Industry Update

June 1, 2008


Family summer sizzles at Branson’s tropical oasis, White Water, one of mid-America’s top attractions. This themed Silver Dollar City property draws visitors from throughout the Heartland with water rides from high-thrill to lazy. Families can surf more than 2 million gallons of water throughout the park, which includes White Water’s newest and biggest ride ever, Kalani Towers. This “chief of all rides” sits as a high point of the Ozarks, beckoning to the adventurous with its 7-story, 300-foot slides. The 12-acre park twists and glides with nearly 7,000 feet of slides and more than a dozen rides and attractions for the ultimate family summer experience.

New for 2008, White Water introduces Beach Bucks, an easy-access wristband that can be loaded with any dollar amount and is accepted at all eateries and shops. Designed to offer the ultimate in poolside comfort, Cool Cabanas are available for rent, enclosed on two sides with televisions, fans and seating, for semi-private gatherings for up to 8 people. Free life jackets and tubes and a full staff of certified lifeguards are always on hand.

White Water is open May 23 – September 1. For information, hours and tickets, contact 1-800-831-4FUN or


The internationally-awarded 1880s-style Silver Dollar City theme park will debut the new Silver Dollar City Culinary & Craft School in September, which is designed to pass along knowledge of America’s heritage through fine crafts, handiwork and culinary arts. Interactive classes will be held within a stylishly decorated and themed timber-frame structure, set on a hillside within the City. Experts from top chefs to renowned craftsmen will share their secrets and tips in culinary classes and craft seminars. Along with the seminars from national experts, Silver Dollar City Master Craftsmen will feature heirloom displays, multiple demonstrations and hands-on activities for take-home skills.


The Regency Conference Center will be a state-of-the-art, completely wireless facility with nearly 13,000 square feet of flexible meeting space – with the ability to host up to 800 at rounds and more than 1,000 theater-style. There will be one permanent executive boardroom that will seat up to 14 and will include a 50-inch plasma screen.

The décor is a Tuscan theme with warm colors and elaborate details – including a floor-to-ceiling fireplace inside the Becky Henry room. The attached Hilton Garden Inn will have 128 rooms and be ready to open in July, with the Hampton Inn adding 90 rooms sometime next year. There will also be an impressive amount of green space, including a six-acre lake with fountains, an outdoor patio and a garden gazebo for outdoor weddings.


The Kemp Auto Museum recently announced the addition of high-quality audio tours, designed to enrich and enhance each visitor’s experience as they tour the museum. The audio tours are the initial step in the further development of the educational programs offered at the Kemp Auto Museum.

The audio tour helps to bring the museum to life, with engaging and informative stories and tidbits about the collection. The museum currently has three audio tours available, depending on the visitor’s age and level of interest.

The audio tours are available Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are an additional $2.00 per museum admission.

For additional information, contact Museum General Manager and Director of Special Events Allison Hershberger at [email protected] or visit


The Culinary Center of Kansas City has expanded with an additional 2,550 square feet and invites you to visit through its new main entrance at 7920 Santa Fe in downtown Overland Park (across from the Clock Tower). You’ll be able to watch live cooking classes and private culinary events in a brand new teaching kitchen with floor-to-ceiling viewing windows, customized hands-on work stations, state-of-the-art Viking cooking equipment and up-to-date technology. You can also browse an expanded culinary retail shop with gifts and equipment bearing CCKC’s signature whimsical style. There’s also a wall of Viking freezers dedicated to their “Dinners on Demand” program offering frozen dishes made by talented chefs. Watch for “walk-in” classes available on certain days of the week, ongoing culinary demonstrations of all kinds and CCKC’s partnership with the Overland Park Farmers’ Market beginning in April.


Like never before, Meeting Professionals International’s Kansas City Chapter ( is recognizing the value of going “green” as it introduces new initiatives from meeting concepts to contracts.

