When planning a sports event, organizers have a lot of objectives and needs, but there is one thing that, regardless of the type of event or age of competitor, encompasses all the rest: satisfaction. When a destination can make not just athletes happy, but also their families and fans, then that is a gold-medal destination. That’s why Sevierville, Tennessee, has dedicated itself to making satisfaction its very highest priority.
Fun for All
Sevierville is located at the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, already one of America’s favorite tourist destinations. While you’ll find an ample supply of the country’s newest and most affordable housing located alongside a thrilling and growing array of restaurants, shopping and attractions, you’ll also find something more than just bright lights and excitement: Sevierville is only part tourist destination, but it’s entirely built on community.
This community of 15,000-plus year-round residents is proud to welcome guests to its idyllic corner of the world, and that feeling of hospitality is apparent and valued by the competitors and families who visit. But there’s also another level to this community, the thousands of families who have visited Sevierville and loved it so much that they come back every year. In Sevierville, visitors become a part of the Smoky Mountain family.
Versatility Meets Collaboration
In keeping with its tightly connected community, the hospitality network in Sevierville is just as closely woven as the people. Event owners who plan their events in Sevierville quickly discover that no matter where their event is based in this mountain town, their entire event production—including the main event, awards banquets, and side outings for families, sponsors or athletes—can all be managed with an ease and quickness rarely found anywhere else.
At the center of this collaborative planning is Sevierville’s triumvirate of event planning— the Sevierville Convention Center, Sevierville Golf Club, and Wilderness at the Smokies—a first-rate venue, world-class golf club, hotel and indoor water attraction all located within walking distance of one another and set against the blue-and-grey mountainscape of the Smokies.
Sevierville Convention Center
A coveted home for numerous competitive arts and athletic events, as well as special events and trade shows, the Sevierville Convention Center has earned the devotion of its guests with a simple, unwavering philosophy.
“We simply try to never say no,” says Kelly DeBord, marketing and communications, Sevierville Convention Center. “Instead we say, let’s think outside of the box and figure out how we can make this happen.”
That philosophy is never more apparent than it is each March when the Convention Center is visited by two extraordinary events: the Southern Select Alpaca Show and Dance Machine Productions’ spring competition.
“As a multi-purpose venue, we have beautiful ballrooms that can host the most elegant of meetings or fundraisers as well as exhibition halls that can accommodate a wide range of events, including livestock,” says DeBord.
The venue maintains strict procedures and an expert staff to ensure that the Convention Center is well prepared for events like the alpaca show. Event organizers come in several days before the event to prepare, and floors are meticulously covered to ensure they’ll be like new even after their furry, camel-like guests. The event draws visitors from all over the region and is hugely popular with the community, and even as the Convention Center team was preparing for this event a couple of years ago, a call came in.
“We recieved an inquiry from Dance Machine, who wanted to use the ballroom for a competition the very same weekend,” says DeBord. Following their tried-and-true philosophy, the answer was easy: We’d love to have you, but we do want you to know … there are going to be alpacas in the building.
There’s nothing better than a well-planning venue, and this is another place where the Sevierville Convention Center stands out. The 20,000-square-foot ballroom is in the opposite direction of the exhibition halls, making it easy for these events to coexist with no interference or problems. But what was even better was that the combination was a great success. After all, who wouldn’t love to see some alpacas, particularly after finishing a dance competition?
Versatility is the cornerstone of this venue’s success, both in terms of its staff and its space. The ballroom can accommodate up to 1,100 people and can be used exclusively or in combination with the venue’s two exhibit halls, which total 108,261. The total indoor space of the Convention Center amounts to 240,000 square feet, which can actually be doubled, and often is, given the community’s gorgeous weather, by the use of a tent and outdoor booths.
Demonstrating the ease of getting around Sevierville, the Convention Center only recently got its own sign, but that was another testament to the community support for the Center’s events. As soon as the marquee sign went up, announcing events to the steady stream of passersby, they Convention Center started getting calls from tourists and community members alike asking if they were allowed to come and cheer on the events.
Sevierville Golf Club
Just steps away from the Sevierville Convention Center, the Sevierville Golf Club provides the ideal partner for many of the Convention Center’s events. This spring, as part of the H.T. Hackney Foodservice Trade Show, the Golf Club hosted a tournament for all attending vendors. Another regional corporation, Food City, hosts an annual charity fundraising event for its vendors, like Nabisco, Pepsico, etc., with several events at the Convention Center as well as a golf tournament.
Versatility and exceptional planning are again key to the collaboration success of these venues, says Ashley McGaha, PGA Professional, The Sevierville Golf Club. “People enjoy that because we have 36 holes, we’re able to host corporate events, charity tournaments, outings, and so on while still having another course open for everyday play.”
That’s particularly important for a municipal golf course in a community that loves its golf. That love is evident in the fact that Sevierville Golf Club is a far above-average city-owned course. “We are a municipal course, but the facility and course are very upscale. The entire Club has a resort-like feeling and quality that are appreciated by our guests,” says McGaha.
Rounding out the venue’s offerings is a much-lauded onsite restaurant, Mulligan’s, that provides all the food and beverage service for the Golf Club. Indoor and outdoor banquet and meeting spaces, paired with exceptional food and beverage services, mean that golf outing guests don’t have to stray far from the green to grab a bite, and event organizers can rest easy knowing that every need is taken care of, all in one place.
Wilderness at the Smokies
Sevierville offers a lodging selection that is high quality and affordable, so there is never a shortage of choices. But there is one unique choice that provides both of those things as well as proximity and a few thrills. Adjacent to the Convention Center and alongside the Golf Club, Wilderness at the Smokies is a resort within a resort town, ensuring that no matter how hectic a competitive event schedule might be, there will still be no problem fitting in some fun.
In addition to outdoor waterpark facilities, Wilderness at the Smokies is home to new Wild Waterdome Indoor Waterpark, a state-of-the-art 66,000 square foot indoor waterpark that features a Foil Tech glass roof to ensure that guests get some fun in the sun no matter what the time of year.
Always More to Love
With easy access to some of America’s most beautiful hiking and wilderness, as well as a seemingly endless selection of unforgettable sights, sounds, tastes and experiences, Sevierville is already a favorite among tourists regionally and nationwide and a sure bet to add appeal to any event. But that doesn’t mean this mountain paradise is finished pleasing its patrons. In 2016, look for new and exciting things to come to Sevierville, including a new attraction from hometown sweetheart, Dolly Parton, as well as numerous new shops and restaurants.
For more information, stop by www.VisitSevierville.com for a spell. They’ll be happy to have you.
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