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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

More options in America’s middle

Photo courtesy Quad Cities CVB

From expanded hotels to new off-site event options, America’s Heartlands is rife with opportunities for small meetings. Here are a few examples.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — One of the city’s most majestic buildings is now an event venue.

Union Station, built in 1898 and restored as part of the development of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, can be rented for evening receptions through the museum.

Former passenger waiting areas make ideal spaces for dinners of up to 50 and receptions of up to 150 people. The station’s 90-foot tall clock tower makes the station easy to spot in the city skyline.


MOLINE, Ill. — The John Deere Pavilion, a top attraction in the Quad Cities, will reopen in February with new exhibits and a new look.

“We are proud of the facility’s success, yet we are always looking for ways to improve,” said Brian Holst, marketing manager. “This year is the pavilion’s 15th anniversary, making this an ideal time to offer our guests and fans something completely new. This redesign is the result of several years of planning, and we look forward to unveiling it to the public in mid-February.”

The pavilion and its exhibits follow John Deere’s path to worldwide prominence in agriculture. The story is told with everything from old-fashioned farm equipment to high-tech products that help provide food and shelter around the globe.

The pavilion is  the cornerstone of John Deere Commons, a downtown, riverfront complex that includes the Radisson on the Commons, the city’s arena, a John Deere store and restaurants.


FORT WAYNE, Ind. — When planners for the state’s Democratic State Convention decided to venture beyond Indianapolis for the first time ever, they opted to head a few hours north to Fort Wayne.

The Democrats aren’t the only convention to choose Fort Wayne over the state capital. The Indiana Music Educators Association (IMAE)booked Fort Wayne for three consecutive conventions, beginning in 2010.

IMEA cited the expansion of the Grand Wayne Center, the completion of the downtown Courtyard by Marriott and the outstanding service  of the Fort Wayne hospitalilty industry as reasons for its move. The convention is expected to draw 3,000 attendees.

The Democratic Party’s leaders said they chose Fort Wayne for its affordability, the quality of its meeting spaces and the strong Democratic base of support. City mayor Tom Henry initially launched the bid proposal for the 2012 convention, to be held June 15-17. Some 2,000 to 2,500 people are expected to attend.


LAFAYETTE-WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.  — With more Pete Dye-design courses than any other state, Indiana now has a Pete Dye Golf Trail, seven courses designed by the legendary golf architect and Indiana resident.

Dye chose the seven diverse from  the more than 20 courses he has designed in the state.

“This new trail gives both novice and seasoned golfers a chance to play some of my most intriguing courses, including the Brickyard Crossing, with four holes inside the Indianapolis 500 track, and French Lick, voted America’s best new course for 2009,” Dye said.

Among the courses are a  number in smaller cities, including Mystic Hills in Culver, the Kampen Course at Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in Lafayette, Plum Creek in Carmel and the Dye course at French Lick.