When Kay Barnes, Kansas City’s first female mayor, left office in 2007, her legacy included the resurgence of the city’s Downtown Loop as showcased by the fabulous new Sprint Center. Tuesday, May 20, the Sprint Center’s College Basketball Experience (CBE) will be the site for new strategies and insight provided by Kay Barnes along with panelist and keynote speaker Anthony Pollard, President of the Hotel Association of Canada.

Other panelists are Phelps Murdock, President and CEO of Bridging the Gap; Veronica Rinard, Community Relations Director for Travel Portland, a division of the Portland CVB that handles green initiatives; Keri Hinton, CMP, Event Manager for Proactive; and independent meeting planner Patti Gaughan, CMP.

Following the luncheon, attendees will hear and take part in a panel discussion with these five renowned experts on the vital importance of preserving the environment through green meeting practices.


The Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center in Joplin is adjacent to some of the area’s most unique natural resources, including the last remaining chert glades, a globally unique habitat found only in this area, and the biologically rich Shoal Creek.

A partnership project of Audubon Missouri, the City of Joplin and the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Audubon Center is a U.S. Green Building Council Silver L.E.E.D. Certified facility.

As you visit the center, look for ways you might incorporate some of these ideas and technologies into your own home or business. Stop at the “green” learning stations to learn more about what makes this facility more energy efficient and sustainable.

The amount of money saved on the Audubon Center’s utilities with green technologies is estimated to be approximately $6,000 to $10,000 annually! Although these technologies did add some cost to the building up front, they will more than pay for themselves in savings over the life of the building.

To learn more about sustainable building processes and technologies, visit:

U.S. Green Building Council

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Missouri Department of Natural Resources


The Showboat Branson Belle invites guests to travel back in time and celebrate the beauty and grandeur of the 1890s paddlewheel riverboats with a 3-course dinner, production show and cruise on beautiful Table Rock Lake.

For 2008, Showstoppers! is back by popular demand. This Broadway-style musical features a cast of talented singers, dancers and musicians performing some of the most recognizable hits from Broadway to the big screen, nearly 50 all-time favorite tunes. From the luscious greens of the spring scenery to the burnt orange leaves of fall, a cruise aboard the Showboat Branson Belle is one-of-a-kind, sailing along Table Rock Lake with its 800 miles of shoreline.

Evening cruises feature comedian and ventriloquist Todd Oliver with his cast of wise-cracking canines. Lunch and Sunday cruises present comedic magician Christopher James.

All meals are freshly prepared on board in the Showboat Branson Belle galley and served by a first-class wait staff.

Premium dining experiences are available for small groups or those celebrating special occasions. In the Paddle Wheel Club Room, guests dine overlooking the ship’s paddlewheels in a more private dining area. After dinner, guests are seated in box seats in the main dining room for the show. Another option is the Captain’s Row where first row balcony guests get the Showboat Branson Belle main dining room atmosphere while choosing from menu selections.

Cruises sail from March 14 through New Year’s Eve. For more information, call 1-800-775-BOAT. Information and ticketing are also available at



Candy House Gourmet Chocolates, with four retail locations in Joplin and Springfield, has been honored with a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon Small Business Award. The award, sponsored by Sam’s Club, was given in recognition of the company’s dedication to excellence in several categories. The Candy House is the only business in the state of Missouri, and one of only 55 businesses nationwide, to earn this prestigious award.

The Candy House is famous for its hand-dipped chocolates and offers a diverse selection of candies. It is also known for such specialties as English toffee, caramel pecan treats, caramel nut corn and, during special times of the year, chocolate-covered strawberries and caramel nut apples.

The 8,400-square-foot Candy House Chocolate Factory is the company’s production plant, complete with retail showroom and glass walls through which visitors can observe candy-making operations.

The company’s sales go beyond the walk-in retail customer to include corporate customers, Internet customers, private-label customers and wholesale customers such as, Bass Pro Shops, area Hallmark stores and area hospital gift shops.

Candy House products are also featured at various Missouri resorts and tourist attractions, including Wonders of Wildlife, the Titanic exhibit in Branson, Big Cedar Lodge, Wilderness Club Lodge, Tan-Tar-A Resort, Chateau on the Lake and area John Q. Hammons hotels.

