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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

SMM Conference takes the stage in Sioux Falls

The main theater at Washington Pavilion, photos courtesy Volunteers of America

The opening night festivities of the 2013 Small Market Meetings Conference will take the stage at the Washington Pavilion, considered one of Sioux Falls’ premier sites for receptions and dinners.

And, if the experience of meeting planner Teresa Alfaro and other representatives of the Volunteers of America (VOA) is any indication, the evening promises to be a dazzling one.

Alfaro wasn’t so sure about having  the VOA closing-night dinner on the stage of the Mary W. Sommervold Hall at Sioux Falls’ Washington Pavilion when the idea was posed.

“The CVB and our local office staff sold the idea to us, but it truly was hard to visualize it without seeing it firsthand,” said Alfaro, whose conference of 350 was held in Sioux Falls three years ago.

“Picture an empty auditorium with red chairs and a big stage,” she said. “The auditorium was semidark, and the stage was full of tables; VOA’s logo was the backdrop. The setting, the venue, the whole experience was a first for us.

“They assured us it would work because other groups had done it, and we were glad we bought into the idea because it was a beautiful evening,” the Alexandria, Va., meeting planner said.

A similar event will open the Small Market Meetings Conference in Sioux Falls on Sunday, Oct. 6. Conference attendees will find themselves on the massive stage, looking out at the vast theater and its 1,800 seats.

It is a special setting, say Alfaro and Mattie Burnham, the Sioux Falls CVB’s assistant director of sales and marketing. “You are the main attraction when you are on the stage,” said Burnham.