Black Meetings and Tourism

September / October 2015

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"PARIS OF THE PACIFIC" DAZZLES PLANNERS WITH ITS BEAUTIFUL AMBIANCE AND EQUALLY MATCHED HOSPITALITY BY: STEVEN DITMORE With small, distinct meetings being such dynamic elements of the industry today, Sitka's intrinsic charm certainly deserves attention. Sitka, once called the "Paris of the Pacific," combines a treasury of Native culture, Russian his- tory, and Alaskan wilderness. Settled on the crossroads of three magnificent environments – the wild rain f orest of Baranof Island, the expanse of the Pacific Ocean, and the still beauty of Alaska's Inside Passage – the opportunities to create a unique, memorable meeting experience are restricted only by the limitations of the imagination. Whether you're planning a Corporate Meeting, Conference, Tradeshow, Convention or a Board Retreat Sitka has got you covered. With some of the best meeting venues/locations in the world located in the beauty of Sitka, its no wonder planners are booking more meetings here. The Sitka Performing Arts Center has state-of-the-art amenities highlight- ing this recent addition to the mix of unique and eclectic meeting facilities in Sitka. With seating for over 600 people and an adjacent room for receptions or after-parties, the new Sitka Performing Arts Center is ready to make your musi- cal or dramatic events spectacular. Fully equipped with state-of-the-art audio and video, balcony and box Seating, princess b ox seats, large foyer / lobby and an orchestra pit this amazing venue is sure to capture the planners eye. Some other venues and sites to con- sider for your next event include The Harrigan Centennial Hall, as well as The Totem Square Hotel & Marina and The Westmark Sitka Hotel. The Alaska Native Brotherhood building is a registered National Historic Landmark built in 1914. Located on Katlian Street in the heart of the tradi- tional Tlingit village, it serves as an Alaska Native community center. While in Sitka, conference or meet- ing attendees are encouraged to explore the region's natural habitat and delve into the many cultural activities the city has to offer. One of Sitka's strongest distinguish- ing features is the cultural fusion of the Tlingit intermingled with Russian American influences. This robust duali- ty emanates from the local galleries, art, downtown architecture, dance perform- ances, and local museums. The Tlingit have lived continuously in Sitka for over 50 centuries. Discover age-old stories of the Tlingit people at Sitka National Historical Park (known as "Totem Park" by locals) and the adja- cent Sitka Cultural Center. Here, totems carved by the masterful hands of Tlingit and Haida Indians can be seen along a pathway that meanders through the rainforest. The Naa Kahidi Dancers include Tlingit performers both young and old. Together, they maintain the ancient art of storytelling through traditional dance. Perfo-rmances are held through- out the summer in the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi, built in the style of a Tlingit clan house. Intricate regalia and dra- matic movement delight audiences who come to hear and see songs and dances passed on from one generation to the next. Located on a lush forested island halfway between Seattle, Washington, and Anchorage, Alaska, Sitka enjoys daily jet service from Alaska Airlines from these cities, as well as Juneau, a nd Ketchikan. Ferry Sitka is also accessible by the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry or by ship. Sit back and enjoy the ride no matter how you choose to travel to historic and scenic Sitka! B M & T ••• September/October 2015 ••• 35 AREA GUIDES S I T K A • • • STATS • • • HOTEL ROOMS Westmark Sitka 105 Shee Atika Totem Square Inn 68 Sitka Hotel 41 EXHIBITION FACILITIES Harrigan Centennial Hall Total Exhibit Space 18,000 sq. ft. Meeting Rooms 10 WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Sitka Convention & Visitors Bureau (800) 557-4852 Sitka Alaska Photo Credit: Sitka CVB

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