The Candy House has garnered numerous other awards over the last several years including:

• 2003 Small Industry of the Year in Joplin, presented by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce

• 2004 Small Business of the Year in Joplin, presented by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce

• 2005 Small Business of the Year in Springfield, presented by the Springfield Chamber of Commerce

• Several awards for marketing excellence, presented by Retail Confectioners International

• Several “Best of 417” awards, presented by 417 Magazine, Springfield

• Several “Favorite of the Four States” awards, presented by The Joplin Globe, Joplin

• Numerous Addy awards for creative excellence, presented by the Joplin Area Advertising Federation

The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

For more information visit or


The Association of Public-Safety Communication Officials (APCO) International has named AGENDA: Kansas City its event production and transportation provider for its 74th Annual Conference and Exhibition to be held August 3 through 7, 2008. The conference will be held at the Kansas City Convention Center and the Downtown Marriott will serve as the headquarters hotel.

During the conference, AGENDA: Kansas City will produce four events at various venues such as the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The events range in size from 150 to 3,000 attendees, with the largest event being held at the Liberty Memorial. In addition to daily shuttle services, AGENDA: Kansas City will also operate a number of customized sightseeing tours while its sister company, AGENDA: USA, will provide all airport transfers via private sedan for speakers and VIPs.

The conference will bring in public safety officials from around the world and is expected to generate more than $10 million for the Kansas City economy. Additional information about APCO International and the conference can be found at

AGENDA: Kansas City is a full-service destination management company providing event production, tour and transportation services to organizations in the Kansas City metro area since 1989. Further information about the company can be found at


Located in the heart of Missouri’s finest wine country and Mississippi River Hills Region, Belle Haven, the Spa at Chaumette, is a luxury resort spa, offering the ultimate spa experience in an inspired setting on the grounds of Chaumette Vineyards & Winery in Sainte Genevieve County, Missouri. The spa offers treatments based upon Caudalie products, a therapy using grape seeds, stalks and vines, developed by researchers at the Pharmacy Facility at Bordeaux. These grape seeds contain polyphenols which are excellent organically produced treatments for the skin and assist in the quest to erase the effects of time, stress and environmental aging factors. The spa has also designed signature treatments using grape seeds and wine extracts directly from Chaumette Vineyards & Winery.

The 4,500-square-foot spa features a wraparound porch with panoramic views, six treatment rooms including a couple’s suite, a relaxing Spa Sanctuary, an infrared sauna and deluxe pipe-free pedicure spas. During summer 2008, Chaumette Vineyards & Winery will be unveiling its heated pool and poolside cabanas and will also be opening a poolside restaurant, offering al fresco dining with an emphasis on health-conscious cuisine from the Grapevine Grill.

For more information, call (573) 747-1000 or visit


Three of the most successful names in the hotel industry —Smith Travel Research (STR), Deloitte’s HotelBenchmark™ and The Bench—have launched STR Global.

STR Global ( provides clients access to hotel research with regular and custom reports covering more than 36,200 hotels comprising nearly 5 million guest rooms worldwide. The hotels are located in 369 markets in 94 countries.

STR Global is based in London, and with initial support from Smith Travel Research’s offices in suburban Nashville, it will be a single source of global hotel performance data. This streamlined approach eliminates duplication and will present worldwide data in a consistent format, creating what company executives believe will be the world’s predominant source of lodging industry research and analysis.

Smith Travel Research employs about 100 people in Nashville. STR Global employs about 30 in central London. A transitional period to coordinate office operations and marketing programs is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2008.

For more information, visit or



Point of View, the newest venue offered by Patty Long Catering, is located on the 30th floor of the Laclede Building in downtown St. Louis. Point of View offers a 360-degree view of every spectacular element the gorgeous Saint Louis skyline has to offer. From the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium to the Continental Life Building beacon and the Midtown Entertainment District, you can view it all at Point of View. To book your event at this exclusive venue, call Amy Smith at (314) 421-2745.


