Black Meetings and Tourism

September / October 2016

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BIRMINGHAM….THE PERFECT CHOICE FOR FUN FILLED, EDUCATIONAL MEETINGS & REUNIONS BY CYNTHIA MOLUSK If diversity were a place, it would be Birmingham. People who visit here get a taste of that variety — in entertainment, cuisine, the arts, nightlife, the great out- doors — that brings them back time and again. Birmingham was born out of iron and steel. Remnants of these early begin- nings are preserved in places such as Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. The city is also well known for its prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. A visit to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute gives visitors an in-depth look at that important era. Birmingham's unique cultural history gives planners an interesting lineup of venues and sites to hold events ranging from private parties and weddings to larg- er conferences and trade shows. The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex is Alabama's foremost conven- tion, meeting and entertainment center. The venue is fully equipped with 220,000 plus sq. ft. of exhibition space, 74 meet- ing rooms totaling 100,000 plus sq. ft., a 1,000-seat theatre and two elegant ball- rooms seating up to 2,000 guests. When tour groups get down to Birmingham, they get down to the busi- ness of exploring the city's personality. Among the themed tours are trips to sample the city's locally-produced snacks, real Southern dining and the influ- ence of immigrants on the city's cuisine. Other tours explore the diversity of Birmingham's ethnic communities, reflected in the architecture and cultural events throughout the city. Plan a tour to visit the Eternal Word Television Network, founded by Mother Mary Angelica. Take in the historic sites from Birmingham's tumultuous role in America's Civil Rights Movement. Hear interesting tales from the city's rowdy pioneer days. Visit the factory where the popular M-Class Mercedes-Benz is manufactured. Long known as a city of civil rights conflict and recon- ciliation, Birmingham has matured into a city that acknowledges and embraces the impact of its past, both negative and pos- itive. Opened in the 1990s, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a moving and edu- cational example of how a city found a way to heal itself. Looking at the city today, there is little evidence of the scarring, though it will always be there. Today's social scene is the picture of diver- sity as well, with folks of all ethnic backgrounds enjoying and learning from one anoth- er, arguing issues of the day, and sharing professional and social time together in an era that has made the old days almost invisible. Conference attendees can take a glimpse into the lives of Birmingham's promi- nent jazz musicians at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. From the boogie woogie beginnings of Clarence "Pinetop" Smith to the velvet crooning of Nat King Cole, legendary jazz greats are immortalized in the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, within the historic Carver Theatre. This 2,500-sq. ft. theater is an excellent option for planners looking to hold a smaller event with a touch of Birming-ham flavor. Michael Gunn is the vice president of Sales at the. Greater Birmingham CVB From the earliest planning stages of your meeting until the last delegate leaves the city, Gunn and the Convention Sales and Servicing Staff will assist you in finaliz- ing the details of your meeting. B i r m i n g h a m - S h u t t l e s w o r t h International Airport is Alabama's larest airport serving the Greater Birming- ham area and sur- rounding Southeastern cities as well as offering 126 daily flights to 50 airports in 47 cities throughout the United States. B M & T ••• September/October 2016 ••• 40 AREA GUIDES B I R M I N G H A M • • • STATS • • • HOTEL ROOMS Sheraton Birmingham Hotel 757 Birmingham Marriott 295 DoubleTree by Hilton Birmingham 298 Embassy Suites Birmingham 242 EXHIBITION FACILITIES Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau Total Exhibit Space 220,000 sq. ft Meeting Rooms 74 WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau – (800) 458-8085 (phone) (205) 458-8086 (fax) Greater Birmingham Black Chamber of Commerce – (205) 578-2522 Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in Birmingham M I C H A E L G U N N Photo Credit: Birmingham CVB

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