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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

From ducks to diamonds, Little Rock will be strutting and sparkling

Courtesy Little Rock CVB

When you consider how much there is to see and do, three days in Little Rock doesn’t seem like enough. Organizers of the Small Market Meetings Conference are doing their best to show off the city.

• The Sept. 26-28 conference gets off to a flying — or make that waddling — start, with the march of the Peabody Ducks at the headquarters hotel, the Peabody Little Rock. The ducks are a tradition at all Peabody hotels; they march to the hotel lobby’s large fountain each morning, paddle and preen all day and then march back to the elevator and to their rooftop home each afternoon.
The duck march is always accompanied by great fanfare and Sousa’s King Cotton March and the opening day of the conference will be no different. Throw in the fact that one lucky meeting planner will be chosen as duckmaster for the day and the march of the ducks takes on an even greater celebratory air.

• The evening will take a different turn at the opening night reception and dinner at the Clinton Presidential Library, seven blocks from the hotel. Attendees will take tours of the riverfront facility, including its replicas of Clinton’s Oval Offce and Cabinet Room and a third-floor exhibit where gifts to the president are housed, including a saxophone from Louie Armstrong.

• The following afternoon, after business and education sessions conclude, the Little Rock CVB and Arkansas Tourism will take attendees on tours of the city’s meeting venues, including the upscale Capital Hotel, a newly restored 94-room historic property. A reception there will spotlight the hotel’s Southern specialties, including mint juleps.

• The final night event will be a casual evening in Little Rock’s River Market, where diners can choose among the 15 food outlets there. Choices range from Thai to barbecue; after dinner, attendees can move on to other bars, restaurants and live music venues in the district.

• As a fitting end to a conference in the capital of the Diamond State, one lucky meeting planner will walk away with a 1-carat diamond during Wednesday’s closing luncheon the SMM Conference.  Each meeting planner in attendance will be handed a glass of champagne. One glass will contain a real diamond; the rest will contain a 1-carat cubic zirconia of setting quality. The fun will be finding out who gets the real diamond.