The Saint Louis Science Center Travel Programs combine breathtaking locations with opportunities for real life fieldwork. By way of domestic destinations and international explorations, each of the trips explores archaeology, paleontology, ecology and resource management.

Ranging from a quick one-day adventure to a ten-day expedition, the Science Center’s travel programs lead their explorers off the beaten path to discover science.

Science Around Town programs focus on one-day excursions that open the eyes of participants to scientific discoveries practically in their own backyards.

Explorers in Domestic Discoveries travel to a location in the continental United States and over the course of seven days uncover the scientific mysteries of the region.

International Explorations are longer trips designed for travelers looking to discover civilizations in foreign lands.

Touch the remains of a dinosaur in the Badlands of Montana, or uncover the secrets of Ancient American cultures. Or perhaps see an eclipse from the middle of the ocean on your way to Greece ‒ all is possible with the Science Center’s travel programs.

For more information, contact Mary Hediger at (314) 725-5645 or [email protected].


The newest Bass Pro Shops store opened in February 2008 and has added yet another reason for outdoor enthusiasts to visit Independence. The new store, spread over 180,000 square feet of display retail space, offers the latest in outdoor merchandise, a 20-foot waterfall, 32,000-gallon freshwater aquarium stocked with record size game fish, 400-plus-seat Islamorada Fish Company restaurant, laser arcade, archery range, pistol range, murals, wildlife dioramas, kayak pond with ten-foot waterfall, turning water wheel and old mill and a boat showroom, all located inside the store. Outdoors, families can enjoy a new 30-acre park created by Independence Parks and Recreation. A 17-acre lake has been stocked with fingerling catfish, bass and bluegill, which will be available for fishing when the fish mature, in about two years. A covered picnic pavilion with seating for 100, playground for all ages and a walking trail are additional highlights.

For a complete calendar of Independence attractions and events, call Independence Tourism at (800) 748-7323 or visit Information on all special activities is available on the Bass Pro Shops Web site,

2007 Hospitality Professional Award Winners Announced

Administrative Professional:

Donna Watkins, Sheraton Clayton Plaza

Guest Services Professional:

Anne Oestreich, Hilton Frontenac

Facility Maintenance Professional:

Otis Stanley, Sheraton St. Louis City Center Hotel & Suites

Housekeeping Professional:

Evelyn Victory, Doubletree Hotel & Conference Center

Technical Professional:

Eric Tutskey, Swank Audio Visuals

Human Resources & Training Professional:

Stacey Lutgen, Ameristar Casino & Resort

Front Office/Reservations Professional:

Jeremiah Essmyer, Sheraton St. Louis City Center Hotel & Suites

Financial Professional:

Kim Staten, Ameristar Casino & Resort

Event Services Professional:

Amanda Horton, Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

Food & Beverage Professional:

Kristen Swidrak, The Ritz Carlton

Industry Volunteer:

Robin Swick, HSMAI, HHH / Sheraton St. Louis City Center

Sales & Marketing Professional:

Vita Epifanio, Hyatt Regency St. Louis

General Manager of the Year:

Jay Campbell, Millennium Hotel St. Louis


The Stars behind the Scenes…The 9th Annual Louie Awards Presented by the International Special Event Society (ISES), St. Louis Chapter

Have you ever wondered who was behind the scenes producing St. Louis’s most creative events?  On Friday, March 7th, St. Louis’s premier special event professionals stepped out to celebrate the best events of 2007 at the 9th Annual Louie Awards Gala.  Presented by the St. Louis Chapter of the International Special Event Society (ISES), the Louie Awards shines the spotlight on the creative event producers and professionals, those who are typically behind the scenes of the event.

From two blocks away, the high-tech LED window lighting at Lumen Private Event Space, beckoned attention.  The bight blue glow of the building forshadowed the intensity of the celebration within.  As the proud host to the Louie Awards and one of the newest venues on the St. Louis horizon, the cutting edge venue was clearly suited to the purpose.  To take the celebration over the top, ISES Member companies joined forces to sponsor the event, coming together to display the best in culinary skill, event production and event design.

