Black Meetings and Tourism

September / October 2022

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B M & T ••• September/October 2022 ••• 20 ILLINOIS Illinois is known as a premier travel destination for leisure travelers and for meetings, conventions, and special events, attracting more than 110 million domestic and international visitors per year. In an effort to increase Illinois' $40 billion travel, tourism and meetings industry, earlier this year the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has enlisted the service of O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul (OKRP) to provide its premier promotional expertise to tout the state's many historic and popular tourism destina- tions to both domestic and international travelers as well as a top choice for national conventions and meetings.Located in Chicago's western suburbs, Lisle has been consistently voted one of the best places to live. Lisle features several hotel properties with meeting space ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 sq. ft. Moline's annual East West Riverfest held in September is a 10-day celebration of art, culture, history and the Mississippi River. The festival features concerts, live theater and river tours. Peoria's Grand View Drive is the World's Most Beautiful according to President Teddy Roosevelt. Rockford's CoCo Key Water Resort is one of the states largest indoor water parks. CHICAGO Situated squarely in the center of the country, Chicago is easy to travel to from virtually anywhere. The "Windy City" offers meeting professionals and attendees an incredible vari- ety of unique venues and elite services, as well as unmatched entertainment options and a Michelin-rated dining scene. Chicago is one of America's most beloved cities. The home- town of former President Barack Obama, Chicago is a mecca for shopping along the Magnificent Mile and 900 North Michigan Shops. The Windy City is known for culturally rich mouthwatering cuisines from around the world. With great nightlife, theater, museums and sports you'll never run out of things to do. Located within a five-mile radius of more than 33,000 down- town Chicago hotel rooms, McCormick Place's four state-of-the-art buildings feature 2.6 million sq. ft. of exhibit halls (1.2 million sq. ft. all on one level), 173 meeting rooms providing 600,000 sq. ft. of space, four ballroom ranging in size from 21,000 to 100,000 sq. ft., and a 4,192-seat theater, as well as assembly seating for 18,000 people. Chicago is rooted in a rich African-American history. During the early 20th century, hundreds of thousands of Southern African-Americans traveled to Chicago and brought with them a cultural revival that rivaled the Harlem Renaissance. From The Great Migration to President Barack Obama's Presidential Election victory speech in Grant Park, Chicago's long been a place of cultural significance in the African-American community. INDIANA Bloomington, home to Indiana University is a vibrant college town with a thriving arts community, music and sports scene. The town features two award-winning wineries and a culinary expe- rience second to none. The African American Arts Institute inside the Neal-Marshal Black Cultural Center houses three per- forming ensembles. Evansville's Riverfront/Dress Plaza is a great place for a leisurely stroll, outdoor concerts and spectacular views of the Ohio River. The African American Museum is a must visit. In September its the Downtown Jazz and Wine Festival. The state's second largest city, Ft Wayne's features an award- winning Children's Zoo. The Three Rivers and the Johnnie Appleseed festivals are among the city's most popular events.

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