our world-class restaurants including American Cut, Amada, Dolce Mare and Villain & Saint. FOR AVAILABILITY AND PRICING, PLEASE CONTACT: sales@theOceanAC.com l 609-783-8300 theOceanAC.com l Must be 21 or older to wager or consume alcohol. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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“The team always is happy to customize events based on the needs or wants of the group. One group recently requested a ‘make your own ice cream sundae bar,’ while another requested charcoal grilled steaks, for example.” - Wanda Holtschneider, Rocky Gap Casino Resort

Blush Wine Bar is an energetic space that overlooks the casino floor and Sportsbook with an attractive bar and seating area. Sky Café, located on the lobby level, overlooks the swimming pool and offers views of the Atlantic Ocean, and can host up to 100 people. Finally, Luna’s, Ocean Casino’s VIP players club, available on weekdays, boasts spectacular ocean views and is ideal for formal events for up to approximately 80 people. For catered events, Ciccone notes, “We have a stable of extremely inventive and talented chefs who can prepare almost any type of cuisine imaginable. Our current restaurant offerings include Italian (Dolce Mare), Spanish (Amada), Steakhouse (American Cut), Asian (Zhen Bang), Mexican (Distrito), and American (Villain & Saint), along with a brand-new Hawaiian-inspired concept (Makai)... While these culinary options can be replicated or customized for any event, we also have the ability to create something completely unique based on our guest’s needs.” Entertainment is always an option for events at Ocean Casino Resort, as well. “We offer both permanent and temporary stages in our venues, which can accommodate small and large bands, full orchestras, comedians and DJs,” says Ciccone. With over 20 beachfront acres on the Atlantic City boardwalk, Ocean Casino offers Atlantic City skyline and ocean views while at the same time boasting 22 november z December 2021

a top-notch casino resort experience. “Our hotel product, dining, nightlife, entertainment and spa are clear differentiators,” asserts Ciccone. “Additionally, I believe the service that our dedicated team members provide are what really sets Ocean apart.” At Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Flintstone, Maryland, nothing is impossible, assures Wanda Holtschneider, director of marketing and hotel operations for the resort. “The team always is happy to customize events based on the needs or wants of the group. One group recently requested a ‘make your own ice cream sundae bar,’ while another requested charcoal grilled steaks, for example. The team will always go above and beyond for our guests.” With tens of thousands of square feet of function space, Rocky Gap is a popular destination for private events. In addition to four 600-square foot meeting rooms, an executive boardroom and two private dining rooms (each accommodating up to 24 guests), Rocky Gap also offers outdoor events at the Allegheny Event Center, the Lakeside Reception Area, Lakeside Terrace, and at Golfview Pavilion. Allegheny Event Center can be set up in a variety of ways, including classroom, boardroom, theater and reception styles. Rocky Gap’s exceptional dining includes the resort’s new high-end restaurant, Lakeside Grille. Overlooking a scenic and spacious lakefront, Lakeside Grille is one of Western Maryland’s

premier steakhouses. Signatures Bar and Grill offers sports viewing, burgers, pizzas, beer and more in a clubhouse atmosphere. There is a private dining room located in Lakeside Grille, which offers customized menus. Guests can coordinate dining options for both restaurants depending on their preferences. For entertainment, Rocky Gap offers a monthly lineup of live music at the Rocky Gap Event Center, along with frequent comedy performances at Bonkerz Comedy Club. Rocky Gap also offers golf outings for groups, which includes golf, room, casino and food combination discounts. Large groups may want to schedule a tournament with specialty packages available, including personalized scorecards and cart signs, event banners, custom apparel and more. There is something for everyone in the group at Rocky Gap - adventurous outdoor activities, a relaxing spa, awardwinning golf course, high-energy casino and a variety of restaurants - all set to the natural beauty of Rocky Gap State Park,” exclaims Holtschneider. Planners can create some truly unique experiences for their group at these casino resort properties. They offer a wide range of amenities, ample space and flexible accommodations along with plenty of choices for dining, customizable menus, opportunities for entertainment and more.


had never been done before by placing boutique experience inside one of the most iconic resorts on the Strip. We now have expanded the collection around the world, and we have a robust pipeline of destinations in development. We are excited to take this next step in our growing partnership with Caesars,” said Nobu Hospitality founders, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper. In October, Caesars Entertainment inked a monumental deal with Spiegelworld, a Las Vegas-based entertainment trailblazer, collectively investing nearly $75-million to create three, all-new live entertainment experiences at Caesars resorts in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and New Orleans. The two companies’ expanded relationship will see a new permanent production open in the fourth quarter of 2022 - DiscoShow at The LINQ Hotel + Experience in Las Vegas. DiscoShow will be followed by a brand-new theater and resident show at Caesars Atlantic City, opening in the first quarter of 2023, and a third new theater and show is planned for Caesars New Orleans in 2024. Spiegelworld will resurrect the historic Warner Theatre incorporating its heritage 1929 façade that sits on the boardwalk at Caesars Atlantic City. Just as Spiegelworld’s birth on Pier 17 in New York City in 2006 gave new life to South Street Seaport, Spiegelworld’s arrival in Atlantic City will help to reaffirm the city’s reputation as an entertainment destination for the entire East Coast and beyond. In addition, Caesars Entertainment and Nobu Hospitality – the global lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper – recently announced the expansion of its longstanding partnership with two new Nobu Hotels and restaurants at Caesars Atlantic City and Harrah’s New Orleans, a Nobu restaurant at Paris Las Vegas, and a refresh of the first Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. “We opened our first Nobu Hotel in 2013 at Caesars Palace – breaking the mold and doing something that

“Our relationship with Nobu has been an unparalleled success in Las Vegas, and as we continue to invest there and in New Orleans and Atlantic City, we felt it was the perfect opportunity to deepen and expand that relationship,” said Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment. “Nobu’s sophisticated elegance is the perfect complement to the multimillion-dollar renovation projects we are developing in all three cities, all of which are fast becoming the nation’s top modern sports, gaming and entertainment destinations.” Nobu Hotels and restaurants blend modern, cool luxury and minimal Japanese tradition into a lifestyle with products, services and personalized touches. Each location provides a local experience coupled with Nobu’s signature style. Nobu Hotel Atlantic City is projected to open in the summer of 2022 within Caesars Atlantic City and will further position the city as a leading travel destination on the East Coast. Nobu Hotel Atlantic City, including a Nobu restaurant, and Spiegelworld are both part of Caesars’ planned $400-million investment into the destination by 2023. This investment includes high-end remodeled room towers and suites; freshly appointed interior design elements; enhancements to the casinos' gaming floors; and many more exciting additions. “Nobu Hospitality and Caesars Entertainment brought to life the world’s first celebrity-branded hotel, setting a new bar for our industry,” said Gary Selesner, president of Caesars Development. “We couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to raise that bar with Chef Nobu, Robert and Meir.” Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Spaces and Places w

Tying history into an outing can help to enhance a group's experience. Here, reenactors demonstrate Marching In to Valley Forge National Historical Park in Montgomery County, PA during the Revolutionary War; photo courtesy: Valley Forge Convention and Tourism Board


with a Rich History For planners looking to boost morale and inspire their group by connecting with the past, there are properties and destinations throughout the region that boast historic significance or are dedicated to preserving and sharing stories of bygone eras and lessons from long ago. There are many benefits for groups who want to explore and connect with history, whether it be locally – “in their own backyard,” so to speak – or taking a trip to visit sites where battles were fought, freedoms were won, important documents were signed and the nation was founded. Valley Forge and Montgomery County, PA hold an important role in the history of the United States, for example. Valley Forge National Historical Park was the encampment site of the Continental Army during the winter of 1777-1778. It was here, under the leadership of General George Washington, that the Continental Army formed into the force that went on to defeat the British and win America’s independence. “When hosting at a venue with a historic significance, you’re able to build on top of that experience to create something truly memorable,” explains Scott Higgins, director of sales for the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board (VFTCB). “You can incorporate the leadership that General George Washington showed as part of a leadership experience, or walk in the footsteps of the Continental Army.” In fact, he says that the VFTCB encourages all incoming groups to incorporate history into their agenda in some way. “Many of the groups we work with are eager to schedule a tour at Valley Forge National Historical Park, however, they often find there’s so much more that they can incorporate. Besides a dozen other historic sites, we also have historic restaurants that can create an incredible ambiance, such as the Blue Bell Inn. ‘George Washington’ himself is even available to make an appearance at your event. No matter how you choose to incorporate history, you’ll create a lasting memory.” Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Located in Montgomery County (Blue Bell, PA), Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center is 288 years old, dating back to 1730, and has transformed itself from the days of horse drawn carriages into a premier conference center. “While it’s gone through many changes, you’re still able to see the character of the property as you’re sitting in their conference center,” observes Higgins. Another noteworthy venue in the area is the Historic Pottstown Carousel in Pottstown, PA, built in 1905 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, a working carousel that attendees can experience first-hand. In nearby Philadelphia, nestled on Independence Mall in the nation’s most historic square mile, the National Constitution Center brings together people of all ages and perspectives - across America and around the world - to learn about, debate and celebrate the U.S. Constitution.

The River House at Odette’s in New Hope, PA offers tours in conjunction with New Hope Historical Society that take about 60-minutes and meander to the center of New Hope. The experience begins with an overview of the LenniLenape Native Americans establishing a community here 500-years before William Penn arrived in 1692. Before moving on to view historic mills, the guide discusses the roles that the Delaware River and Delaware Canal played in local commerce. The tour includes some of the town’s top iconic structures, such as Bucks County Playhouse, historic Town Hall, and Ferry Landing before visiting New Hope Historical Society’s main location at Parry Mansion. Typically open on weekends to the public, the mansion is available on weekdays for meetings. The historic structure, built in 1784, once was home to Benjamin Parry, known as the “Father of New Hope” and credited for spurring commerce and industry in the town in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Inside Parry Mansion, guests are taken through 11 rooms reflecting 125 years of decorative changes.

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“Our sprawling venue is mere steps away from the Liberty Bell and offers a breathtaking view of Independence Hall, where the Constitution was both drafted and signed,” notes Jennifer Kniele, senior director of events for the National Constitution Center. Adding, “Our immersive exhibits make a unique, memorable addition to your event, allowing attendees a truly one-of-a-kind experience as they engage with the history of our founding. Invite your guests to discover the story of ‘We the People’ and how the Constitution is as important today as it was back in 1787.” The National Constitution Center offers customizable experiences of all kinds, both within the venue itself and also in collaboration with their Independence Mall partners. Private exhibit tours, guided walking tours in Old City led by historic impersonators, and organized Liberty Bell tickets are just some of the offerings available. “The National Constitution Center has 2,000-square feet of functional event space,” explains Kniele. “Our Grand Hall Overlook and Main Lobby offer memorable views of Independence Hall, providing the perfect backdrop for corporate programs, weddings, awards presentations, fundraisers, holiday parties, and more. Our John C. Bogle Chairman’s Room is the premier conference space for hosting board meetings and intimate dinners, while our Delegates’ Cafe boasts floor-to-ceiling windows for a more relaxed cocktail reception or rehearsal dinner.”


TH I S I S YOU R S I G N TO . . .

Visit Annapolis this Winter

While Annapolis is known for sunny summers, architectural beauty, sailing, and history, it’s also one of the mid-Atlantic’s most sought-after destinations during wintertime. From downtown Annapolis to the entertainment district of the BWI and Arundel Mills regions, discover all Anne Arundel County has to offer this holiday season.

P L A N YO U R S TAY AT W I NTE R I N A N N A P O LI S .CO M


Kirby Auditorium is well suited to accommodate a town hall or presentation, she adds, and the property’s Freedom Classroom is perfect for training or a breakout session.

The Omni Homestead Resort has officially begun a more than $120-million property-wide renovation. Marking the latest chapter in the storied history of the resort, the extensive restoration will include façade work, a new event facility, associate housing complex, updated guest rooms, refreshed public spaces and infrastructure improvements. “These projects are more than just improvements to the resort. It’s an investment in our associates and our community,” said Mark Spadoni, managing director for The Omni Homestead. “We are very excited about these plans and are especially pleased to be doing so in a manner that preserves our resort’s history, extending its legacy for generations of families to come.” Guest rooms in the main building, Tower, East, West and Garden Wings all will be updated with a fresh, tailored, and comfortable design in keeping with the current vintage style. The Lobby Bar will expand into the Georgian Room with a new speakeasy-style lounge. “We have amazing plans for this resort, but first, we want to keep it looking historic. This renovation is about restoring a piece of American history. This iconic resort, in the hills of Virginia, is going to be restored to its grandeur that it once was,” added Peter Strebel, president of Omni Hotels and Resorts. The property is known for locally inspired cuisine served in both formal and casual environments, and renovations to the dining venues are a pillar of The Omni Homestead Resort’s plans. The theater will be converted into a small bar with dinner-theater style seating, while the Casino Building will see the main-floor Pro Shop converted into a fast-casual picnic-style dining experience. Jefferson’s, Rubino’s at The Cascades, and The Dining Room will be enhanced with features such as new hardwood flooring, delicate chandelier fixtures and carefully selected tile accents. The Omni Homestead Resort will be adding 4,000-square feet of meeting space to the resort’s existing 72,000-square feet of function space, too. A new event pavilion, located at the north end of the Old Course driving range, will be ideal for special events and weddings. 28 november z December 2021

Brûlée Catering is the exclusive caterer for the National Constitution Center. “With their distinguished culinary talent, courteous staff and stunning presentations, Brûlée Catering will have your guests raving. With a wide range of creative menus, tailored to your taste and budget, Brûlée’s team will guide you every step of the way,” assures Kniele. Also at the National Constitution Center, The Story of We the People exhibit illuminates America’s constitutional history through innovative displays, films and photographs, and rare artifacts. At the Sidney Kimmel Theater, guests are immersed in a stirring 17-minute journey from 1787 to the present featuring a live actor. And at Signers’ Hall, guests can walk among 42 life-size bronze statues of the Founding Fathers who participated in the signing of the Constitution. The center’s two newest exhibits include: The 19th Amendment - How Women Won the Vote, which traces the triumphs and struggles that led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment; and Civil War and Reconstruction - The Battle for Freedom and Equality, which is the first exhibit in America devoted to exploring how constitutional clashes over slavery set the stage for the Civil War, and how the nation transformed the Constitution after the war to more fully embrace the Declaration of Independence’s promise of freedom and equality. “Private tours and interactive programming led by our museum education team also are available for the center’s various exhibit spaces,” Kniele adds. Nearby, Chester County’s Brandywine Valley is known for its own rich history. The landscape speaks to the forging of the nation as well as an industrial and artistic heritage. Historic venues, along with welcoming accommodations, are a hallmark of this classic destination.


