Day weekend in Shreveport’s Festival Plaza.
The two-day Mudbug Madness event has
grown into one of Louisiana’s largest and
most popular festivals, drawing up to as
many as 56,000 people in one day. And it’s
not uncommon for groups to try to schedule a meeting to line up with the festival,
assuming attendees don’t mind chowing
down on some mudbugs (or observing).
“A pretty fierce crawfish eating contest goes on throughout that weekend,”
Additional festivals and events held in
Shreveport-Bossier City include the Red
River Revel Arts Festival, the Louisiana Film
Prize (and accompanying Music Prize) and
a massive Mardi Gras celebration, among
others. But Shreveport-Bossier is more than
just festivals and celebration, it also takes its
meetings business seriously.
“Our mayors on both the Shreveport
and Bossier sides are extremely engaged in
the meeting and tourism business—we ask
them to come out and greet a group, they’re
out,” Bradley says.
Bradley states that corporate and asso-
ciation meetings remain a strong source
of business for the area, whether state or
national, but he also has seen a big uplift in
the religious and military reunion markets.
As far as ideal group size goes, he says
that Shreveport-Bossier works best with
anywhere from 50 to 200 people for an individual hotel and around 1,200, and “maybe
1,000 rooms peak,” for a citywide.
The 350,000-square-foot Shreveport
Convention Center, along with its adjoining
313-room Hilton Hotel Shreveport, remains
a top spot for larger tradeshows and conventions, alongside seven casino resorts
that include Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino,
Margaritaville Resort Casino and Horseshoe
Move beyond the casinos and hotels and
planners will find a number of interesting
off-sites, ranging from facilities showcasing local area history to small boutique art
shops and music venues (see the On the
Scene sidebar, page 106).
Shreveport Municipal Memorial Audito-
rium, located on Elvis Presley Avenue, is an
Art Deco building constructed in the 1920s
that was home to The Louisiana Hayride, a
radio and later television broadcast, which
helped jumpstart the careers of Hank
Williams, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Its
auditorium seats more than 3,000 people
and its Grand Ballroom can hold 250 stand-
ing, 160 theater-style and 112 for a banquet.
A Backstage Music Tour is also available for
smaller groups with advance notice.
Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center is
another popular site for events and offers a
Science is Fun tour for groups of up to 100,
plus the entire facility can be rented out to
groups after regular business hours.
Meanwhile, Great Raft Brewing, founded in 2013, is arguably the top brewery
in town—it was recently voted as the top
brewery in Louisiana by Thrillist.com—and
is another can’t miss for attendees.
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