Black Meetings and Tourism

September/October 2010

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AREA GUIDES BIRMINGHAM VENUE VARIETY AND HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS PLACE CITY ON MEETING PLANNER’S WISH LIST BY DOSWELL INGRAM Birminghamis filled with stories from the history ofAfrican-American citizens. The city’s prominent part in America’s Civil RightsMovement is the story most often told.The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a comprehensive look at the nation’s journey toward equal rights for all citizens and includes galleries high- lighting Birmingham’s momentous role in the movement.The centerpiece of the city’s Civil Rights District, the institute faces historic Kelly Ingram Park and is across the street from the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church National Historic Landmark, site of the infamous race- related bombing in 1963. The nearby Alabama JazzHall of Fame resides in the historic Carver Theater and honors jazz greats with ties toAlabama. Over the past several years, Birmingham has begun to experience a bit of a rebirth. Close to a billion dollars has been invested in reconstructing the downtown area into a 24-hourmixed-use district. The market for downtown lofts and condominiums has mushroomed while new and trendy restaurant, retail and cultural options are continuing to sprout up. The city boasts that they are themost affordable city in the South and that they provide an array of over 14,000 guest rooms. When it comes to meeting space, Birminghamhas something for every size group and budget. Hugemeeting arenas, handsome seminar rooms and unusual spots for social functions – all these and more are part of an interesting inventory 58 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, is now National Historic Landmark Photo Credit: Birmingham CVB of venues available for meetings in Birmingham. Alabama’s premier meeting facility is the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC), situated at the north end of the city center. The BJCC ExhibitionHall has amain floor covering 220,000 sq. ft., generous space for pre- senting expansive tradeshows and exhibi- tions. For smaller shows, the North ExhibitHall has amovable wall that can be placed at 30,000-sq. ft. increments for further flexibility.The BJCC has 100,000 sq. ft. in 74 meeting rooms, and also includes a 19,000-seat Arena, A 3,000- seat Concert Hall and a 1,000-seat Theater. The Medical Forum, another compo- nent of the complex, is a conference facil- ity unlike any other in the country. It is fully equipped with state-of-the-art com- munications technology, including satel- lite teleconferencing, video teleconfer- encing and conference rooms to accom- modate up to 400 participants. The Medical Forumalso houses a demonstra- tion wet lab, used for programs requiring special surgical procedures. The BJCC adjoins the 770-room Sheraton Birmingham, a 17-story full service convention hotelwith a 25,000-sq. ft. ballroom. Birmingham has a variety of fine accommodations for you to choose from, like the 329-room Wynfrey Hotel, 193- room Rodeway Inn & Suites Hotel & Conference Center, 180-roomAltaVista Hotel and Conference Center, and 295- roomBirminghamMarriott. When it’s time for some culture and a little R&R,Birmingham has it all. After the Civil Rights District, there’s the BirminghamMuseum ofArt, the largest municipal museum in the Southeast and one of the finest regionalmuseums in the country. The Museum has a nationally recognized permanent collection of over 24,000worksof artdating fromancient to modern times, from cultures across the globe. Golf enthusiasts can choose from a plethora of top courses, including eight on the famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Horse Creek Golf Course, and CedarCreekGolfCourse, to name a few. And visitors can shop till they dropmajor malls like Riverchase Galleria, The Summit andVestaviaCityCenter,among others. This centrally-located southeastern city is easy to reach. The Birmingham International Airport gives visitors easy access to themetropolitan area. The air- port is only 10 minutes, 4.5 miles from Downtown and direct service is provided to 50 cities with 70 daily departures. WHOYOU GONNA CALL? Greater Birmingham CVB (800) 458-8085 Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex – (205) 458-8400 Black Meetings & Tourism September/October 2010:

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