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Falling for Sioux Falls

Courtesy South Dakota Tourism

For one Minnesota meeting planner, a reception in Sioux Falls’ roaring city park is among highlights of her conference.

Carrie Kirkpatrick, an account executive for Dowell Stute and Associates, a St. Paul, Minn.-based association management company, planned a three-day conference in Sioux Falls, S.D., for the Mid-America Chamber Executives.

About 100 chamber representatives from the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska attended; the conference will return to Sioux Falls this year.

With the help of people in Sioux Falls, including Sioux Falls Area Chamber CEO Evan Nolte and the staffs at the Sheraton Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls CVB, Kirkpatrick planned the entire conference from her desk in St. Paul, including an evening out in Sioux Falls.

“For this professional development conference,” said Kirkpatrick, “we try to have a night out on the town. We bring in buses and take our members to multiple locations.

“In Sioux Falls, we started with appetizers at the restaurant at Falls Park. We were there in early May, and we had beautiful weather. Then, we had dinner at the Wild Sage Grill, where our group took over the restaurant. Dinner was followed by drinks and dancing at the Icon lounge. The evening was a fun way for folks to see the city but not have to venture out on their own.”

Although Fitzpatrick had visited Sioux Falls previously on business, the conference gave her the chance to see more of the city. Her favorite aspect of South Dakota’s largest city?

“I think it would be the falls themselves,” she said. “You hear about them; they are all over the post cards. Looking at them from the Overlook Cafe during our reception there was really neat.”

The chamber executives conference had met in Sioux Falls years ago, but in more recent years, the group had met in larger metro areas, including the Twin Cities. The return to a smaller town made sense for several reasons, Kirkpatrick said.

“Sioux Falls is a good central location for our membership. The geography and the size of the town are good for our group. Sioux Falls has restaurants and nightlife, but it isn’t overwhelming [in size] to our small-town folk.”

Meeting planners can learn more about Sioux Falls and other small- to mid-size American cities at the 2013 Small Market Meetings Conference in Sioux Falls. Conference registration as well as two nights’ accommodations, all meals and events, are complimentary for qualified meeting planners.

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