A conversation with Amy Zientek, Director of Sales, Visit Lubbock: The Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lubbock, Texas.
What is distinctive about your area?
Lubbock was the home of Buddy Holly, and “That’ll Be the Day” when bank groups, always lovers of old-time rock ’n’ roll, ever miss a visit to the Buddy Holly Center when they are in town. This poignant museum includes a permanent exhibit dedicated to Holly’s life and music. Bank traveler tip: It is a tradition in this town to buy a Buddy Holly guitar pick in the gift shop, drive to his gravesite and leave his spirit a token.
Those who prefer live music can sit back and relax in the Depot Entertainment District, where they’ll find homemade brew at Triple J Chophouse and Brew Co., the only brewpub in West Texas, and a live West Texas sound that nearly begs you to stomp your foot or, preferably, your cowboy boot.
Last, who would have thought that Lubbock and West Texas are responsible for more than 70 percent of grape growth for Texas wines? That means groups will be doing some super sipping while touring at least one of our five scenic and award-winning wineries.
What are the main group attractions in your area?
More on the Buddy Holly Center: That permanent exhibit includes Holly’s iconic eyeglasses, recording contracts, report cards and Holly’s Fender Stratocaster, a songbook used by Holly and the Crickets. When your group members leave this transformed 1950s arena, they just may be singing Peggy Sue while exploring an additional 2,500 square feet of gallery space dedicated to contemporary visual-arts programs.
At the National Ranching Heritage Center, the story of ranching in North America is told through the preservation of 48 authentic structures — historic ranch houses, post offices and the 6666 barn — displayed on a 16-acre site. You will also see the largest jackrabbits in the West.
Our breezy destination will blow your mind at the American Wind Power Center, a museum where visitors witness how the power of wind has been a profitable natural resource for Lubbock and West Texas. The museum is located on 28 acres of rolling city parkland in the Yellow House Canyon, a great place to stretch your legs and see the amazing landscape of the West Texas sky.
There are more than 150 rare and fully restored windmills on display in an interpretive center and on the grounds. New to this attraction is a 6,000-square-foot Legacy of the Wind Mural, a stunning, decorative addition.
No visit to Lubbock is complete without a tour of our academic and athletic pride and joy: Texas Tech University. This lush institution adds not only beauty but also exciting arts and culture to our city. There are a variety of venues on campus to explore but consider visiting during one of the school’s many traditional events, like the Carol of Lights, a festive occasion over the holidays that hosts thousands of red, white and orange lights and a concert by the Texas Tech University Combined Choirs.
What are the major annual events in your area?
Lubbock’s Louise H. Underwood Center for the Arts hosts the First Friday Art Trail the first Friday of every month. Known as the hottest trail in Lubbock, it all starts downtown with art, food, music, complimentary trolley service and big skies. The event is free to groups, and all artwork is available for purchase.
The Wine and Clay Festival at Llano Estacado Winery is the second weekend in June. Admission to this event is free, and it is extremely group-friendly. Patrons will enjoy wine tastings while surrounded by clay art, paintings, photography and sculptures.
The National Cowboy Symposium is the second weekend in September. This event provides a weekend of cowboy poets, musicians, storytellers, artists, historians, authors, editors, publishers, exhibitors, horse trainers, re-enactors, photographers, chuck wagon cooks, honest-to-goodness cowboys and much more.
What’s new in your area?
Lubbock’s downtown area is in the process of being transformed into an entertainment, shopping and dining destination. It is called the Depot Entertainment District, and more and more business owners are taking old buildings and bringing them to life. Lubbock’s newest downtown winery, McPherson Cellars Winery, is the perfect example. The historic Coca-Cola bottling plant has been restored and renovated into a world-class winery that is now the new home of McPherson Cellars. The winery has an outdoor courtyard and event space for group events.
Where are some great places to get a taste of your area?
Lubbock is known for three things when it comes to food: a good Texas steak, authentic Mexican food and home-brewed beer.
Cagle Steaks is a family-owned steakhouse with a cowboy-town atmosphere. The food is great, the atmosphere is relaxing, and the shopping in its general store is one-of-a-kind and filled with local flavor.
Abuelo’s Mexican Food Embassy works to provide a “muy delicioso” experience for groups. The fresh and creative food and beautiful courtyard-inspired dining rooms come together to provide a special-occasion experience within a casual-dining budget.
No visit to Lubbock is complete without visiting Triple J Chophouse and Brew Co. in the Depot Entertainment District. It’s large enough for a group, yet it has that down-home country feel.
What is one souvenir everyone should bring back from your area?
Besides taking home a bottle of Lubbock wine, you can’t leave Lubbock without biting into a locally made peanut patty. We are home to the nationally known Goodart’s Peanut Patties, the familiar nut-studded magenta patty created by Raymond O. Goodart. When this innovative fellow was a young soldier home from World War II looking for a job, he perfected the recipe in his mother’s kitchen. Goodart died in 1986, but his Peanut Patty is going strong, from California to Florida and all points in between.
What is one surprising thing people will find in your area?
The Lubbock Lake Landmark is a must for bank directors looking for a wild twist to their Lubbock itinerary. Visitors find 12,000 years of history, since the time of large, extinct mammals such as the ancient bison, giant short-faced bear and Columbian mammoth. In the summer months, arrange for some hands-on experience, and join your members as everyone gets down and dirty, digging to recover artifacts from animals that roamed the earth thousands of years ago.
What is your Web site address, and what on the site would be particularly helpful to a bank travel planner?
VisitLubbock.org offers guides and virtual tours — a user-friendly map for the bank travel leader.
Are there any special programs and services for groups in your area?
Visit Lubbock: The Convention and Visitors Bureau provides groups with a one-stop shop and key to the city. We will begin with our West Texas hospitality and provide your group with hotel accommodations assistance, welcome bags, nametags, registration assistance, welcome signs and custom tour-itinerary assistance.