With a new Legends Weekend festival and a new reception site for 100 at the 66-acre Woodland Park Vineyards, Stillwater has more to offer groups.
“We are the home of red-dirt music, so we decided to add musical performances to the annual April weekend when we already celebrate the Stillwater Arts Festival and Oklahoma State University spring football game,” said Kimberly Stewart, sales manager, Stillwater Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We have now packaged it into a three-day tourism event called Legends Weekend.”
Stillwater’s legendary red-dirt music, often described as outlaw country, has legions of fans and has been known to tip the scales for site selection.
“If we are in competition with towns that are comparable in costs, etc., groups will often come here for our musical heritage and entertainment options,” Stewart said. “We also have so many amenities because of the university, from our venues to shopping and restaurants.”
For example, groups can hold a reception at OSU’s Botanical Garden, which recently held a grand reopening after renovations, as well as at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, also on campus. It can accommodate 75 for a reception amid its wrestling memorabilia.
“We also have the No. 1 collegiate golf course in America at Karsten Creek Golf Course, which has hosted the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship,” said Stewart. “It is home to the OSU Golf Hall of Fame and has a reception room in the pro shop that can hold 75.”
In addition to entertainment and sports venues, this city of 48,000 between Tulsa and Oklahoma City has 1,200 hotel rooms and two large conference facilities: the Payne County Expo Center and the Wes Watkins Center at OSU.
“The Expo Center gets lots of agriculture groups, like the 500-attendee American Dexter Cattle Association’s national show and sale held last month,” she said. “It offers meeting space for 1,500 and an arena for 1,000, and the West Watkins Center has 30,000 square feet of meeting space that includes an exhibit hall and numerous breakout rooms.”
Another popular venue is the OSU Student Union, which has 24,000 square feet of meeting space and a ballroom for 850, as well as the attached 81-room Atherton Hotel.
The student union is currently under a $60 million renovation and expansion scheduled for completion in January 2012.
“We can handle groups of up to 1,200, and since OSU is such a large part of our community, many of those are university-affiliated,” said Stewart. “We are also starting to see an increase in religious groups, which is a new market for us.”