The Annual Louie Awards Program provides an opportunity for event professionals to gain recognition for the events that are created, planned, managed, and executed each year.  With 23 categories ranging from the best in catering, to event photography, wedding planning, corporate meeting production, non-profit events, to best achievement in technical support, the awards recognize the artistry of creating amazing events of magnitude, prestige and inspiration.

To enter, event specialists complete a rigorous award entry submission process, entering their best events into the competition.  Entries are sent out of state to another ISES Chapter to be judged on an unbiased, anonymous basis outside of our region.

The challenging award entry process requires the completion of a creative description of the event design, management process, services provided, scope of the event and challenges faced.  The submission of a predetermined amount of event photography is required for entry completion.

After cocktails, the event began with the announcement of a special award.  The St. Louis Chapter of ISES honored Bob Bargen with the Founding Father Award, for over 21 years of continuous service.  Bob is one of the original Founders of ISES International.  ISES acknowledged Bob’s career and lifetime contributions to the special event industry during this heart-felt presentation.  You can read more about Bob’s ISES journey by visiting

As the gourmet dinner was served, the presentation of the awards began.  The 2007 Louie Award Winners are:

Name of Category Winner
Best Food Presentation 


Russo’s Gourmet Catering
Best Off-Premise Catered Event, 

Budget under $200 Per Person


Butler’s Pantry
Best Off-Premise Catered Event, 

Budget $200 Per Person and Over


Butler’s Pantry
Best Catered Event, 

Produced by a Hotel Banquet Dept or Private Club


Forest Hills Country Club
Best Tabletop Design, 

Budget Under $500 Per Table


The Aries Company
Best Tabletop Design, 

Budget $500 Per Table and Over


Butler’s Pantry
Best Use of Graphic Design 


University of Missouri-St. Louis
Best Tent Installation 


Traube Tent Company
Best Use of Lighting 


The Aries Company
Best Achievement in Technical Support 


The Aries Company
Best Achievement in Event Rental Support and/or Design 


The Aries Company
Best Event Entertainment Concept and Execution, 

Budget under $20,000


Logic Systems Sound and Lighting, Inc.
Best Event Produced for a Non-profit Organization, 

Budget $100 Per Person and Over


University of Missouri-St. Louis
Best Wedding, 

Budget Under $200 Per Person


Alred Wedding Consultants, Inc.
Best Wedding, 

Budget $200 Per Person and Over


Cosmopolitan Events
Best Theme Décor, 

Budget $15,000 and Over


Cosmopolitan Events
Best Event Produced for a Private Individual, 

Budget under $200 Per Person


Cosmopolitan Events
Best Event Produced for a Corporation, 

Budget under $50,000


Destination St. Louis, Inc.
Best Event Produced for a Corporation, 

Budget between $50,000-$150,000


MAC Meetings & Events
Best Event Produced for a Corporation, 

Budget Over $150,001

Destination St. Louis, Inc.
Best Achievement in Logistics 


Logic Systems Sound and Lighting, Inc.
Best Event Videography 


Lifetime Media, LLC
Best ISES Team 


The Aries Company 

BBJ Linen

Luluthia Floral Designs, LLC

K Square, Inc.

The International Special Events Society (ISES) was founded in 1987 to foster enlightened performance through education while promoting ethical conduct. ISES has grown to involve over 5,600 members active in 41 chapters throughout the world with over 160 members located in the St. Louis region. Membership brings together professionals from a variety of special events disciplines including caterers, meeting planners, decorators, event planners, audio-visual technicians, party and convention coordinators, educators, journalists, hotel sales managers and many more professional disciplines.

The St. Louis Chapter of ISES holds monthly educational programs and networking events for those involved in the special event industry who are interested in keeping on the cutting edge of event trends.  Party professionals are gauranteed to have a blast  while engaging in dynamic professional exchange at eagerly awaited ISES annual events such as the Trolley Tour, the Jingle Mingle and the Taste of Caterers.  For more information about the St. Louis Chapter of ISES, please visit or  You may also contact Vicki Morris, President of the St. Louis Chapter of ISES, at [email protected].

About the author

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