Providing inspiration to meeting goers and an aura of charm and warmth to social gatherings, Chester County offers a variety of unique historic venues. Loch Aerie Mansion, for example, is a 150-year-old property has been carefully restored to its former glory by its proprietors, Steve and Dana Poirier. Spaces on-site include the first floor of the mansion for smaller events as well as a large ballroom added as new construction to the back of the building. Food and beverage on-site is arranged through culinary partner John Serock Catering. Overnight accommodations are available at the adjacent Sheraton Great Valley and at Hampton Inn Great Valley. “A rich history of iron and steel production spanning 300 years in Pennsylvania can be found in Chester

County,” states Nina Kelly, director of marketing and communications for Chester County, PA’s Brandywine Valley. “Built in 1882, the Phoenixville Foundry is an architecturally stunning building on the banks of French Creek. The industrial character of the building’s exterior is largely intact, while the fully-renovated interior will provide a sophisticated and elegant atmosphere.” Groups can add some time for exploring the on-site Heritage Center to learn about the vital role Phoenixville and Phoenix Steel played in the industrial revolution. The town offers treasures of its own, too, including dining, shopping and sipping at six nearby breweries. The Philander Chase Knox Estate by Robert Ryan Catering is steeped in Revolutionary history. Built in the late

1700s, it served as a summer home of Philander Chase Knox, former U.S. Attorney General, U.S. Secretary of State, and U.S. Senator. “Surrounded by 3,500-acres within Valley Forge National Historic Park, the estate provides an oasis of natural beauty for events. The newly renovated Embassy Suites is the perfect partner for accommodations,” asserts Kelly. The Washington at Historic Yellow Springs, circa 1750, has served as a tavern and colonial inn. George Washington visited soldiers here convalescing in the Yellow Springs Hospital, which he commissioned. During the 19th century, the building was utilized as a dining hall and dormitory for orphans of Civil War soldiers, and it was used in the 20th century for young artists of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Today, this elegant location,

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meet • plan • discover • explore • relax • Discoverlancaster.com/meetings Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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“The homes of all four Maryland signers of the Declaration of Independence are still standing in Annapolis,” notes Susan Seifried, vice president, public relations and communications for Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, MD. “Two of them – including the National Historic Landmark William Paca House and Garden – are open to the public for group and individual tours.” “There are more 18th-century brick buildings in Annapolis than in any other city of comparable size in the nation,” Seifried continues. “Guided walking tours introduce visitors to the history and architecture of America’s former capital city. Color-coded historic markers adorning the exteriors of hundreds of downtown Annapolis buildings enable visitors to enjoy self-guided architectural tours of the city.” In addition, The Maryland State House in Annapolis is the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use, and is the only state house ever to have served as the nation’s capitol. The Continental Congress met in the Old Senate Chamber from November 26, 1783 to August 13, 1784 while Annapolis was serving as the nation’s first peacetime capital. During this time, George Washington came before Congress to resign his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the Treaty of Paris was ratified, marking the official end of the Revolutionary War. Individuals and groups can enjoy self-guided tours of the Maryland State House from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm daily.

along with the whole village of Historic Yellow Springs, enchants guests. General Warren is a unique historic property blending old world charm, excellent cuisine and overnight accommodations. Fine dining is a hallmark of this restored 18th century estate with The Warren Tavern for lighter fare, spirits and music. Spring House Terrace, a year-round heated space, is perfect for receptions, lunch or dinner meetings or dining al fresco in warmer months. Groups also can request a talk by the owner about the building’s history and its role in regional heritage. At Duportail House in Chesterbrook, this circa 1740 farmhouse and barn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are a variety of site plans utilizing the home, barn and an outdoor patio that is tented April through December. “Historic Downtown West Chester is home to Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center, an early 1900s Armory converted into a stateof-the-art entertainment center, as well as event space,’ says Kelly. “The center can accommodate social gatherings in the bar and concession space or upstairs community room. There is a 327-seat main stage theater, as well, and additional meeting rooms. Conveniently located nearby is The Hotel Warner.” Evening entertainment is a bonus at this creative venue. The adjacent Chester County History Center can provide groups with informative, entertaining history walks throughout the vibrant town of West Chester as an addition to any itinerary.

Patrick Byrne, Proprietor of the General Warren Inn, Malvern, PA

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The Farmhouse at People's Light is located in the heart of Chester County, adjacent to the famed theater. The restored 18th century farmhouse offers rustic charm in its recently renovated ballroom and an indoor pavilion with cathedral ceilings and hardwood floors. As a special thank you, all guests receive a complimentary voucher for a free ticket to an upcoming show at People’s Light. Nearby


TOGETHER IS A GREAT PLACE TO BE.

Try Woodloch’s new team building activity: The Food Truck Challenge Test your design and marketing strategy skills in this timed event to win over a panel of judges. Each team will receive a food basket, a secret ingredient and access to a pantry to create a delicious dish for everyone to sample. It’s not all about the food however- you will create and design a food truck, business name, marketing plan and menu. Are you ready? Let the challenge begin!

“When it was time to leave the resort, it felt like I was leaving home, and I really didn’t want to go!” -Danielle, Google “I can’t say enough great things about my experience with Woodloch. Each year, our company plans an annual retreat to escape the day-to-day for a few days and enjoy activities and bond with our colleagues.” -Erin, SeatGeek WOODLOCHMEETINGS.COM | 800.453.8263 Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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accommodations include The Desmond Hotel Malvern, A Doubletree by Hilton, and The Courtyard by Marriott, Great Valley, also in Malvern. “Chester County’s Brandywine Valley is an inspiring and historic destination,” says Kelly. “History was made here, and the legacy continues at historic sites repurposed for business, pleasure and special events.” The earliest inhabitants of the area now known as Cape May, New Jersey were Native Americans from the Lenni-Lenape tribe who eventually sold the land to English settlers in the 1630s. By 1834, there were six boarding houses and the island began to attract the elite of New York, Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia. Hotel size increased and music pavilions and ballrooms blossomed. The 1850s included grand renovations of Congress Hall, visits from Presidents Franklin Pierce and Benjamin Harrison, and the construction of a new lighthouse in 1859 that still exists today. It was the completion of the railroad from Philadelphia to the Cape Island in 1863 that signaled the next development as Philadelphia families came here to buy land and build summer homes.

Maryland Inn, Historic Downtown Annapolis, MD; photo courtesy: Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County; credit: Bob Peterson

Today, the City of Cape May stands as the nation’s only entire city that has been designated as a National Historic Landmark due to its concentration of Victorian buildings. In fact, it has the second-largest collection of Victorian houses in the U.S., behind only San Francisco.

“We also are known as the Nation’s Oldest Seashore Resort,” explains Kacie Rattigan, director of convention hall and recreation activities, City of Cape May, NJ. “Due to the historic nature of Cape May City and the importance the community puts on preserving that history, there is so much to see and do when visiting.”

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Often, groups visiting Cape May will schedule tours with local museums, theaters and attractions throughout the city, as additional activities for attendees of meetings and events at Cape May Convention Hall. “Not only does this allow for our guests to learn more about the rich history in Cape May, but it also allows us, as a community, to work together to provide an impactful and meaningful experience to those who visit,” observes Rattigan.

REIMAGINE | REINVENT RECONNECT

Events

Options include such venues as the Harriet Tubman Museum and the Nature Center of Cape May. The community also offers exceptional opportunities for birding, which can be a great group activity. Another way of incorporating historic Cape May into an itinerary is to take the trolley with Cape May MAC (Museums. Arts. Culture.) and tour Victorian homes throughout the city. These are just a few examples of what groups can do to enhance their experience while attending events at the Cape May Convention Hall, notes Rattigan, adding that there is much more to see and do. In addition, Rattigan says, “There are countless venues, bed and breakfasts, and hotels throughout the City of Cape May that can host weddings and events, including Cape May Convention Hall, The Grand Hotel, Congress Hall, The Chalfont Hotel, Southern Mansion, and many others.” PL ANNING

The venues of Cape May offer their own rich histories, some dating back centuries, while at the same time providing modern offerings and services for guests.

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The Discover Lancaster team and their partners along with Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine traveled to Autograph and Rosalie restaurants in Delaware County, PA for a planners Cocktail, Dinner and Dessert DineAround Reception.

CVBs & DMOs: He 34 november z December 2021


ere to Help

As travel, meetings, events, conventions and trade shows gradually return, planners are looking for resources to assist them in destinations throughout the region. Offering a plethora of information and services about their locations, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) and destination marketing organizations (DMOs) stand ready and waiting to lend a helping hand. The first stop - and liaison to everything hospitality-related for the area they represent - CVBs serve as an excellent partner in finding a wide range of services, from site selection to vendors to information about local COVID protocols and more. They can provide a wealth of information and in-depth knowledge about the area to help planners make the most of their time (and budget). “Now more than ever, CVBs and DMOs are extremely valuable to planners of all types of groups,” asserts Rhonda L. Walker, interim director of sales and marketing, Experience Prince George's, Maryland. “They continue to be an invaluable resource and are pivotal to destinations.” “Prior to the pandemic,” she continues, “they provided resources mainly for hospitality and tourism needs such as event venues, accommodations, attractions, activities and dining options. Now, CVBs and DMOs provide information on city and state mandates, statistics and data metrics surrounding the pandemic, safety guidelines, restrictions, health and screening options from all levels - local and national.” This information assists planners with updates, including about potential meeting or event venues, during the planning process. It also can be used to provide up-to-date information to attendees so they will have a greater understanding of what to expect when they travel to and arrive at the destination. Additionally, CVBs and DMOs advocate on behalf of their business partners and vendors and can tap into them as additional services and resources to meet the needs and interests of planners and their groups as they arise. “Current availability and guidelines for our destination, accommodations, attractions, venues and all other businesses are common services that we provide. Updated COVID-19 data, health and safety guidelines, Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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statistics and data metrics surrounding the pandemic for our area, venue and business restrictions, health and screening options are other areas where we can help.” Assisting and connecting planners with specific businesses, county officials and securing outside vendors such as entertainment and rental services are additional ways that Experience Prince George’s can assist groups who are visiting the area. In addition, Walker notes, “We are able to provide assistance [financially] by customizing concessions based on group’s needs.” Experience Prince George’s also helps to promote their member partners' services through their website and with information listed within their planning guide. As a destination marketing organization, Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County (VAAAC) in Maryland has its finger on the pulse of what’s going on with businesses and organizations throughout Annapolis and the surrounding county. “We simplify the planning process for event organizers by serving as a single point of contact for a wealth of information that’s crucial to staging stellar events,” explains Susan Seifried, vice president, public relations and communications for Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. “Our goal is to provide meeting planners with the information and assistance they need, when they need it, and how they need it. We enable meeting planners to use their time as efficiently as possible by connecting them with individuals, organizations and resources, thus eliminating timeconsuming preliminary legwork.” The role of a destination marketing organization has been even more crucial in navigating the pandemic. Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County has established communications networks with area residents and businesses, 36 november z December 2021

tourism and hospitality industry partners, and local and state elected officials enabling them to provide meeting and event planners with transparent, accurate updates on rapidly changing situations and helping to ensure the health and safety of all. They also utilize multiple communications platforms, including their website, social media accounts, digital communications, and even one-on-one conversations to deliver information in a timely manner. This, in turn, enables planners to provide their clients with the insights they need to make difficult decisions, such as modifying, rescheduling or even cancelling events. “Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County helps meeting planners quickly identify the best venue for their event by forwarding requests for proposals (RFPs) to its member-partner businesses. This streamlines the process of arriving at the best fit. VAAAC further assists by arranging for site visits and putting meeting planners in touch with key personnel at host locations,” asserts Seifried. The RFPs disseminated on behalf of meeting and event planners put hotels, venues, attractions and tour providers that are under consideration in immediate contact with event organizers. VAAAC also can provide lists of suggested contacts, and set up personal introductions to appropriate business partners. They encourage planners to look to their new website (visitannapolis.org) as a comprehensive resource for all things Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. The DMO also stages luncheons and events that bring together meeting planners and participating member partners in an exchange of ideas and information and have included site visits, dining experiences and a trade show exchange. Sometimes they have culminated with meeting planners having an opportunity to enjoy the destina-

tion on their own or through a prearranged excursion like a two-hour Chesapeake Bay cruise during Annapolis’ Wednesday Night Sailing Races. VAAAC’s knowledge of special events taking place throughout the destination further enables them to help planners choose dates best suited to their groups, freeing up planners from timeconsuming research. Similarly, Visit Annapolis is a go-to resource for information about attractions, restaurants, accommodations, and offerings that have recently opened – or that are on the horizon. They also can recommend activities for attendees during their free time. Where appropriate, Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County has featured print and video blogs about upcoming sporting events on its Annapolis Discovered blog site. In some instances, VAAAC has provided marketing support and shared word of high-profile meetings through social media channels. In addition, Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County has sent its 20-foot mobile visitor information center, the Arundel Ambassador, to corporate and sporting events. Advance promotion of the Arundel Ambassador’s appearances is designed to help boost attendance. During the mobile visitor center’s appearances, Arundel Ambassadors provide attendees with tourism information, while continuous loop videos promote the destination and the event. Visit Annapolis may share information with media for coverage, too, when warranted. “Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County has funds and in-kind services available to assist meeting planners in varying ways with the execution of their events, from hosting receptions to securing speakers and providing marketing support,” notes Seifried. “It has similarly provided sponsorship dollars


as an incentive for attracting sporting events to Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. The destination also can put event planners in touch with member partners who may be interested in exploring sponsorship possibilities.” CVBs and DMOs are the ones who know the area they represent best, along with local and state regulations and protocols, explains Lou Marrocco, CMP, director of meetings and events for Visit Delco, PA. They also can help with a variety of resources and save the planner both time and money. "We can assist in helping with the best choices on location, dollar spend, attendee and guest experiences, and unique venues," Marrocco notes. "We can work with our contacts within the county for special discounts and activities, and help groups to avoid long lines or paying extra admission fees to local attractions."

