Prevue asked Stephanie Boyd, Pennsylvania Convention Center’s VP of Sales, Marketing and Convention Services, her thoughts on culture and creativity trends for 2011.
Q: What are some popular festivals that planners can tie in with group programs?
A: Philadelphia has many annual festivals and events that groups can tie their meetings and conventions to easily. And now that the Pennsylvania Convention Center has been expanded, multiple events can be held in the building simultaneously. Our annual festivals and events include the Philadelphia International Flower Show held the first week of March. It’s the largest flower show in the world. Philadelphia International Auto Show is a world-renowned auto show
featuring everything from the latest vehicle models to celebrity appearances in late January. Welcome America! is our multi-day celebration of America’s independence, taking place in summer from the end of June through July. And the Global Fusion Festival, presented by the Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress, draws diverse communities together for an electrifying week of non-stop entertainment celebrating the world’s cultures in mid-July.
Q: What culturally-related place do you take visitors to?
A: Philadelphia has a diverse selection of cultural entertainment and attractions. The city is home to more than 3,000 murals that were created as part of the Mural Arts Program. You can find incredible murals all over the city, and there’s even a highlights tour available. Directly across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is the country’s first art museum and school of fine arts. PAFA’s Lenfest Plaza—an open air piazza with changing interactive, art exhibits—connects attendees with Philadelphia’s famed museums along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the city’s Parkway Museums District. And, the Avenue of the Arts, the city’s premier arts district located just blocks from the Convention Center, extends three miles along Broad Street through the heart of the city. It includes more than 20 major educational and performing arts facilities such as the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Academy of Music.
Q: Are there any creative arts/dining districts that attendees should scope out?
A: Old City, in the heart of Philadelphia’s Historic District, is one of the city’s trendiest areas, filled with fantastic bistros, clothing boutiques and contemporary art galleries. On any given night, the neighborhood theaters, restaurants and clubs are among the city’s hippest spots to be seen. On the first Friday of each month, more than 40 Old City galleries and shops stay open late and many of them offer special exhibits. And Northern Liberties is an area just north of Old City that we like to recommend for groups. It has emerged as a hub for artists of all kinds in Philadelphia. Venues like the Piazza at Schmidt’s provide a stage for aspiring local musicians and it’s a great location for an event.