A new entrant in the competition for meeting business, Franklin County is counting on its scenic countryside and historic venues to lure groups in search of out-of-the-ordinary event locations. The eastern Kansas county near Kansas City has 300 hotel rooms.
“We encourage groups to come out to the country to places like Dunn’s Landing in Wellsville, a 100-year-old historic farm with an events facility in its restored barn,” said Kristi Lee, executive director of the Franklin County CVB. “They can seat 400 people for a banquet, and groups can enjoy carriage rides, farm tours and demonstrations by teams of horses.”
Groups can also unwind in the rolling hills of the 291-acre Prairie Star Ranch Conference and Retreat Center in Williamsburg, owned by the Archdiocese of Kansas City. Facilities are large enough for 200-person banquets.
“In our largest town of Ottawa, which has a population of 13,000, groups will find attractions centered on our Ottawa Indian and railroad heritage and many Victorian homes,” Lee said.
Among them are the circa-1903 Carnegie Cultural Center for receptions of up to 165.
Theres’ also the Old Depot Museum, the city’s 1888 train depot, where groups of up to 75 can have receptions and take tours of model trains and see displays on abolitionist John Brown, who led the Pottawatomie Massacre there in May 1856.
Other options event venues include the Plaza Theatre, a restored movie house, Ottawa Municipal Auditorium and Ottawa University.