Serving as a liaison and helping planners to make connections based on their specific needs is all part of what Visit Delco does, he explains. Currently, Marrocco says that Visit Delco is offering a discount whenever planners use any of their “Meet-Me-inDelco” exhibitors. “We also offer planners and their client or stakeholders a tour of Delco attractions, hotels and other points of interest." When it comes to incentives, Marrocco notes that Visit Delco is putting together a special program that he anticipates will be available in early 2022. According to Chris Ackerman, director of sales for Discover Lancaster, “Obviously, health and safety are on the minds of all meeting planners and DMOs, and Discover Lancaster provides specific suggestions on how to host a safe meeting. For example, we’ve been providing information on a

Red, Yellow and Green color-coded greeting system that conference attendees wear on their name badge, with Red for ‘practicing social distancing’ to Green for ‘yes to handshakes.’ We had a few conferences on the fence for canceling or postponing, but this suggestion played a role in helping to keep their booking dates.” “We’ve also been hosting client dinners outside our area and inviting a few of our partners to attend,” he notes. “This opportunity allows them to reconnect with meeting planners in a relaxed atmosphere and just share key points about themselves and their property. In addition, after every appointment-based trade show, we post our notes to our Partner Portal for easy access and reference.” Discover Lancaster is ready, willing and able to share RFPs for planners with specific partners, too, as well as organize customized site visits, and to

CONVENTIONS

UNIQUE VENUES

NATIONAL HARBOR

MUSEUMS

WINNINGS

GOLF

SHOPPING

ARTS & HISTORY

Experience Prince George’s for Extraordinary Meetings! Affordable, Accessible and Authentic. Three top reasons that make Prince George’s County, MD an exceptional destination for meetings and conventions. Visit ExperiencePrinceGeorges.com to book your next visit. Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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suggest - or sometimes even create off-site activities for attendees of a conference or convention. They also offer attendance builders, which can be a great way to start the next conference off in the right direction. Ackerman explains, “Promoting an organization’s next event a year beforehand is crucial to the destination, planner and attendee. So, besides standard marketing collateral and including links on our website to theirs, we physically go in-person to their prior year’s event to help them get a jumpstart on attendance at the next year’s conference.” Based on seasonal needs and the potential economic impact of an incoming group, Discover Lancaster may be able to offer financial assistance, as well, such as cost offsets and in-kind promotions. The Pocono Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau (PMCVB) is a great resource to help planners find an ideal setting for meetings or conferences, as well as to meet any needs the group may have. “We partner not only with hotels and resorts, but also with production companies, restaurants, transportation services, cultural happenings and local businesses to offer a unique experience when visiting the region,” asserts Valerie Case, sales manager for the Pocono Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The knowledge and support of our team will help a planner to navigate all that the community has to offer with no additional cost or work on their part, especially valuable in times of uncertainty. The PMCVB has developed the Pocono Promise, which has seen hundreds of businesses pledge to uphold public health guidelines,” she adds. Commonly requested services in the Pocono Mountains range from seeking a selection of restaurants outside of the area’s popular resorts to beverage 38 november z December 2021

trails to team building opportunities. “The Pocono Mountains has used this information to create the Pocono Beverage Trail and has started to focus more on the team building experiences a group can participate in, ranging from a simple trail hike to an escape room; a culinary event to more intense activity, such as a ropes course; or spending time as a team on one of our many high-quality golf courses,” Case observes. Additionally, the PMCVB is able to offer assistance for qualified meetings by supporting them with registration, welcome gifts or receptions. “With a talented Pocono Television Network team, the PMCVB has been able to produce high quality videos to excite groups planning to come to the region,” she adds. Currently, the Pocono Mountains CVB is in the process of creating detailed newsletters to include highlights from around the region. “By understanding the needs of each planner, we are able to match them not only with the perfect venue for their meeting, but also to any additional services to support their meeting,” says Case. The PMCVB always is willing to support qualified meetings, as well, and can discuss options with groups on an individual basis. The official DMO and CVB of Ocean City always is ready to help groups find the space they need for their event, along with lodging and any other amenities for their trip. “When you inquire of Ocean City, you will be in contact with genuine Ocean City staff who are in their office every day to assist our clients. We’re not a call center. The staff is seasoned and experienced and know what is going on in the area. Clients and customers can benefit from that counsel and experience in many ways to plan a successful meeting or tour,” assures

Norma Dobrowolski, destination sales and marketing manager for the Ocean City, Maryland Department of Tourism. The CVB always provides an information table near the convention’s space so that attendees have easy access to resources for local dining, shopping and taking part in activities while in town. “They can see future events in case they want to come back and bring the family, as well. Our Welcome Center is within the Roland E. Powell Convention Center, so during hours our staff helps with Ocean City information as well as responding to exhibitor needs or getting the right staff person to the visiting group to offer any assistance,” explains Dobrowolski. “We will provide maps and coupon books and have a ‘Show Your Badge’ offer sheet with some local discounts for visiting conventions,” she continues. “For leisure groups, we also can provide booklets, maps and maybe even a small surprise logo gift from Ocean City. Just something to show how much we appreciate people coming to our resort town for their events.” The Ocean City CVB even will go to a hotel and layout a table of local information for a specific group they are hosting. “We can greet a motorcoach group or a meeting or convention on behalf of the city. These services are seldom called upon, but we enjoy doing them. We hope, as the pandemic subsides, more groups and hotels will request these services… I think, from the view of the hoteliers, it shows the town supports their efforts, as well,” Dobrowolski explains. Roland E. Powell Convention Center attendees can enjoy free rides on municipal buses in Ocean City, too. The event organizer can provide the CVB with a copy or image of their badge, and bus drivers will recognize that throughout town. “We do this for many convention and meeting events,” says Dobrowolski. “True, we are considered a drive-to


destination, but you can park at your hotel and not have to drive to the convention center - or you can explore the town in your free time via our transit system.” Ocean City CVB offers planners help with finding room blocks and other special services or needs for their groups. For a dining request or spousal outing, the bureau will send out messaging or make calls and inquiries to help find the perfect fit. “We are offering Sunday through Thursday incentive bookings for our Roland E. Powell Convention Center,” Dobrowolski notes. “Prime weekday event space is being incentivized as a wonderful way to welcome groups to our newly renovated pre-function promenade and newly built exhibit hall. Our bayside ballroom remains one of the loveliest spaces in Ocean City, and you will not find a large waterfront ballroom like it in the Mid-Atlantic.”

“As a way to celebrate our new look, we are offering the weekday incentives to introduce new clients to our wonderful beach resort town,” she continues. “It is the ideal space in which to celebrate a new year in a new event venue.”

Working with CVBs and DMOs has always presented planners with a destination resource that not only provides information, but also connects them to venues and suppliers and acts as a guide to everything from dining to activities. During the pandemic, they have proven to be even more valuable, and stand ready to help planners both now and in the future through whatever lies ahead.

“The knowledge and support of our team will help a planner to navigate all that the community has to offer with no additional cost or work on their part, especially valuable in times of uncertainty.” Valerie Case, Pocono Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau

EXPECT MORE THAN MOUNTAINS IN THE POCONOS

Start planning for 2022 and beyond with the Pocono Mountains, where you’ll find the space you need to succeed with your team. With state-of-the-art technology and up-to-date amenities, hosting your next meeting or event here will be a breeze. Email meetings@poconos.org to learn more.

#MeetThePoconos

Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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National Constitution Center, Brûlée Catering and Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine’s guests attending a Think Tank Talk dinner

R O R

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Return On Relationships (ROR) is something we promote - and live by - as do most CVBs, DMOs and associations, as all thrive on keeping in touch with members. This approach always has been important for those within the hospitality, meetings, events and travel industries, but even more so over the past year, as keeping members or planners engaged has become increasingly valuable. Mid-Atlantic Events has partnered with many regional organizations over the last 35 years, and we have always looked forward to new events that we could co-create. Events like the “Chester County Culinary Challenge” in partnership with the Chester County CVB, and now their new ”Chester County Versatile Venues” tour, which has become very popular. We’ve also worked alongside Visit Delco, PA for their recent “Meet Me in Delco” showcase, and with Discover Lancaster for a dinner program, both of which have significantly grown both in popularity and attendance. For years, we have partnered with Woodloch Resorts on a unique DineAround event or creative cooking experiences (we can't wait to see what's next), and also with the


Poconos Mountains CVB as we helped partner on a “Fresh Air Advisory Council” focus group experience. Think Tank Talk events (sort of the focus group-styled format) have helped engage planners with destinations or each other through peer-to-peer communication, successfully partnering with Bluestone Country Club throughout 2021 and, most recently, with The Drexelbrook in Drexel Hill, PA and with the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. These Think Tank Talks have provided a forum for people who want to talk about their own experiences and listen to what others have been doing since 2020, what they are doing now, and plans for 2022. Think Tanks and focus groups certainly are not new, but they have become a way to really solicit feedback as things in the industry have been challenging and continually changing. Keeping planners informed has always been at the forefront of service provided by convention and conference and visitors bureaus for destinations. They participate in trade shows and conferences, and sometimes organize FAM trips to their destination or host road show events where they visit other areas to engage with potential clients and promote their offerings, and we often lend a helping hand with these events, too.

We look forward to continuing to help promote, co-produce and be part of the team as we continue to work with CVBs, DMOs and associations and bring everyone together for more creative programming in the year ahead. Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Better Serving The LGBT+ Community

Photos from FAM trip hosted by LGBT MPA in partnership with NYC & Company in 2019 during WorldPride

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When it comes to choosing a destination for a meeting or event, Clapes recommends reviewing the Human Rights Campaign’s equality index. It ranks municipalities based on their efforts to support an inclusive environment (for example, whether they institute inclusive hiring practices at their own agencies, and what anti-discrimination policies their police force upholds). “At LGBT MPA, various destinations have shown their commitment to diversity and inclusion by becoming professional business members of the association and actively partnering with us on various other initiatives,” Clapes notes. “Take a look at LGBT Meeting Professionals Association - Business Members on our website (lgbtmpa.com) to view the various cities that are ready and excited to showcase their inclusion.”

Members of the LGBT+ community drive an enormous amount of business within the hospitality industry, observes Jim Clapes, Immediate Past Chair for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Meeting Professionals Association (LGBT MPA), adding that it is important to recognize and uplift their contributions. “On average, our 1,900-plus LGBT MPA members plan 6 to 10 events per year in 43 different countries with a spend of over $18-billion,” says Clapes. “Keep in mind, this is simply the impact of one association that is not even five years old… I see LGBT MPA building an even larger, more robust membership that continues to engage not only the LGBT+ community, but folds in allies and people who don’t yet know they are allies.” Clapes adds that the beating heart of LGBT MPA is fostering inclusion. “As such, I see us reaching out to an even greater extent beyond just the LGBT+ community and getting our message and mission welcomed and embraced by people who do not identify as part of the community.” The hospitality industry touches people from all walks of life, all around the world, every single day, observes Clapes. “If we, as a collective and engaged hospitality community, can work toward diversification and committing to some very simple goals, there is truly the ability to create a shift in the attitude and perception of our attendees. Unless we establish ourselves as an open-minded industry that embraces diversity and has inclusion at the very foundation of what we do, are we truly allowed to call ourselves good stewards of hospitality?”

Joining as a professional business member also showcases their commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive industry. “We provide superlative educational and networking opportunities and business members have unique opportunities to engage with our over 1,200 professional planner members,” Clapes proclaims. A destination also might feature a section on their website that provides visitor resources for LGBT+ travelers and highlights local businesses in the city that are welcoming to the community and that foster inclusion. Working with local business and encouraging them to get TAG (Travel Advocacy Group) approved through IGLTA (International LGBTQ+ Travel Association) will identify them as a welcoming accommodation. When choosing a venue, determine whether they are willing to add a clause that permits cancellation if anti-LGBT+ legislation comes into effect within the relevant region, Clapes suggests. “You might think this sounds difficult considering the venue is obviously not responsible for local or state legislation passed, but many hotels are going the extra mile to prove their commitment to the LGBT+ community, and this is one of the ways.” “Also, don’t ever hesitate to engage the local convention and visitors bureau to get a sense of the general attitude of the region on LGBT+ issues so you can make your own determination as to whether the environment is a welcoming one for your group,” Clapes recommends. Another important consideration - don’t assume that because a client might appear to be a certain gender that they Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Jim Clapes, Immediate Past Chair LGBT MPA

Zach Wilcha, Executive Director Independence Business Alliance

identify as such. Tailor language accordingly when interacting with them. Other practical solutions Clapes recommends, particularly from a venue standpoint, include: committing to gender-neutral restrooms in public spaces of a facility; featuring LGBT+ people in marketing materials and online promotional campaigns; and offering diversity training for employees.

hospitality and tourism area, we need to realize that the hospitality and tourism industry is a uniquely diverse field relying on a complex system of many different types of businesses.”

