Skip to site content
The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

SMMC 2016 Attendees Enjoy Rocket City

The Small Market Meetings host city always puts on a show for convention delegates. That was true at previous conferences in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Mesa, Arizona; and Little Rock, Arkansas, to name a few. Huntsville, Alabama, was no different.

On the first evening of the conference, delegates enjoyed dinner at the amazing U.S. Space and Rocket Center, sharing space with a massive Saturn V rocket inside the museum hall, along with vast amounts of space memorabilia. German, Mexican and Italian dinner buffets filled everyone up, yet many people still found time to hit the dance floor.

“I thought it was wonderful,” said Jackie Blue from the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. “I had never been here before, and it was great to tour the museum, and the food was fantastic; so it was a lot of fun.”

“Being from New Mexico, we have quite a history with the space program, too,” said Julie Hughes of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. “What you don’t think about is the size of everything, all the space rockets and hardware. For me, it was also great to hang out and meet new people. I liked the different nationalities of food.”

Day two brought a choice of tours in Huntsville, including a historic home tour near downtown, a visit to two craft breweries and a venue at a renovated former high school, and for some, a return to the Rocket Center. That evening, everyone enjoyed food and musical variety at the Lumberyard. A thriving lumberyard a century ago, the property has been transformed into restaurants, bars, stages, patios and other cool entertainment spaces.

“This is an absolutely awesome event space, and I would love to move it to our area,” said Beverly Stewart of the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau in North Carolina. “It’s a wonderful use of a facility that probably wasn’t being used. The breakout of all the different venues inside is terrific. This proves tonight that anybody could have an event here.”

Sherry Rushing of the Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau in Destin and Fort Walton Beach, Florida, agreed: “It’s an awesome venue. I think meeting planners will be absolutely intrigued to bring their groups here for a special event. I love it.”

For more information on the Small Market Meetings conference go to

Dan Dickson

Dan has been a communicator all his professional life, first as an award-winning radio and TV news reporter for two decades and then as a communications director for several non-profits for another decade. He has contributed to The Group Travel Leader Inc. publications since 2007.