The meetings and events industry’s best, as voted by the readers of Minnesota Meetings + Events magazine, socialized, nibbled on passed appetizers, watched sushi boats ride the luge and sipped signature drinks on April 2 at WINDOWS on Minnesota at the Marquette Hotel. Twenty-two winners and seven Hall of Fame inductees received their awards in front of a crowd of 283 people.
Golf is up there with fishing and snowmobiling as top Minnesotan activities. And it’s no wonder—after six months of being cooped up, there’s nothing like donning our polos, grabbing our clubs and rushing to the green. This love of the game is what makes golf events so enticing, but the large scale of such a tournament can be daunting. There’s the weather, the sponsorships, the banquet, the entertainment and a whole mound of things that haven’t even crossed your mind.
"[Planners and attendees] often refer to us as a hidden gem,” says Julie Johnson Atkinson, senior sales manager of Visit Duluth. But word is getting out about Duluth. Its biggest spectacle, Lake Superior, inspires, relaxes and brings people together, something that the people of Duluth capitalize on. And there’s an undeniable sense of community, especially when it comes to planning a meeting or event. Restaurants, venues, caterers, hotels and planners work together to make it work—whatever it is.
When summer finally comes to our state, it seems all Minnesotans have one common goal: to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible until the weather turns cold. For those in the Twin Cities, taking advantage of those three short months of great weather often means heading up north to a cabin, but there’s another option much closer to home.
Sustainability has shot to the top of many local businesses’ and venues’ priority lists in an effort to not only cut carbon footprints but also costs. And it’s paying off: Industry members, more often than not, are seeking out environmentally friendly meeting and event options. MNM+E caught up with some of Minnesota’s green leaders for the scoop on their practices and advice on how you can take action.
Waste Not, Want Not
Opening a microdistillery in Minnesota used to be a very spendy endeavor—that is, until a provision passed through legislature in 2011 that reduced the license fee from $30,000 to $1,100. Shanelle and Chris Montana took advantage of that provision, and began production in April 2014 and opened Du Nord Craft Spirits last January, the first cocktail room in the Twin Cities. “We had always been lovers of craft and of local products and really anything that ties the farm and the city together,” says Shanelle.
There’s a new patio in town—Salsa a La Salsa in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis opened its doors in January, and the patio will be available as the weather allows (with heater lamps to elongate patio season). The space holds about 150 people and can be rented out privately to groups with different package options for food, depending on the group’s need.
“Austin, Minnesota has an abundance of wonderful attributes that make it a unique place,” says Nancy Schnable, executive director of the Austin Convention & Visiotrs Bureau. “It’s just one of those towns that you have to see to believe.”
Location: Located at the junction of Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 218, Austin is 12 miles north of the Iowa border and 95 miles south of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
Put down your phone and network
Recently opened on St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill, The Salt Cellar is a blend of old-school service and modern, locally inspired cuisine mixed with an interactive dining experience. The steak and seafood restaurant’s private dining room, the Cathedral Room, seats up to 50 people and comes with a customized menu for any event. The Martinez, one of Salt Cellar’s signature drinks, evokes the restaurants’ modern-classic theme.
—1.5 oz. Haymans Old Tom Gin
—1.5 oz. Carpano Antica Formula
—.25 oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
—Regans orange bitters