Alaska's abundant meeting and convention venues: wide range of options for getting people together.

Author:Sommer, Susan
Position::SPECIAL SECTION: Conventions & Corporate Travel
 
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Planning a meeting or convention in Alaska? Rest assured, there are plenty of venues to choose from. The largest facilities are, predictably, located in the population centers of Anchorage and Fairbanks and include industry standard audio-visual technology, professional planning assistance, and catering services. These include Anchorage's Dena'ina and Egan Centers as well as the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.

Numerous other communities offer smaller spaces that range from modern convention centers such as the Valdez Convention and Civic Center with its port view of oil tankers coming and going to intimate historical structures like the restored St. Joseph's Church in Nome.

Southcentral

The Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in downtown Anchorage is the state's newest and largest facility of its kind. With almost 200,000 square feet of flexible event space, "the Dena'ina," as locals refer to it, comes with state-of-the art kitchen facilities plus views of the Chugach Mountains to the city's east.

The center, which opened in 2008, is named for the Dena'ina Athabaskan Native culture of the region.

The Dena'ina welcomes groups for conventions, trade shows, corporate meetings, award banquets, weddings, auctions, and seminars as well as for unique annual events such as the Oxygen & Octane Expo. Billed as "Alaska's largest winter adventure show," the expo attracts hundreds of attendees shopping for everything from snowboards to snow machines to big trucks with snow plows. Large objects arrive in the Dena'ina's event space via loading docks and huge elevators, one of which is large enough to hold an African elephant.

Three main types of rooms are available at the Dena'ina. All are named in honor of the Athabaskan language. The Idlughet (Eklutna) Exhibit Hall on the ground floor is 47,400 square feet. It can be used for booths or banquets or as a classroom or theater space. As a theater space, it can accommodate 5,000 people. On the Dena'ina's second floor are three distinct meeting rooms that can be configured into additional rooms for a total of 11,000 square feet. Each room has automatic screens to control room temperature and lighting. On the third and final level of the center is the Tikahtnu (Cook Inlet) Ballroom, typically used for company holiday parties, charity balls, keynote convention speeches, and the like. It offers floor-to ceiling windows and a heated out-door terrace with mountain views. With nearly 25,000 square feet of meeting space plus 15,000 square feet of lobby space, this is a favorite venue for both Alaskans and visitors. The ballroom can accommodate up to 1,812 people in a banquet format.

Also in downtown Anchorage is the William A. Egan Civic and Convention Center with more than 45,000 square feet...

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