“The LGBTQ+ community has historically been an incredibly important part of the meeting and events industry. Our community is… greatly represented in all levels of the industry. I think, and hope, we can expect to see a slow recovery in this industry as more destinations align COVID protocols that protect their customers with the way their businesses run,” says Zach Wilcha, executive director, Independence Business Alliance. “My hope is that destinations have taken stock of this historical moment to realize how important LGBTQ+ support is, and that they will take advantage of this time to reset and ensure best practices are in place for that community support,” Wilcha adds. When talking about inclusion for any industry, Wilcha says, “we should look at it as the ideal intersection of what is simply the right thing to do and what is best for the bottom line. When we specifically employ inclusiveness in the 44 november z December 2021

It’s important that individual businesses are inclusive, too, not only because it will make them more effective and productive, but also because these entities will be on the frontline of welcoming people to an area. Furthermore, the benefits of diverse perspectives in the workplace are practically limitless, Wilcha explains. “Some of them include: a more productive and profitable company; more varied perspectives that can drive innovation; the opportunity to offer a broader range of products and services; a workforce that can operate comfortably as who they are; better communication; and the ability to attract and then retain top talent.” Wilcha adds that inclusivity and equity are vitally important in all areas of organizational management, including at the very highest decision-making levels. “Recognizing and appreciating each other’s diverse backgrounds and experiences not only creates an environment that is more inclusive to everyone, but it is one of the best ways for groups to think creatively, foster innovation and problem-solving, and create community.”

Independence Business Alliance is an LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce, and, as such, Wilcha notes, “we want to make sure we look at LGBTQ+-friendliness from a holistic view. We want to do our research on how comfortable our members and stakeholders will be bringing their whole selves into an environment.” When it comes to choosing a venue for a meeting or event, knowing if the company’s policies are meeting the minimum expectation of equality for LGBT+ people is critically important. Wilcha suggests asking, “Are there widely inclusive supplier diversity policies that employ the best that LGBTQ+ businesses have to offer? Are there tangible examples of inclusivity, like gender-neutral bathrooms or inclusion of pronouns on employee nametags? Does the company have a history of engaging with our community?” For meetings and events, Wilcha says, it’s important for a region and its business ecosystem to be welcoming to the type of people they seek to draw to their location. Inclusivity is the only way to truly get to know the people that a destination or business is trying to serve. “For example, my organization focuses on the LGBTQ+ community, so we encourage folks in the meetings and conventions industry to take note of how inclusive our area is for our community.”


“What are the laws and cultural norms like for LGBTQ+ people? If you can communicate the success and inclusiveness of the LGBTQ+ community, you’re increasing the appeal of your destination to LGBTQ+ travelers and tourists,” Wilcha continues. “This, of course, applies beyond the LGBTQ+ community to communities of all kinds. All people want to feel safe and welcome while traveling, and inclusive policies and laws at all levels can help ensure that.” In addition, properties, vendors and suppliers can be better allies to the LGBT+ community by having policies that protect LGBT+ people in the workplace and make active efforts to employ and retain members of the community. “In terms of further economic uplift, we encourage businesses to engage in inclusive supplier diversity that encompasses efforts to bring business to LGBTQ+owned enterprises,” says Wilcha. “Supplier diversity helps companies to ethically and efficiently source products and services from excellent businesses in marginalized communities. A great supplier diversity program can help maintain profits and grow customers while improving the local economy and encouraging innovation.” “A good approach to diversity always allows us to recognize our differences as a good thing and to encourage empathy. Welcoming multiple points of view can help your organization better understand customers, employees and other stakeholders,” Wilcha continues. “Moreover, ignoring the importance of diverse workplaces comes at your own peril, as it’s the best way to broaden talent pools and has been proven to make all employees more engaged and productive.” Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Guest Experiences: Hote

Resorts, hotels, convention centers and attrac featuring special programs and plenty of offeri is available or being planned for individuals an 46 november z December 2021


Dunes Manor Hotel, Ocean City, MD

els and Event Venues

ctions throughout the region are ings. Here is a sampling of what nd groups.


Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in the Pocono Mountains Pocono Manor, PA Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in the Pocono Mountains offers activities for all ages, including spa, culinary and private dining experiences, an outdoor adventure course and ziplining, plus escape rooms, miniature golf, an indoor water park and more. “From a service perspective, we have an incredible team of culinary and convention staff who work to customize each and every detail of all conferences and events held at Kalahari,” explains Stephani L. Bann, CMP, assistant director of sales for the resort. Coming this winter, Kalahari will open a brand-new restaurant, Cinco Ninos, in early 2022 - a modern Mexican and Tequila Bar showcasing classic flavors.

Peddler’s Village Lahaska, PA Located in beautiful Bucks County between Doylestown and New Hope, Peddler’s Village is a unique site offering a variety of meeting space options, a wide range of culinary choices, spacious accommodations in an elegant country inn, creative team building activities, 65 specialty shops, free parking and a charming 18th-century style setting with award-winning landscaping. The Golden Plough Inn at Peddler’s Village offers packages for individuals, couples and families. Currently, they are offering seasonal packages that include a $50 gift certificate to one of Peddler’s Village restaurants, as well as family fun packages that include admission to the Giggleberry Fair indoor entertainment center for guests with young children.

Wildwoods Convention Center Wildwoods, NJ “The Wildwoods Convention Center is the only convention facility on the East Coast that is located directly on the beach,” declares John A. Lynch, director of sales and entertainment for the Wildwoods Convention Center and Tourism Authority. “From the time you drive over the George Reading Bridge you’ll enjoy breathtaking views – from the Intercoastal waterway and hundreds of pleasure boats docked at various marinas to the beach and boardwalk and the most iconic and photographed location on the Island, the ‘Wildwoods’ Sign,” he adds. “The Wildwoods Convention is nestled in-between the Atlantic Ocean and the Wildwoods boardwalk, offering our meeting planners a unique location for a ‘Sun and Fun-filled’ beachfront meeting facility that can handle all of their needs.” Definitely not a “typical downtown or suburban meeting location,” the Wildwoods Convention Center offers competitive meeting packages throughout the year. Its sales team can build unique and interesting itineraries that fit the needs of any clients. “All events that are planned at the Wildwoods Convention Center receive free access to miles of white sandy beaches, complementary sounds of crashing waves, unlimited seagull squawking, and all the fresh sea breezes and fresh salt air your body can handle,” Lynch advises. “Be forewarned, though; these incentives can be habit forming.” 48 november z December 2021


Dunes Manor Hotel Ocean City, MD “Planners and their attendees are not accustomed to being oceanfront – this offers a calming, yet exciting element for a conference or event,” notes Judy Wilbur, director of sales for Dunes Manor in Ocean City, MD. “Additionally, our daily afternoon tea service (from 3:00 – 4:00 pm) provides a nice break. Thelma’s original secret recipe tea and a scone or two are just the pick me up someone might need in the afternoon.” As every customer is different, Dunes Manor works with them to customize their experience and work closely with them, whatever their needs. Sometimes that might include certain concessions or extra perks, other times it might include finding free or discounted area activities. “We can work with them on providing those values,” explains Wilbur. From late November into December, Ocean City’s Winterfest of Lights is on display, which is an attractive activity to enjoy. Alternatively, groups can enjoy a tour of historic Berlin, or a visit one of the area’s wineries or breweries for some fun and unwinding after a full-day in a conference room. Those traveling to Ocean City during the holidays will be welcomed by Dunes Manor’s beautiful holiday decor and special treats, including holiday cocktails, spiced cider, festive music and more. “For guests who wish to stay in, Miss Shirley at the piano is a treat,” Wilbur proclaims. “Wednesday through Friday, she draws a crowd with sing-alongs and great entertainment.” Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Information for the Location Reports has been provided by the Convention and Visitors Bureaus and properties listed (denoted by website) along with additional sources. For the most up-to-date information available with regard to local COVID-19 policies and protocols, please visit the websites listed for each destination.

LocationReport

BUCKS COUNTY, PA VisitBucksCounty.com

The newly renovated and expanded Logan Inn in New Hope, PA

WHAT'S NEW Logan Inn in New Hope renovated and expanded its space in 2021 and now includes a restaurant called Ferry + Main, a movie theater, whiskey lounge, members-only cigar lounge, and event space for up to 150 people. In Bensalem, Pen Ryn Estate opened its River’s Edge Garden Pavilion in 2020. It offers a secluded, close to the river’s edge, 10,000-square foot tented complex that boasts dramatic views of the Delaware River. Having opened in 2020 near New Hope's downtown, River House at Odette’s presents an ideal setting for a riverfront retreat. The property features a ballroom 50 november z December 2021

for up to 150 guests along with smaller group meeting options. To break up full-day meetings and give collaborative minds a chance to absorb information shared throughout the morning (as well as bond with their colleagues), participants at River House at Odette’s are offered the opportunity to engage in tours for groups of up to 10 that either dive into the storied history of New Hope in collaboration with New Hope Historical Society or into the area's arts and culture scene through the New Hope Arts Center. For the New Hope Arts Center Tour, participants are provided with maps of New Hope to guide them from the hotel to the arts center as part of a 30- to 40-minute one-on-one tour.


Tours with New Hope Historical Society take about 60 minutes, meandering toward the town center. The tour includes several of New Hope’s top iconic structures, such as Bucks County Playhouse, historic Town Hall, and Ferry Landing before arriving at the Historical Society’s main location at Parry Mansion for a site tour of its 11 rooms that reflect 125 years of decorative changes. Tours with New Hope Arts Center take place at their central New Hope location, where participants are led through the winding gallery spaces highlighting works from contemporary artists in the Lambertville and New Hope area, as well as the Delaware Valley region. Created to further the heritage of New Hope as a vital regional arts center, New Hope Arts presents six to eight major exhibitions annually across a broad array of media. In January, Peddler’s Village - a popular shopping, dining and entertainment destination in Lahaska, Bucks County - will present its annual Village-wide Sales Event. Its 65 specialty shops, almost all of which are locally owned small businesses, will offer special pricing on an array of merchandise, including apparel, accessories, home goods, furniture, fine art and handcrafted items, books, toys and games, as well as plenty of gifts and collectibles. In addition, the spectacular holiday lights of Peddler’s Village begin on November 19 and continue through January 9, 2022, and their family-oriented evening Fire and Frost Fun event will take place January 7th and 8th.

Peddler's Village in Lahaska, PA

Meet in an extraordinary Village.

• Ample meeting space • Elegant 66-room inn • 60+ shops • Multiple restaurants & eateries • Beverage tasting rooms • 14-passenger shuttle • Indoor entertainment center

For inquiries, contact Brian Shields at 215-794-4062 or bshields@peddlersvillage.com PeddlersVillage.com

Bucks County, PA

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FOOD AND DRINK Currently, there are 22 breweries with 28 total locations on the Bucks County Ale Trail. New additions that have opened in 2021 so far include: Bitchin Kitten (Morrisville); Aristaeus (Langhorne); Neshaminy Creek Brewing (Dublin taproom); and Great Barn Taphouse (Warrington). Two more breweries are expected to open soon - Mystic Ways (Perkasie) in late fall or early winter of 2021, and Van Lieus Brewing Co. (Perkasie).

Great Barn Brewery; photo courtesy: Visit Bucks County (VBC); credit: Kevin Crawford Imagery

The Bucks County Ale Trail promotes the locally-grown craft beer scene, which features seasonal and historically-inspired brews. Sign-up on VisitBucksCounty.com/AleTrail and check in with the staff when visiting trail member breweries; visit at least five breweries on the trail and get a free t-shirt. The rolling hills and moderate climate of Bucks County combine to make it one of the premier grape growing regions of the East Coast. Currently, there are nine wineries in the county, seven of which are on the Bucks County Wine Trail. The latest to open, Vino by Zzino, was added to the trail this September. Many of the wineries on the trail are family-owned and have great stories and history behind them.

Free Will Brewing at Peddlers Village; photo courtesy: VBC; credit: Kevin Crawford Imagery

The Wine Trail is hosting two events this fall. Wine lovers can taste the newest, fruitiest varieties of wine during the Bucks County Wine Trail’s annual Nouveau Weekend, November 13-14, 2021. Nouveau wines are bottled young with little aging, offering light and sweet tastes. As is tradition in the Beaujolais region of France, the Bucks County wineries offer their own Nouveau from harvest.

Red Lion Brewery; photo courtesy: VBC; credit: Kevin Crawford Imagery

Second Sin Brewing Co.; photo courtesy: VBC 52 november z December 2021

In addition, the wineries of the Bucks County Wine Trail also will take part in their annual Holiday Celebration, December 4-5, 2021. Visitors can experience the beauty of the wineries decorated for the holidays while enjoying spiced wines, sampling cookies and artisanal cheeses, and relaxing to the sounds of holiday music. As an added bonus, guests can get a jump start on holiday shopping with special discount pricing, wine gift packs, gift baskets and unique wine accessories. This Holiday Celebration is the kickoff for Light Up the Vines, the trail's second annual vineyard illumination.


MEET ME BY THE RIVER

Edgy yet elegant, and urban in design, River House is culturally rich and highly stylized, complete with sweeping riverfront views and vibrant local art for luxurious stays, elevated meetings and special events with curated dining experiences.

