BankTravel delegates take people to cultures from throughout the country and around the world, and at the BankTravel Conference, entertainment and special events do the same. Throughout this year’s conference in Milwaukee, attendees were treated to great music and dance representing cultures from the United States and abroad.
The fun began with the opening night’s dinner and entertainment, which was sponsored by Visit Milwaukee and its partners throughout the state. Delegates visited the new Harley-Davidson Museum for an after-hours tour through the high-tech facility’s exhibits, which include hundreds of historic and contemporary motorcycles.
After the tour, the museum staff opened a special event area of their onsite bar and restaurant, serving sushi and hors d’oeuvres while attendees mingled and watched the Super Bowl on two giant projection screens.
The evening continued at Potawatomi Bingo Casino, where diners enjoyed a heart-healthy meal of grilled pork and apples. During the banquet, Visit Milwaukee auctioned handmade dolls stationed at each table as a benefit for the American Red Cross, raising $5,000 during the event.
After the auction, a singer and musicians from the Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, regaled the audience with show tunes from classic Broadway productions that have appeared at the theater.
The next morning, breakfast sponsor Flemming Tours and Cruises kicked the day off with a rousing performance by acapella vocal group The Cats Pajamas. Originally hailing from Madison, Wisconsin, these four crooners have appeared on numerous national television shows and star in their own production in Branson, Missouri, this year. They performed classic hits including “Duke of Earl” and “Pretty Woman,” with a bit of help from audience member Barbara Bowen.
“That guy that pulled me up on stage was so handsome,” said Bowen, a travel director at First National Bank Polk County in Cedartown, Georgia. “I’m going to have to plan a trip to Branson just to see him again.”
At lunch, sponsor Collette Vacations highlighted tour offerings to Ireland with an address from an Irish tourism official and an Irish dance performance. About a dozen young pupils from an Irish dance academy in Milwaukee took the day off of school to perform a number of jigs and other traditional Irish dances in full costume.
“The Irish dancers were wonderful,” said Vonnie Geisthardt of Citizens Bank in New Ulm, Minnesota. “They’re children, but they danced like professionals. The hair and costumes and everything were amazing.”
The day ended with energy as well. The Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau, who will host the conference in 2011, brought in a trio of expert jazz and Dixieland musicians from Louisiana to play at their dinner event. The trio of world-class players performed a number of classic numbers, including “When the Saints Go Marching In” and led the audience in a rousing parade and traditional jazz funeral.
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