Super Bowl event
It was an evening to remember, and not just because Green Bay won the Super Bowl. At BankTravel, the opening evening’s welcome dinner and entertainment is a chance for the host city to put its best foot forward. This year, Baton Rouge and its partners made quite an impression, with a party that attendees will be talking about for years to come.
Entertainment and social events are an important part of BankTravel every year, giving delegates a chance to relax, enjoy their surroundings and experience the best in regional music and culture. Social events also create unique networking opportunities, as attendees can meet and build relationships over meals and shared experiences.
Although all of BankTravel’s official daytime events took place at the RiverCenter in downtown Baton Rouge, the staff of the Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau took delegates offsite for the opening evening event, busing the group to a private party at Nottoway Plantation.
Hostesses in hoop skirts greeted guests as they walked through the gates of Nottoway Plantation, where the primary attraction is a gorgeous 1859 mansion of gleaming white stone and black wrought iron. Now the largest antebellum plantation in the South, Nottoway is a popular attraction for groups visiting both Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
BankTravel delegates had full run of the plantation during the opening events. Guides took attendees on private tours of the mansion, which was lit up beautifully at dusk, and a local band performed on the lawn in front of the house as chefs prepared hors d’oeuvres for guests interested in dining al fresco.
In the plantation’s modern event center, diners found a gourmet spread of salads, local seafood, dessert petit fours and other dishes. Acclaimed jazz musicians, who played Dixieland and other jazz standards that are musical hallmarks of the region, accompanied dinner.
Perhaps the biggest celebration was in the plantations tent pavilion, where hundreds of delegates gathered to watch the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers face off in the Super Bowl. Baton Rouge and Nottoway provided a tailgate-inspired menu for football fans, including local favorites such as peel-and-eat shrimp and crawfish, gumbo and a whole-roasted hog. Though there were fans from both sides in the crowd, the scene erupted into a sea of green as the Packers sealed victory at the end of the game.
“The event at the plantation was wonderful,” said Donna Gardner of Grand Savings Bank in Grove, Oklahoma. “I wanted to stay outside all night, but it was too cold. So I watched a little bit of the game, then went in to hear the jazz band. It was so much fun, and the food was great.”
The opening event set the mood for a conference full of celebration. At breakfast the next day, Nomad Adventures presented George Dyer, Branson’s “tenor extraordinaire,” who performed selections from his popular show. At lunch, a didgeridoo duo provided music from down under to complement Collette Vacations’ presentation on tours to Australia.
Dinner was a rocking event as well, as the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, host of next year’s conference, brought Andy Childs and the Memphis Sounds to the stage for a dance party. Childs and his backing band are a nationally known group hailing from Memphis, and they tour the United States performing some of the city’s favorite country and blues tunes.
Delegates danced into the night — sometimes joining the band on stage — enjoying Memphis’ musical heritage.
The next day at the luncheon, Globus closed BankTravel in style, hosting the conference’s first-ever beer garden in promotion of its tour products in Germany. A live oom-pah band put the finishing touch on the German-inspired lunch.
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