NEW HOPE'S ALL-NEW LUXURY LIFESTYLE HOTEL 215-682-2022 | riverhousenewhope.com | A REFINED HOSPITALITY PROPERTY


WORKING TOGETHER “There are so many classic and unique properties in Bucks County that are ready to work with planners and organizers,” says Paul Bencivengo, president and COO of Visit Bucks County. “New locations include The River House at Odette’s and The Logan Inn in New Hope. These two fantastic properties, with rooms on-site, have the flexibility to host small and large corporate events and weddings. The new and existing breweries throughout the county also provide a different vibe for those planners and coordinators looking for fun space.” Visit Bucks County (VBC) has been in constant contact with its partners since the onset of the pandemic, ensuring that resources for recovery were made easy to find on its website, as well as organizing phone calls, site visits and virtual webinars.

Stella at the Ghost Light Inn in New Hope, PA

LOOKING AHEAD Visit Bucks County’s team has been hard at work reintroducing meeting and event attendees and group tourists to the county’s offerings since the impact of the pandemic. A Destination Ambassadors program has been created to assist with attending meetings, events and group tour type trade shows, such as the Pennsylvania Bus Association’s Annual Meeting and Sales Retreat in October, and more.

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VBC also has worked with members to promote special offers and lodging deals through online advertising, and are now starting to shift gears into promotion for the expected return of in-person events.


One Day…? No. Two Days in New Hope No way one day is enough time. Maybe two days, or even two nights and three “long” days when planning a retreat or a meeting in one of the region's most visited towns. And, of course, add more days when visiting nearby Peddler's Village (or vice a versa) and holding your program on-site at this well-known destination. New Hope, PA has always been a welcoming town for locals, travelers and groups, but now more than ever it has become a great destination for board retreats, small conferences, and social events. Filled with art galleries, boutique independently owned shops, and a mix of restaurant stylings, New Hope continues to evolve as many of its establishments have expanded and re-developed.

we’re carrying forward from Marsha Brown’s,” said Michael Sklar, co-owner of the restaurant. "To fulfill our vision, we aspire to be more than just a high-end steakhouse. From the moment a patron walks through the doors of this gorgeous, almost 150-year-old church, we want them to be taken by the refined atmosphere, the distinctive food, the live jazz music in our lounge, and the accommodations of our staff. Oldestone is about the complete experience of a night out." "It is our objective with this establishment to continue the tradition of history, culture and cuisine for which New Hope has been celebrated,” Sklar continues. “Locals and tourists alike recognize our community’s reputation for hospitality."

The Logan Inn is the cornerstone of Main Street. After two years of construction, Landmark Hospitality has completed their expansion and renovation of the property, transforming it into a boutique hotel experience and home of curated entertainment. Beyond the main parlor, guests are now welcomed by multiple gathering spaces on elevated planes, including an open kitchen, event space, two dining rooms, outdoor patio, a cigar lounge, a whiskey lounge, and a bar.

"New Hope is one of those towns where you can get lost and almost feel like you are in a bubble miles and miles away from reality," stated Jimmy Nikodellis, general manager of the Ghost Light Inn. "It is great to see the town growing and expanding, but also keeping the same vibe. There have been a lot of new hotels and restaurants open in town in the last year or two. All of these places have their own theme or identity, so it just adds to the many options that already exist."

Landmark created a split-level basement, encouraging social interactions. One level has a 3,000-bottle wine cellar and large-scale rock-and-roll art that features classic celebrity figures along with a pool table in the center. The second level has a full, old-fashioned movie theater accented with marquee light fixtures, movie posters and a concession stand.

“Being just a short drive from both Philadelphia and New York City, New Hope is such a charming riverside destination for those seeking a culturally rich, scenic retreat location that sparks creativity, and positive thinking. The addition of the River House at Odette’s to this community has only enhanced the offerings in town and its visibility in the meeting and events markets," observed Ron Gorodesky, CEO, Refined Hospitality, which owns the River House at Odette's.

Next to The Logan Inn is Oldestone, opening this month on the site of the former Marsha Brown's, which is managed by the owners of The Greenhouse another Main Street restaurant. "With Oldestone, we have created something special, while still being mindful of the legacy

"We are seeing an emergence of even more social gatherings, corporate retreats, and weddings,” Gorodesky added. “Travelers and decision makers alike are enthused by this eclectic world-class destination for its outstanding arts and culture scene, as well as elevated cuisine and lodging options that the River House brings to the area.” Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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LocationReport

CHESTER COUNTY, PA BrandywineValley.com

The Creamery in Kennett Square, PA; photo courtesy: Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau; credit: Leigh Vogel Chester County’s Brandywine Valley is an unparalleled leisure destination that is known internationally as an arts and culture hub. The region is home to Longwood Gardens along with many more tourism assets. "Being in the countryside of Philadelphia, it’s no surprise that Chester County’s Brandywine Valley is steeped in history and natural beauty,” states Courtney Babcock, director of sales for the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau. “Historic venues, extraordinary attractions, farm-to-table cuisine and more make gatherings of all kinds special. We look forward to working with planners to create productive and memorable events."

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WHAT’S NEW The Creamery of Kennett Square is ready to launch a brand-new event space - The Retreat at the Creamery - which will blend business and pleasure, games and relaxation, comfort and style. Areas dedicated to groups feature campsite and picnic themes, each creating a one-of-a-kind experience for gatherings and celebrations. Accommodations nearby include the Hilton Garden Inn and the Fairfield Inn and Suites Kennett Square. 430 West is a new addition to the meetings and event landscape in West Chester, an expansive, flexible facility that features an industrial-chic vibe and an open, welcoming environment. Spaces range from a full conference hall, a virtual blank canvas for customizing events, to smaller private spaces to indoor/outdoor options like an al fresco courtyard. Guestrooms are available at the nearby Hotel Warner and also at Faunbrook Bed and Breakfast. The Embassy Suites by Hilton Philadelphia Valley Forge recently completed a more than $12-million renovation that transformed its guest suites, meeting and event space, fitness center, indoor swimming pool and lobby. The hotel offers open air atriums and a Hilton CleanStay/EventReady program to ensure the comfort and safety of guests and meeting attendees. Coming soon the Embassy Suites by Hilton also will introduce a new restaurant and bar, Cool River - an upscale steakhouse and seafood restaurant experience with a southwestern flair. The new owners of the Fairville Inn have completed extensive renovations to the property, which is nestled in the heart of the Brandywine Valley. Stylish European inspired interiors feature gas fireplaces, sitting rooms, new bathrooms with custom showers, and views of outdoor spaces. The entire Inn can serve as an event space with a team that includes an in-house chef, in-house floral designer and others to help craft truly special events.

Atrium at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Philadelphia Valley Forge in Wayne PA; photo courtesy: Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau

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FOOD AND DRINK From farm-to-table country experiences to bustling eateries throughout charming towns and main streets, there’s something on the menu for everyone in Chester County. Eagleview Town Center in Exton features a fantastic Restaurant Row. Favorites include Al Pastor, Brickside Grille, Bluefin, and Suburban Restaurant and Beer Garden. Longwood Gardens’ 1906 Restaurant features an award-winning mushroom soup, part of its menu of unique flavors and creations. Many ingredients are grown on-site. For a more casual dining experience, there is an outdoor beer garden, as well. Brunch at Terrain’s Greenhouse Café is the perfect complement to the garden theme. Seasonally changing menus reflect the freshest local produce, meats, and dairy alongside hand-crafted beverages – all served in an environment invoking the outdoors with charming décor. The Brandywine Valley also is home to several wineries, including beautiful estate vineyards in the rolling hills, charming tasting rooms and barrel-aging cellars filled with premium wines that showcase a unique terroir. Additionally, craft breweries and distilleries offer their own distinctive “cheers” to any celebration.

WORKING TOGETHER The Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau staff communicates with customers through a variety of resources. Last fall, an intimate dine-around event for meeting and event planners was held called Versatile Venues, which welcomed them to several unique properties in Chester County. Another is scheduled in lively Phoenixville this November, starting with appetizers at the Phoenixville Foundry, the former foundry of the Phoenix Iron and Steel Company, then it’s off to the industrial-chic Franklin Commons where Drexelbrook Catering will serve dinner, followed by a finale of desserts at the famed Colonial Theatre (where the classic movie “The Blob” was filmed). Social media, digital marketing and informational newsletters are among other initiatives that have enabled the sales team to stay connected with customers. Messaging has included how venues and properties have instituted safety protocols, created outdoor spaces to offer alternatives to indoor events, and other ways they have adapted to the changing needs of planners. To assist planners financially, an incentive was promoted in 2021 and will continue through the first quarter of 2022. Any new meeting or event that books in a Chester County lodging property with 25 or more room nights is eligible for a $500 signing bonus, plus $5 per night on rooms picked up.

Fairville Inn Bed and Breakfast in Chadds Ford, PA; photo courtesy: Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau 58 november z December 2021


Longwood Lights at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA; photo courtesy: Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau

LOOKING AHEAD Looking forward to the holiday season in the Brandywine Valley, A Longwood Christmas this year will dramatically contrast the warmth and chill of fire and ice. Visitors can revel in the festively decorated trees in fiery red and amber tones, flickering flame lanterns, inviting fire pits, and much more. On view November 19 through January 9, 2022, tickets to A Longwood Christmas are available without time restraints at participating Chester County accommodations. Upon check-in, receive a reusable Brandywine Valley Welcome Bag with discounts, giveaways and a $25 AMEX gift card. Finally, looking ahead to summer, Longwood will bring back Light: Installations by Bruce Munro from June 30 - October 30, 2022 – an exhibition featuring eight installations incorporating both outdoor and indoor spaces throughout the gardens.

Meet in Chester County

Discover a charming destination with versatile venues for all types of meetings and events, from historic properties and Victorian mansions to trusted hotels and modern meeting spaces.

Chester County Booking Bonus New meetings and events booked in a Chester County lodging property with 25 or more room nights will receive a $500 signing bonus. Contact Courtney Babcock for more information. (484) 840-7213 | Courtney@BrandywineValley.com |

MeetinCC

www.eventsmagazine.com

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LocationReport

DELAWARE COUNTY, PA VisitDelcoPA.com

Di Bruno Bros. Old World European Market at the Strafford Shopping Center in Wayne, PA

Delaware County is home to arboretums, gardens, county parks and private preserves that provide plenty of places for relaxation, exploring, and enjoying the outdoors year-round. The county’s dining scene has something for every taste, occasion, and budget, from high-end dining to diverse ethnic fare and a very popular “dining under the stars” event in Media. Unique venues here include: Brandywine River Museum of Art; Community Arts Center; Penns Woods Winery; Inn at Grace Winery; Subaru Park; Tyler Arboretum; and Linvilla Orchards, to name just a few, and all are available to host meetings, corporate retreats, social events and more.

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Delaware County, PA The perfect location for meetings, events, and team activities

Located just outside of Philadelphia,

Scranton, PA

Delaware County is easily accessible from Philadelphia International Airport,

New York, NY

Delaware County

major interstates I-95, I-276 and I-476 and public transit systems such as

Philadelphia, PA

Harrisburg, PA

SEPTA and Amtrak. With more than 4,200 rooms, Delaware

Baltimore, MD

Atlantic City, NJ

County offers a complete range of accommodations from full-service hotels to charming Bed & Breakfasts.

Washington, D.C.

VisitDelcoPA.com

Lou Marrocco, Director of Meetings & Events LMarrocco@visitdelcopa.com


WHAT’S NEW Described as “…a place for other wine lovers to meet, have fun, blend their own wines and experience wine the way it was meant to be experienced…” Vino Bambino Winery opened late 2020. Offering a unique, hands-on wine experience from the barrel to the bottle, guests are invited to become the winemakers at this urban winery. Their Barrel Room and Industrial Room also serve as one-of-a-kind private event spaces. One of Delaware County’s most iconic restaurants and event spaces, D’Ignazio’s Towne House, reopened under new ownership and is now known as The Towne House. Several of its unique dining rooms and the property’s hugely popular outdoor dining space, Idlewild, opened in late 2020, but the Towne House and Towne Hall venues debuted in September 2021. The Towne House pays homage to its namesake while bringing a fresh new twist where old meets new with farm-to-table cuisine, an extensive wine list, and ingredient-driven cocktails in an airy, modern space that includes touches of the old Towne House preserved and on display. At Towne Hall, a stage will serve as the focal point of the space, which will function as a multi-purpose entertainment venue and event space. In March of 2021, Di Bruno Bros. opened an 8,000square foot, Old World European-style market in Wayne’s Strafford Shopping Center. Ship Bottom Brewery, a “blender” and beer garden, is coming this fall to Swarthmore. Brandywine River Museum of Art underwent facility renovations to its second and third floors in mid-February, 2021. The Strawbridge Gallery, a space used for changing exhibitions, now opens directly into the museum’s central atrium. This reimagined gallery will improve circulation within the building and enhance the visitor experience. New state-of-the-art lighting, HVAC, updated restrooms, and fire suppression systems also were part of the renovation. Coming in December 2021 and centered around a state-of-the-art outdoor skating rink, Flight on Ice Entertainment is bringing family fun to Delco this holiday and winter season. Food and beverage vendors, Instagram-worthy experiences, and a hospitality tent are just some of the offerings at Flight on Ice at the Delaware County Veterans Memorial in Newtown Square. 62 november z December 2021

Vino Bambino is an urban winery and blending company in Broomall, PA; photo courtesy: Visit Delco


FOOD AND DRINK Delco is home to a number of breweries and wineries with options that offer something for every taste. Breweries include: the nautically inspired Ship Bottom Brewery, which partners with Linvilla Orchards for their Beer Garden (open through November); Sterling Pig Brewery in Media (they deliver!); Iron Hill Brewery (Media); Town Tap by Conshohocken Brewing Company in Havertown; 2SP Brewing Company with its tasting room in Aston; McKenzie Brew House (locations in Malvern and Glen Mills); Four Fingers Brewing Company (Aston); and The Larimer Beer Company in Chester. For those in search of great wines in Delaware County, consider: the familyrun and award winning Penns Woods Winery in Chadds Ford; wine making classes at the urban winery Vino Bambino in Broomall; John Robert Cellars in Essington; and Grace Winery in Glen Mills, which features not only a tasting room, but a historic inn, as well. Several restaurants and eateries have successfully opened in Delaware County despite the challenges they have faced in doing so during the pandemic. Nick and Stacie Haselidis recently brought Detroit-style pizza to Delaware County, opening their second venture, Crust, next door to their first, the Havertown Grille. Baked in 14- by 10-inch rectangular pans, this is one hearty pizza! DiBruno Bros. recently opened Old World European market in the Strafford Shopping Center has been described by third-generation owner/president and grandson of Danny DiBruno, Bill Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Mignucci, Jr., as an “eat-shop-learn experience.” Inside this Italian marketplace are meats, sides and sandwiches in The Rosticceria; caviar, smoked fish and cured meats at the Salumi and Seacuterie Counter; and breads, housemade pastries and other desserts at the Pane and Dulce counter. It’s a true one-stop shop with a full liquor license for its Bar Alimentari and open-kitchen Cucina. Make sure to stop at the full-service coffee bar, Café Di Bruno, for expertly brewed beverages, parfaits, house-made pastries and breakfast sandwiches. Moving to America from the United Kingdom created a yearning for “mum’s home-cooked food” — and upped Sam and Charlie Elings’ game in their own kitchen. The Elings decided they wanted to share their favorite dishes with others, opening English Offerings, a “takeaway” shop where everything is made from scratch daily, from fresh, never frozen, ingredients. They offer vegetarian options, too.

