By Beth Buehler
Not all tradeshow facilities are created equally. Destination Colorado member venues and facilities located in the state’s Front Range region offer several great options that come complete with top-notch customer service, amenities and locations that keep groups coming back again and again.
Listen to an Audio Podcast of this Blog Post
Some of the best venue options for tradeshows are county fairgrounds with buildings featuring wide-open spaces that are a blank canvas for transformation and rental costs that won’t break the bank. Plus, there are typically additional meeting rooms, outdoor pavilions and arenas that can be used for meetings and other activities happening in tandem with a tradeshow.
Arapahoe County Fairgrounds and Event Center in Aurora offers the convenience of having its indoor facilities all next to each other in the form of an event center that can host up to 1,000 guests. A 24,780-square-foot Exhibition Hall can be divided into two spaces if needed, and the Main Hall (7,225 square feet) and East Wing (16,875 square feet) provide additional options along with several meeting rooms. Outside, there are covered rodeo arenas.
Trees planted as far back as 1869, spacious lawns and a range of facilities on 145 acres that border the Poudre River make Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley an attractive option. The Events Center can hold nearly 8,300 guests and has a 58,000-square-foot Great Hall with a large lobby/commons area and three conference rooms. Island Grove’s Exhibition Hall was built with mid-sized events in mind with a 24,200-square-foot Great Hall and a meeting room. Small tradeshows should head for the 4-H Building with a 6,600-square-foot Great Hall and a meeting room. Two covered outdoor pavilions, a livestock barn and huge arena that hosts Greeley Stampede rodeos provide additional options.
In nearby Loveland, Larimer County has one of the largest fairground complexes with 374,000 square feet of meeting and event space located on 244 acres. Known as The Ranch Events Complex, one of the highlights is the 7,200-seat Budweiser Events Center that hosts hockey and arena football teams, concerts, meetings and more. However, the First National Bank Building is ideal for tradeshows with 36,000 square feet of exhibition space. For a smaller option, the Thomas M. McKee 4-H, Youth & Community Building has a 12,500-square-foot exhibit hall and six meeting rooms. Indoor and outdoor arenas provide additional options.
Located within The Ranch, Embassy Suites by Hilton Loveland Hotel Conference Center & Spa not only offers convenient and attractive lodging, the hotel has 40,000 square feet of conference space of its own. The 28,800-square-foot Front Range Ballroom and 7,200-square-foot High Meadows Ballroom provide two options for tradeshows and other gatherings, plus there are other meeting and event spaces along with a spa, pool, restaurant and 263 suites.
Plentiful Denver Area Options
The Denver metropolitan area delivers numerous choices, so we’ll focus on just a few. The LEED-certified Colorado Convention Center (CCC) in downtown Denver is the largest with 2 million square feet of space and capacity for up to 20,000 attendees. The 584,000 square feet of exhibit space on one level provides all sorts of options, including the 50,000-square-foot Mile High Ballroom and 35,000-square-foot Four Seasons Ballroom. In addition there are 63 meeting rooms on one level, two outdoor terraces, and seven lobby areas (one for each exhibit hall and the 5,000-seat Bellco Theatre).
Unique features worth mentioning are an impressive public art collection (including the huge Blue Bear sculpture peeking in from outside), a full-fledged coffee house, and Centerplate’s Blue Bear Farm that produces honey and 5,000 pounds of produce. Construction for an expansion project is set to begin in 2019, adding an 85,000-square-foot ballroom and more than 100,000 square feet of pre-function, prep and service space that includes a new 50,000-square-foot outdoor terrace.
The Hangar at Stanley, located in Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace that opened in 2016, is a wide-open, 10,000-square-foot interior space that is ideal for a small or medium trade show. It is where we held the Destination Colorado 2017 Front Range Trade Show. A connected 8,500-square-foot patio is an added bonus. An industrial-chic vibe makes this venue special with steel beams, polished concrete floors, large wooden spools and the same 30-inch light fixtures that once lit up Stanley Aviation, the company that once occupied the entire Stanley Marketplace building. Attendees also will love checking out all the food and beverage outlets and boutiques.
Among the biggest news for Colorado’s meetings and events industry and Aurora is the opening of Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in November 2018. The resort features more than 485,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, including a 175,000-square-foot exhibit hall with large connecting outdoor patio. In addition, there are four ballrooms ranging from 8,000 to nearly 60,000 square feet, up to 81 breakout rooms and four additional outdoor spaces that can be utilized.
Another example of a Denver metro resort that has space for tradeshows, with the added bonus of an on-site golf course, is Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield. Omni Interlocken has 390 guest rooms and more than 40,000 square feet of flexible gathering space, including two ballrooms and 12 other meeting rooms. The largest option for tradeshows is the 9,120-square-foot Interlocken Ballroom. A 4,750-square-foot, open-air pavilion provides groups with the opportunity to get outdoors.
Colorado Springs & Pueblo Offer Wide Variety
Head south to other great options in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Celebrating its 100th birthday in 2018, The Broadmoor has been a landmark property for meeting and events for years and is located on 3,000 lush acres in Colorado Springs. The resort has more than 60 indoor and outdoor event venues that total 185,000 square feet of space. The 60,000 square-foot Broadmoor Hall is ideal for tradeshows and located in the 90,000-square-foot Event Center. Among the amenities at The Broadmoor are a large spa, 54 holes of championship golf, six tennis courts, 19 dining options and 25 specialty retail shops.
For another relaxing resort setting complete with golf, tennis, spa, pools, a lake and more is the IACC-certified Cheyenne Mountain Colorado Springs, A Dolce Resort with 40,000 square feet of meeting space, including 38 dedicated conference rooms. The largest space for tradeshows is a 6,400-square-foot ballroom.
Three other great options in Colorado Springs are Eleganté Hotel Conference and Event Center with 48,000 square feet of meeting and event space; The Antlers, A Wyndham Hotel in downtown with 27,500 square feet of function space; and DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Colorado Springs with 25,000 square feet of options for groups.
At Eleganté, the largest of 35 meeting rooms is the 13,600-square-foot Colorado Grand Ballroom that holds up to 2,000, plus there are three other ballrooms that total more than 15,000 square feet. The 18,000 total square feet of exhibit space can accommodate 120 booths that are 8′ x 10′. The Antlers features 17 meeting rooms that can host a total of 1,200 attendees. The largest options for tradeshows are the Heritage Ballroom at nearly 9,700 square feet and Summit Ballroom at 5,000 square feet. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Colorado Springs has the 10,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, the smaller Colorado Springs Ballroom at 4,750 square feet and several smaller meeting rooms.
Approximately 40 miles down the road is the Pueblo Convention Center that borders the Arkansas RiverWalk Project and features more than 21,000 square feet of meeting space and 163 hotel rooms. Fortino Grand Hall is ideal for tradeshows with 16,200 feet of space and five meeting rooms just across the hall. The Heroes Pavilion and another 2,000-square-foot room provide additional options. An expansion slated for completion in 2019 includes a 500-space parking garage and the 32,000-square-foot Pro Bull Rider’s Sport Performance Center with training areas, classrooms and rehabilitation space.
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado in all seasons.