Rosalie at the Wayne Hotel, Wayne, PA

There’s a new restaurant in the Wayne Hotel, Rosalie, that focus on authentic Italian comfort food. Part of Fearless Restaurants, it is named after owner Marty Grim’s mother and boasts four dining rooms and an outdoor porch. The vibe is fun, and it boasts a menu packed with seasonal ingredients, fresh pasta and other favorites. A White Dog Cafe opened in the Glen Mills area, carrying the brand's familiar whimsical, dog-themed decor throughout, including a gallery of commissioned paintings of customers’ dogs! Under Michael Selser, former executive chef at the Haverford restaurant, the menu remains seasonal and local; the Philadelphia flagship was one of the very first to source in that way. Brookline Sourdough is Brian Sullivan's brain-child. Having heard about sourdough starter while he was unemployed, he started experimenting with bread baking. Once he mastered it, he gifted it and grateful recipients told him that he should sell it. Soon, his micro-cottage sourdough bread bakery began to take off and his Instagram following exploded. He currently has weekly subscribers (standing orders) and the rest of the loaves go to quick DMers or emailers. Everyone on his list gets an email when orders open for the week. As a bonus, he delivers. Occasionally pick-ups can be made at the House Cup Cafe.

The Towne House Restaurant, Media, PA

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These and other stories are shared on Visit Delco's weekly food blog. Find out more at: visitdelcopa.com/category/food-drink


WORKING TOGETHER In June of 2021 Visit Delco co-hosted the PCMA Philadelphia Chapter’s Tailgate Tradeshow at Drexelbrook Event Center, and in October of 2021 co-hosted Meet Me in Delco at the Inn at Villanova University. Also in October, Visit Delco partnered with Bandwango, a Salt Lake City-based travel technology company specializing in mobile digital platforms, to launch Ready. Set. Delco! Autumn Trail Pass as a way to promote some of Delco’s favorite places and outdoor spaces. This free, mobile-friendly pass is open to both residents and visitors. Pass-holders checking in at five locations over the course of the season are entered into a drawing for a chance to win a gift card to a local Delco business with the overall goal to promote authentic experiences for visitors and locals looking to discover and explore the best of Delaware County.

LOOKING AHEAD Delaware County continues to offer outstanding opportunities for business and leisure travelers while delivering memorable, affordable leisure and business-related experiences, which is essential. “With continued vaccine distribution and proactive messaging pledging safety and security, Visit Delco remains hopeful that travelers will be inspired to sample a new cuisine at one of the county’s top-rated restaurants; explore its beautiful parks and gardens; tour renowned museums; find a new unique shop; or plan an overnight stay at one of Delco’s hotels or bed-andbreakfasts,” says Steve Byrne, executive director for Visit Delco. “Visit Delco supports its hospitality and tourism partners throughout these difficult times and remains optimistic that further signs of recovery will continue in 2022,” he adds.

An Extraordinary & Unique Venue Nestled in the Beautiful Main Line Countryside. Completely Renovated Conference Center & Sleeping Rooms Refresh of the Stately Montrose Mansion New & Upgraded Technology Daily Package Pricing

601 County Line Rd • Radnor, PA 19087 • 610-519-8000

www.theinnatvillanova.com Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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LocationReport

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA ValleyForge.org

Recently opened Residence Inn Hotel in Bala Cynwyd, PA

OVERVIEW The amenities offered within Valley Forge and Montgomery County help to make the area one of the most attractive destinations in the region. All within a short drive, visitors and attendees will find the King of Prussia Mall, history with Valley Forge National Historical Park, plus delectable restaurants with more than 1,600 options from which to choose, and attractions in almost every corner like Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown.

WHAT'S NEW The Residence Inn Bala Cynwyd opened in February of 2021 as Montco’s newest riverfront venue. The Element Valley Forge debuted in July of 2021 as the sister property to the Sheraton Valley Forge hotel. The Sheraton Valley Forge currently is undergoing renovations.

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A BREATH OF FRESH AIR, A WALK THROUGH HISTORY, AND A MUCH NEEDED RELEASE. Make Montgomery County, PA your meetings destination. Contact us today to learn more about our complimentary services and group incentives!

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FOOD AND DRINK The Alloy King of Prussia, a Doubletree Hotel, has completed a $19-million renovation that has truly transformed the property, formerly the Doubletree Valley Forge.

The Valley Forge and Montgomery County area continues to add to its growing list of restaurants, too. Morgan’s Brooklyn BBQ and Kooma KOP (sushi) are two of the newest in the area.

Crowne Plaza King of Prussia wrapped up its full-property renovation in 2020 by completing finishing touches on meeting and event spaces.

Lark, located on the top floor of the Residence Inn Bala Cynwyd, is preparing to open in the coming weeks, adding a new rooftop restaurant to the county’s impressive list of culinary offerings.

Elmwood Park Zoo recently received a $1-million donation from the Genuardi Family Foundation in support of the zoo's efforts to expand its development across Stony Creek and is one of the largest in the zoo’s 97-year history. Elmwood Park Zoo's future expansion relies on being DePauls Table Modern Italian able to access the more than 20-acres of land that run Steakhouse in Ardmore, PA adjacent to its current footprint. The Genuardi Family Foundation's gift will fund the construction of a 100-footlong vehicle and pedestrian bridge spanning the creek. “The gift from The Genuardi Family Foundation gets us one step closer to a whole new era for the zoo," said Jennifer Conti, Elmwood Park Zoo's director of development. "It opens up our ability to enhance our existing facility and create new and exciting adventures for our guests to enjoy.”

WORKING TOGETHER "As groups have returned, our members have been ready to help welcome them back," asserts Scott Higgins, director of sales for the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Bureau. "We’ve created a 'Show Your Badge’ program, offering area discounts to attendees through the free Visit Valley Forge app." "Busy periods within our destination have been shared, allowing the ability to properly staff," he continues. "We’d hosted educational webinars for our members, allowing them to gain valuable knowledge on what’s now needed in this 'new normal'."

LOOKING AHEAD "Prior to the Delta variant, we were seeing an impressive return of meetings and events," Higgins observes. "As cases continue to decrease, we feel confident that the return will again happen and that momentum will pick up. It’s fairly clear that, after not meeting for nearly two years, groups want to get back together safely. Virtual was a great short-term solution, but it’s only reaffirmed that the power of meeting in-person can’t be matched."

Maggiano's Little Italy, King of Prussia, PA 68 november z December 2021


OVERCOMING CHALLENGES Montgomery County is a great destination for meetings, events and leisure travel, and it is easily accessible. Home to many historic venues as well as an expo center, it can accommodate events of all sizes. The county also has a large network of trails, craft breweries, shopping and great restaurants that provide additional opportunities for both meeting attendees and those visiting for pleasure.

Karamoor Winery’s new tasting room being rebuilt after a 2020 fire.

"Social events and personal travel are returning to the area, both for inside and outdoor activities," observes Pamela Kelly, RPh, MS, president and CEO for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Montgomery County. "Business-related events are coming back, but at a slower rate. There is an increasing comfort level for small meetings, however large conferences are still a little slower to return. Employees that have not yet returned to the office have been reluctant or not permitted to attend in-person events." Venues are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their guests, Kelly adds, but notes that the challenge is in finding staff to fill vacancies in order to maintain the service level expected by guests. "Once employees return to the office, there will be an increase in meeting attendance and therefore events and conventions," Kelly states. "Vaccination ability for small children also will help relieve the stress of parents concerned about spreading COVID-19. Staffing concerns are expected to be ongoing, and supply chain issues may cause increased costs."

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LocationReport

PHILADELPHIA, PA DiscoverPHL.com

Culinary choices displayed at the Center Bar in the heart of Live! Casino and Hotel Philadelphia

OVERVIEW One of only eight other destinations in the world to be included in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2021 Gold List, the city is home to inspiring venues, attractions and experiences.

WHAT’S NEW Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia recently celebrated the opening of its new Live! Event Center, a 15,000square foot meeting, event and convention space poised to become one of the most sought-after event and entertainment venues in the Northeastern U.S. It offers groups of all sizes customizable event space, including a 10,000-square foot main ballroom, two breakout rooms, expansive pre-function options, and three executive boardrooms combined with the services and amenities of a luxury hotel and world-class casino.

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The Live! Event Center’s Market Ballroom features a high-tech performance stage and an 18foot ceiling with modern light fixtures and a maximum capacity of 1,000. The Liberty Room for up to 100 guests offers a distraction free setting for breakout sessions and smaller meetings. The Rittenhouse Room pairs easy access with high-tech amenities for 100 people. Three additional high-tech spaces include the Franklin Boardroom, Roosevelt Boardroom, and Whitman Boardman. Meetings also can be taken sky high, with rooftop event rentals atop the property’s parking structure for one-of-a-kind outdoor gatherings that provide amazing views of the city skyline and the surrounding Stadium District.

Lobby of the newly opened W Philadelphia Hotel

“From the moment you step into our facility, you are officially a part of the Live! family,” said Kelley Maddox, vice president of sales for Live! Philadelphia. “Live! is committed to providing guests with a best-in-class entertainment experience, led by a best-in-class team in one of the most unique and exciting locations in Philadelphia – the Stadium District. We are dedicated to making your experience unforgettable, and to the highest safety standards, from the moment you step onto

PLAN YOUR NEXT MEETING AT

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LIVEPHILLYMEETINGS.COM ENJOY WORLD-CLASS DINING & PRIVATE ROOMS AT OUR AWARD-WINNING RESTAURANTS THE PRIME RIB · LUK FU · SPORTS & SOCIAL PHILADELPHIA · 10TH STREET MARKET GAMBLING PROBLEM? CALL 1-800-GAMBLER

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Guild House Hotel in Philadelphia, PA; photo courtesy: PHL CVB; credit: Julia Lehman

our property to the moment you leave. We are setting a new standard for all meetings and events.” In addition to the meeting space in the Live! Event Center, guests hosting an event will have access to the many amenities that make Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia a truly all-inclusive and versatile meeting destination. The property features the 208-room luxury Live! Hotel, ample on-site, covered parking, gaming and nightly entertainment. The property also features 11 dining destinations, including the Zagat-rated #1 steakhouse, The Prime Rib, as well as customized catering.

DELICIOUS. DECADENT. INSPIRED. Private Dining Room s, The Librar y, Piano Bar + Lounge or Full Restaurant Booking

Live! Philadelphia also can offer an assortment of team building opportunities, including learning table games such as blackjack, taking an art walk in the building, participating in chef tastings and more. Six new hotels have opened with features inspired by Philadelphia’s arts and culture scene. These new hotel properties opened within the last year - during the pandemic - a testament to the city’s perseverance.

Located at Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia P r imeRibPhilly.com

900 Packer Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19148

215-682-7500 72 november z December 2021

The luxurious W Philadelphia features artistic touches inspired by Philadelphia’s rich history, dynamic galleries, and eclectic music scene, including two large scale murals at the hotel’s entrance. Sharing a building with the W, the Element Philadelphia’s focus on sustainability and well-being drives its wellness amenities, including a “Bikes-to-Borrow” program that allows guests to stay active as they explore the city. Canopy by Hilton’s design is inspired by Philadelphia’s modern street art, while the Hyatt Centric near Rittenhouse Square features artwork inspired by Philadelphia’s neighborhoods and traditions.



Canopy by Hilton Philadelphia Center City; photo courtesy: PHL CVB; credit: J. Soefer The boutique Guild House hotel occupies the former home of one of the nation’s oldest women’s empowerment organizations and has partnered with local, women-owned businesses for their amenities. Several new museum experiences also have opened in the city. The Neon Museum of Philadelphia displays over 120 neon signs and artworks that explore the history behind some of Philadelphia’s most storied businesses. The Philadelphia Museum of Art recently unveiled expansive new and reimagined spaces, including new galleries for Modern and Contemporary art and Early American art, marking its largest installation of new exhibition space since the iconic building opened in 1928. The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center opened on Independence Mall and is dedicated to examining how faith helped to foster some of the nation’s core values. 74 november z December 2021

WORKING TOGETHER PHLCVB developed an initiative that focuses on health and safety as a result of COVID-19, a program aimed at ensuring a safe return to travel and meetings by aligning expertise and guidance from key tourism and hospitality leaders while also tapping into Philadelphia’s renowned medical and scientific community. By leveraging long held relationships through its PHL Life Sciences division, the PHLCVB named a Chief Health Advisor, Dr. David Nash, and PHL Life Sciences Executive Director, Bonnie Grant, and established a 20-member subcommittee of the PHL Life Sciences Board, the PHL Health Advisors. A public health veteran and Dean Emeritus of the Jefferson College of Population Health, Dr. Nash served as a valuable resource to customers as they planned a return to in-person events in 2021. The PHL Health Advisors, representing a wide range of expertise in

fields like public health, infectious disease, medical research and mental health, provided detailed information on medical advances, vaccine development and public health best practices. In order to actively keep customers informed, the PHLCVB hosts semi-regular webinars with Dr. Nash and Dr. Leonard Friedland, a vaccine expert in Philadelphia. Dr. Friedland is a member of the PHL Life Sciences Advisory Board and serves on the National Vaccine Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ultimately, the expert guidance by resident scientists, along with being flexible and innovative about having to change at a moment’s notice to adapt to protocols and the needs of each individual customer, is the key to planning a safe meeting.


Steak 48 Offers Premier Private Dining Options for Gatherings and Celebrations of all Forms

Situated along Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, the city’s designated arts and cultural center, Steak 48 takes center stage amongst the abundance of theatres and artistic institutions it surrounds. Since it’s opening in 2020, the restaurant has become the preeminent destination for premier dining and a favorite amongst VIPs and celebrities alike. The restaurant is also a welcome host to some of the city’s most notable events, which can range in size and offerings. Steak 48’s team has proven themselves as experts, with the ability to create a custom experience based on the guest list and preferred event format, from cocktail receptions to formal sit-down dinners outfitted with wine pairings by Steak 48’s in-house sommelier, and everything in between. As one of the largest restaurants in Philadelphia, Steak 48 houses a total of eight private and semi-private areas perfectly suited for events both large and small. Events hosted at the bi-level restaurant can also lay claim to a private bar, and several spaces offer flat screen television and AV capabilities. From the semi-private Mezzanine and Mezzanine bar areas, to the Chef’s Dining Room and the Library, Steak 48’s various spaces provide flexibility to host everything from professional networking and intimate parties, to red carpet galas and beyond.

visit www.steak48.com or call 215.552.4848 Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Neon Museum of Philadelphia; photo courtesy: PHL CVB; credit: K. Huff

LOOKING AHEAD “Philadelphia has an impressive vaccination rate - higher than both state and national averages. We got here through the genuine effort and collaboration of our health department, scientific community, and hospitality partners," asserts Maria Grasso, Senior Vice President, Convention Division. "Over the last 8 months, we have proven that we can host successful events and are well positioned as our industry returns to host face-to-face meetings.” Philadelphia recently hosted its largest convention in 18 months, Natural Products Expo East, and the city continues to book events and conventions into the future. The PHLCVB sales team’s booking pace in future years currently is 70 percent over 2019 levels, indicating that people want to meet, and meetings and events can be hosted safely at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The convention center has a strong protocol in place with its partners, and the city has shown a big commitment to health and safety. In addition, with the borders opening to overseas travelers, PHLCVB expects to see an uptick in overseas visitors early in 2022, too.

Faith and Liberty Discovery Center in Philadelphia, PA; photo courtesy: PHL CVB; credit: K. Huff 76 november z December 2021


A SPECIAL DESTINATION "Philadelphia has always been a special destination. Even as the city develops and evolves over time, it always maintains its special charm,” observes Britni Lettsome, director of rental sales and events for The Liberty View at Independence Visitor Center. “Whether it’s a family traveling across the U.S. or from distant shores, or a corporate gathering to build new relationships or strengthen existing ones, Philadelphia offers something for everyone. Every visit is memorable.” With an active downtown, great shopping, one-of-a-kind food scene, historic and cultural attractions, a scenic green infrastructure, ample accommodations, and unique events, the city truly offers something for everyone.

Historic Meets Hip

AT THE NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER BOOK YOUR EVENT TODAY! Call 215.409.6653 or email facilityrental@constitutioncenter.org Visit constitutioncenter.org/facility-rentals

"As the city welcomes back meeting goers and tourists, Philadelphia’s moniker as the ‘City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection’ has never been more evident,” asserts Lettsome. “Philadelphia is prepared to do what it takes to keep visitors safe, and to go above and beyond to make everyone feel at home, and activate new procedures for the health and wellbeing of all."

Indoor/outdoor event space available at the Independence Visitor Center in Philadelphia Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Culinary Tours Restaurants, caterers, professional chefs and food service providers throughout the region offer a number of special team building opportunities from cooking classes to demonstrations to food tours and more. Here is a sampling of some of them being offered to individuals and groups this fall and winter. 78 november z December 2021


Anna M. Florio, owner La Cucina at the Market

Gran Caffe L’Aquila in Philadelphia has been consistently promoting and planning a variety of programs for groups. Over the last year-plus, they have created space within the restaurant to showcase an Italian Market and also have increased their online Italian orders. Known for their creativity, Gran Caffe L’Aquila offers very popular Regional Wine Dinners along with Gastronomic Gelato Tastings and other guest experiences that keep groups coming back for more.

Food appreciation has become a big part of popular culture. Being in a kitchen environment naturally enhances one’s desire to learn and produce. Working as a team to cook creates bonding, inspires competition, creates a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Throughout our rich, 15-year history, we've offered interactive culinary events to bring groups from 10 to 40 people together in the kitchen. Our instructors facilitate a flow of kitchen hustle that culminates in sitting down to enjoy the meal you’ve created. We offer lunch and dinner activities that feature seasonal foods and have something for everyone. The pandemic increased interest in home cooking and dining, in turn fueling the desire for kitchen creativity. Culinary is here to stay, and culinary experiences are ALL we do. From beginning to end, we incorporate facets that make it a fantastic experience for our guests. It's a 100 percent handon experience. The pandemic increased interest in home cooking and dining, in turn fueling the desire for kitchen creativity. Culinary is here to stay, and culinary experiences are ALL that we do. From beginning to end, we incorporate facets that make it a fantastic experience for our guests. It's a 100 percent hands-on experience.

Interactive Cooking Classes Team Building Events Private Lunches and Dinners lacucinaatthemarket.com 1206 Arch Street

215-922-1170 Philadelphia, PA 19107 Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Thomas Crymes, director of marketing and communications The Drexelbrook During the holidays, you can find a bottle of Limoncello in the home of any Italian family. Domenick Savino CPCE, CEO of The Drexelbrook is no stranger to this tradition. After a trip to Italy with his family, he was inspired to make Limoncello at home with fruit from his lemon tree. In 2020, he brought this tradition to the Drexelbrook by conducting a Limoncello Making Class. Beyond the Plate The event quickly gained popularity as a fun holiday event for small groups and couples. Domenick taught the class in the newly remodeled restaurant, STREETLIGHT Kitchen and Bar. The event included a demonstration on making Limoncello, wood-fired tapas, beer and wine. Each table was set up with all the required tools and materials and baskets full of lemons. Throughout the class, Domenick included trivia about Italy and the Limoncello making process. With fine attention to detail, he walked the class through the first step of the Limoncello making process. While they couldn't taste their own Limoncello yet, everyone sampled STREETLIGHT's Signature Limoncello Martini. The martini was a personal addition from Domenick and is a crowd-favorite at the restaurant. After the class, participants took their jars of Limoncello mix home, as it requires 30 days to ferment. On day 30, Domenick followed up with a reminder that it was time to blend the mixture. Another 30 days later, the Limoncello was finally ready for tasting.

Leah Donnelly, director of marketing Di Bruno Bros. Di Bruno Bros. After Hours is a private, after dark, tasting, learning, and shopping experience that takes place in our shops. It's a behind-the-scenes, two-hour experience, where our cheesemongers regale you with wondrous facts and tales of life behind the cheese counter, bite after bite. Each event includes an abundant antipasto, six perfect cheese pairing dishes, and the ability to sample just about anything your heart desires in the store. And attendees have the opportunity to shop at a 20 percent discount, as well! Celebrate even more by selecting a curated wine package for your party, or shop our Bottle Shop stores before the event. After Hours is a fun and unforgettable sampling of the Di Bruno Bros. legacy.

Right before Christmas, Domenick and the class attendees joined in a video call to toast and taste their final product. With so much popularity from the first class, he is hosting another class for the 2021 holiday season, and hopefully more seasons to come. "Cin cin" (Italian for "Cheers!”) to The Drexelbrook's new Limoncello tradition.

Domenick Savino of The Drexelbrook 80 november z December 2021

Princeton Tour


Beyond The Plate and The Princeton Tour Company In Jersey City, NJ, Beyond the Plate Food Tours was founded to foster community and connection through food by highlighting New Jersey’s diverse and delicious food scene in a fun and exciting way. Personalized tours, offered across the state in the towns of Red Bank, Jersey City and Somerville, each include 4-5 local culinary favorites. Groups are able to chat directly with chefs, proprietors and other culinary industry experts while bonding over food. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and are invited to hear stories that will provide new insights into the local food scene. Several distinctive stops make up the tour, including: Jon Bon Jovi’s community restaurant JBJ Food Kitchen in Red Bank; Luna in Jersey City; and Project P.U.B. in Somerville. All VIP group tours are customizable with curated tastings, pairings and interactions, and can be adjusted to any dietary need or allergy.

PLAN YOUR

C O R P O R AT E H O L I D AY PA RT Y Celebrate the season with a warm and inviting festive experience catered by Di Bruno Bros. Our menu features epic stations designed around our cozy winter favorites.

BO O K I N G N OW

C AT E R I N G @ D I B R U N O . C O M D I B R U N O C AT E R I N G . C O M 215-665-1659

The Princeton Tour Company also features a plethora safe and physically distanced private group tours, corporate events and team building, in addition to their famed walking tour options for every type of interest from history to ghost tours to pub crawls. Their most popular walking tour features a guided two-hour stroll through Princeton University’s famed campus. The Genius Pub and Grub Crawl combines highlights of the walking tour with strategic libation and foodie spots along scenic routes on campus and the surrounding streets. Entertaining and interactive scavenger hunts also can be arranged and are widely used as a team building event with participants racing through downtown to complete the course. Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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EvEntMAkErs DELAWARE

PENNSYLVANIA

Wilmington - The Chase Center on the Riverfront has hired Keith Davis as their new Food & Beverage Director.

Bethlehem - Alyssa Lippincott has been promoted to Director of Sales for Wind Creek Bethlehem, while Rebecca Kim has been hired as Sales Manager, and Mindy Grote as National Sales Manager.

MARYLAND Owings Mills – Marriott Owings Mills Metro Centre has appointed Bernard Smith as Executive Chef. The property, which opened in October, will feature The Tillery - an upscale full-service restaurant. Bernard is responsible for conceptualizing and creating its menu, crafting the culinary experience, and overseeing staff and all food and beverage operations.

MASSACHUSETTS Boston - The Boston Convention Marketing Center announced the addition of three industry veterans to their teams: David Taylor, Director, Hotel Relations and Services; Neil Schriever, Senior Director, Sales and Industry Relations; and Jessica Parr, Citywide Sales Manager.

NEW JERSEY Atlantic City - Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City welcomed industry veteran Donna Ward to the role of Vice President of Sales overseeing the resort’s hotel sales operations including meetings and conventions. Prior to joining Hard Rock Atlantic City Donna spent more than 35 years in sales roles throughout Atlantic City including at Harrah’s, the former Trump Organization, Resorts Casino Hotel, and most recently as VP of Sales, Catering and Convention Services for Golden Nugget. Donna currently serves as Chair for the Miss America pageant Board of Trustees.

Ward

Lippincott

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Havertown - Anne Madden has been hired by Sonesta Hotels as Global Account Director focusing on pharmaceutical, financial and the insurance markets. Huntingdon Valley - Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine has promoted Jennifer Johnson to General Manager/Events Director. King of Prussia - Valley Forge Casino Resort announced the appointment of Chef Theodore Iwachiw as Executive Chef for all food and beverage operations. Chef Iwachiw will be tasked with revamping food and beverage operations at Revolution Chophouse, Valley Tavern and Valley Forge Casino Resort’s food court offerings. Lancaster - The Cork Factory Hotel has hired Susan Corrigan as their new Director of Sales and Operations. Philadelphia - Christie Jones has been named Corporate and Group Events Manager for the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. Philadelphia - Lauren Pasquini has been named the new complex Director of Catering for the Philadelphia Marriott Old City and the Renaissance Philadelphia.

Iwachiw

Jones

Johnson


Philadelphia - Daniel Briones has been named Director of Sales and Marketing for the Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia.

Philadelphia - Michael Mitloff has joined Seravezza Events, the new catering brand at the Franklin Institute, as Director of Catering.

Philadelphia - Brian Lang has been promoted to General Manager at The Bellevue Hotel.

Philadelphia - Nina Rodebaugh has taken the role at the Kimmel Cultural Campus as Director of Institutional Marketing.

Philadelphia - The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHL CVB) appointed Maria Grasso as Senior Vice President, Convention Division. Maria will lead the convention sales and services team in growing convention bookings. Most recently, she served as vice president of sales and convention services for the PHL CVB. The PHL CVB also has named Chelsea Ann Rovnan as Content Coordinator, John Ryan as Social Media Specialist, Melissa McClure as Global Tourism Sales Manager, and Jaime Martorana as Communications Manager. Jaime will be spearheading the organization’s domestic public relations efforts and day-to-day PR operations. Prior to joining the PHL CVB, Jaime served as public relations manager for ASTM International and public relations specialist for Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site. Philadelphia - ASM Global announced the addition of Jude-Anne Spencer-Phillip to the team at the Pennsylvania Convention Center as Senior Communications Manager. Jude-Anne had previously worked with local non-profits, the City of Philadelphia, and the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company.

Briones

Lang

Wayne - Fearless Restaurants has promoted Christina Wilson to Sales and Events Manager for its Autograph restaurant. West Chester - Advanced Staging Productions announced the appointment of Ryan McLaughlin as President. In his new position, Ryan will oversee all Operations, Production and Sales and Marketing for the company.

VIRGINIA Leesburg - Chris Ferrier has been appointed Executive Chef of Lansdowne Resort. Norfolk - VisitNorfolk announced the arrival of two new staff members. Sherri Thadeus joined the team as National Account Manager and Aileen Laracuente as Midwest Sales Manager.

WASHINGTON, DC Nancy Green has joined ASAE as Chief Operating Officer and has more than 25 years of association and nonprofit leadership experience.

Grasso

Wilson

McLaughlin

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Around Th MEET AC AWARDED INDUSTRY ACCOLADE Connect Travel, owner and producer of eTourism Summit, announced the winners of the Fourth Annual Excellence “eTSY” Awards in partnership with Expedia Group Media Solutions and Destination Marketing Podcast. Meet AC has won an award in the category of “Best Use of Augmented, Mixed or Virtual Reality” for its Atlantic City Virtual Reality Experience. This recognition goes to destination marketing organizations and their media partners to recognize and celebrate the best of 2020-2021 campaigns and programs with awards in a dozen original categories, including website content, video, email, augmented and virtual reality, influencer marketing and innovation. “We are proud to present an innovative piece of technology to help bleisure travelers (business + leisure) experience Atlantic City before, during and after their visit. It is so important, now more than ever, to be able to represent our destination virtually, and the enhancements that we’ve done to our VR experience show Meet AC’s dedication to the destination by continuing digital transformation,” stated Meet AC’s marketing director, Karina Anthony. www.meetac.com BENCHMARK & PYRAMID MERGER Two storied hotel and resort management companies have aligned forces, creating one powerhouse organization strategically positioned for the future of the global hospitality industry: Benchmark Pyramid. With a worldwide portfolio of 210 properties, the new company captures the passions and unique strengths of Benchmark Global Hospitality, a celebrated leader in the development and management of independent and lifestyle properties, and Pyramid Hotel Group, with its history of success across branded/franchise and resort properties. www.benchmarkpyramid.com

ATLANTIC CITY IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS Coming off the successful MEDCO/Ace Tool Customer Appreciation Show, Atlantic City welcomed the annual 2021 Northeast Regional Carwash Convention (NRCC) to the Atlantic City Convention Center in October. Also in October, Atlantic City played host to the annual Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference, Dino Stroll (a new consumer event for the Atlantic City Convention Center that allowed attendees to get up close to life-like and life-size dinosaurs), and WILD Dance Intensive - a one-day, one-of-a-kind dance experience in an encouraging, fun and creative environment. The momentum has continued into November with three returning annual events at the Atlantic City Convention Center, two of which are the largest conventions Atlantic City hosts. The annual New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) Convention on November 4-5, Import Expo on November 7-8, and the annual New Jersey State League of Municipalities (NJLM) Conference on November 16-18, 2021. “The meeting and convention business in Atlantic City is back. Our clients and their attendees are happy to return to safe, face-to-face networking and educational opportunities. We are thrilled to add that the events that have taken place over the past few months have reported increased attendance from previous years,” stated Larry Sieg, Meet AC’s president and CEO. www.meetac.com

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he Region PITTSBURGH GETS BACK TO BUSINESS Thanks to a strong partnership throughout the local hospitality community, large business events and meetings have returned to Pittsburgh, bringing with them visitors, an economic boost to the region and more jobs for Pittsburghers. The NAFA Institute and Expo, held at the David Lawrence Convention Center (DLCC) last month, marked Pittsburgh’s first large business event since March 2020. This one piece of business brought 900 attendees into the region, with 94 percent originating from outside destinations. “The David L. Lawrence Convention Center has long stood ready to welcome back large business events thanks to the abundance of space, natural air ventilation system, and comprehensive hygiene initiatives implemented through the VenueShield Program,” said DLCC general manager, Tim Muldoon. “This was our first live event since 2019, and the whole city and the convention center went out of their way to make sure we all felt safe and that the event went off without a hitch,” noted Bill Schankel, CEO of NAFA Fleet Management Association. “We were thrilled to get back in-person; it’s really important to us.” Nearly 30 business meetings and events are scheduled for Pittsburgh through the end of the calendar year, including Emerald EDspaces 2021 in November, and the Pittsburgh Japanese Cultural Society 2021 Tekko in December. www.visitpittsburgh.com

KINGSMILL RESORT'S VR (VERY REAL) MEETINGS In response to Facebook’s announcement of a new digital conference space, Virginia’s only AAA Four-Diamond resort in Williamsburg is reminding guests that they, too, have a VR (very real) experience. With over 16,000-square feet of meeting space, Kingsmill Resort has welcomed businesses of all sizes to meet, dine and even play Fortnite - if they so choose. “You can’t download these crisp, tasty, locally sourced stuffed crab hors d'oeuvres, Mr. Zuckerberg.”, said the resort’s director of marketing, Landon Stulen. "In a space that may be hard to concentrate when Mike from sales selected a Warlock for his avatar, Kingsmill’s Very Real conference space has been a welcoming retreat for companies for over three decades. While we continue to notify colleagues they are still on mute on Zoom, the success of the digital meeting space will be determined in the years to come." www.kingsmill.com Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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Around Th SMITHSONIAN’S PRESENTS “FUTURES” The historic Arts and Industries Building (AIB) in Washington, DC, America’s first National Museum, will open its groundbreaking new museum experience “FUTURES” on November 20, 2021. On view through July 6, 2022, “FUTURES” is the Smithsonian’s first major building-wide exploration of the future and will temporarily reopen the Smithsonian’s oldest museum for the first time in nearly two decades. The part-exhibition, part-festival will celebrate the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary with more than 150 awe-inspiring objects, ideas, prototypes and installations that fuse art, technology, design and history to help visitors imagine many possible futures on the horizon.

Through multiple portals on-site, around Washington, DC, and streamed globally, “FUTURES Remixed” will invite people to experience a radically imagined future when those of diverse perspectives come together to learn, problem solve and create.

“FUTURES” officially kicks off with “FUTURES Remixed,” a free opening festival spanning the month of November.

www.futuresremixed.com

THE WILDWOODS HAS SPIRIT The Wildwoods Convention Center will host the Spirit Brands Island Cheerleading Championships for a day of aerial and acrobatic feats. This annual national competition will take place on November 14, 2021, an entertaining and exciting event that will include recreation, high school, college and all-star divisions, featuring teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and beyond. www.spiritbrands.org / www.wildwoodsnj.com

Celebrate the Holidays at Gaylord National I Love Christmas Movies™ is an immersive pop-up experience featuring scenes from five beloved Christmas movies, including Elf™, A Christmas Story™, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation™ that come to life with special effects, animatronics, and even a few surprises. See recreations of the sets, props and moments from holiday movie favorites; say hello to Mr. Narwhal; step onto the Polar Express; or visit the Griswold’s home for Christmas dinner – all of this and more, only at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. christmasatgaylordnational.marriott.com 86 november z December 2021


he Region NEW CHARLOTTE CONVENTION CENTER EXPANSION PROJECT The City of Charlotte, NC, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA), construction partners, hospitality industry representatives and community leaders recently gathered for the official opening of the $126.9-million Charlotte Convention Center expansion. The nearly two-year-long construction project was successfully delivered on-time and on-budget, adding approximately 50,000-square feet of meeting and pre-function space, bringing the venue’s total leasable space to 600,000-square feet. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the pre-function space with natural light, creating a welcoming atmosphere with views of the cityscape. A primary component of the expansion is an exterior over-street pedestrian walkway, which connects the Charlotte Convention Center to the adjacent 700-room Westin Charlotte, the city’s largest hotel, a LYNX Blue Line light rail stop, and provides access to the ever-expanding Stonewall Street corridor and Uptown Charlotte, which features over 200 restaurants, more than 6,000 hotel rooms, and numerous entertainment options. www.charlottesgotalot.com

TOURISM REBOUNDING IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA Throughout 2020-2021, tourism has provided a positive economic impact that has resonated across the Montgomery County community, according to an annual report released by the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board (VFTCB). Despite ups and downs from the pandemic, the Montco hospitality industry results saw steady improvements over 2020, with numbers in 2021 making a slow climb back toward 2019 levels, which had increased to record growth at that time, according to Tourism Economics. “There have definitely been some tough moments over the last 18 months or so,” said Mike Bowman, president and CEO of the VFTCB. “From the Delta variant to damage from storms, flooding, and even tornadoes… you name it, it feels like it’s happened here in Montgomery County. But, we’ve been meeting those challenges together with the help and support of our county, members, and partners... Our restaurant business has been through the roof. Visitation to our attractions has been up. Our sales team has been traveling again.”

senting more than 1,850 restaurants, breweries, wineries, and distilleries in the county) and the arts (representing more than 200 venues). Montco’s family of 80 hotels (9,400 rooms) welcomed two new properties in 2021 with two more coming in 2022, and plus nine that started or completed renovations this year, too. In further support of the industry, VFTCB has hosted a mix of inperson and virtual events, while traffic to MontcoGolf.com increased by 75 percent year-over-year with more than 3,000,000 impressions in digital advertising. Their Make It Main Street marketing initiative and partnership with County Commerce has continued to highlight small, local businesses, and ValleyForge.org saw more than a million pageviews. “We may not be back to where we were in 2019, but we’re much better off than we were last year. We’ve found reasons to have hope for a brighter future,” proclaimed Bowman. www.valleyforge.org

“Sports have definitely been a positive, silver lining through these challenging times,” added Lisa Karl, vice president of sales and strategic partnerships. At least two VFTCB first-time initiatives also proved successful in promoting and supporting two of the segments hardest hit by COVID in the tourism industry: restaurants/Montco Makers (repreMid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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EventsWorthy LIVE! PHILLY September 30, 2021 - Philadelphia, PA - Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia celebrated the VIP launch of their new Live! Event Center, a 15,000 square-foot meeting, event and convention space. Over 200 attended this special opening of the 10,000 square-foot main ballroom and expansive pre-function options with entertainment, creative cocktails, chef-driven catering by The Prime Rib, Luk Fu, Sports & Social Philly, and great entertainment by BVT, décor and design by DFW Planning and CORT and Crema Tutti. Photo credit: Mario Oliveto Photography

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EventsWorthy MEET ME IN DELCO October 26, 2021 – Radnor, PA - The Delaware County Tourism Bureau hosted their premier event, “Meet Me in Delco” at the Inn at Villanova University, showcasing its finest venues, hotels, caterers, restaurants, wineries, and breweries in the Delaware Valley. The day began with a Panel Discussion: “Where are we today with meetings and where will we be in 2022?” was presented by speakers Monica Mobley, Lincoln Financial Group, Jennifer Van Keuren, Vanguard and, Caryn Taylor-Lucia with SEI and moderated by Kathleen Diggins, HelmsBriscoe. Kathleen Diggins, HelmsBriscoe, Jennifer Van Keuren, Vanguard, Lou Marrocco, Visit Delco, PA, Caryn Taylor-Lucia, SEI and Monica Mobley with Lincoln Financial Group Followed by the showcase where around 75 meeting and event planners had the opportunity to meet unique venues, meeting spaces and dining options. Carolyn Muldoon, Training Camp, Michelle Adshead, Marketing Mix by Michelle, Lauren Hudnell, Singer Equipment, and Lauren Westerman, Classic Events by Lauren

Exhibitors included: Brick & Brew, Christopher Chocolates, Delco Steaks, Di Bruno Bros. Catering & Events, Dineable, Drexelbrook & Holiday Inn & Suites Philadelphia/Drexel Hill,Gifford-Risley House, Harrah's Philadelphia, Metropolis Passenger Logistics, MPI Philadelphia, PCMA Greater Philadelphia Chapter, Penns Wood Winery, Radnor Hotel, Scentrifugal Events, Staybridge Suites Glen Mills, SunCenter Studios, The Inn at Grace Winery, The Philadelphia Union, Tyler Arboretum and Fearless Restaurants: Autograph, White Dog Café & Rosalie at the Wayne Hotel and co-hosted by Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine. Photo Credit: Wendy Adams Photography

Angel Gallo, Sharon Goodspeed and Tyesha Brown from Drexelbrook and the Holiday Inn & Suites: Philadelphia West

Steve Byrne of Visit Delco, PA and Jeffrey Rotwitt with SunCenter Studios

Kerri Sitrin, Sitrin Consulting with the MPI Philadelphia membership committee

Chef Ashley James of Di Bruno Bros. Events & Catering

Lisa McGlashen, AACR and PCMA Philadelphia Chapter President Mid-Atlantic EvEnts Magazine

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EventsWorthy MEET ME IN DELCO CONTINUED

Lauren Curtolo of the Jack Miller Center, Kate Young from Crossbeam, and Greg Kamprath with IMS Technology Services

Casey Kyler with Fearless Restaurants

The Inn at Villanova University team

Melanie Wimmer from Boeing and Michele Sinclair with DaVita, Inc.

Lindsey McClaren, Steak 48 with Christina Wilson, Lee Leung and Casey Kyler of Fearless Restaurants

Len Boris, Fearless Restaurants 90 november z December 2021

Di Bruno Bros. Events & Catering team



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Highly-competitive Room and Meeting Cost Incentives Special Midweek Bonus Incentive Programs Meet AC Booking & Professional Planning Support

Contact us to learn more about Meet AC’s attractive Convention Center & city-wide incentive plans! Call 1-844-855-6338 or visit meetac.com today!