Charlotte: Toe to Toe with Coronavirus

Charlotte: Toe to Toe with Coronavirus

By: Felipe Rivas

4 min read June 2020—The tenacity of the coronavirus has challenged, and at times highlighted, the economic strength of cities across the nation. While the pandemic has severely bruised the Queen City’s economy, the city’s dexterity and sound fundamentals are helping to soften the blow as Charlotte recoups and prepares for an uncertain future. 

 

Marked by serious losses and promising victories, June has been a roller coaster of economic activity for the Charlotte Metro Region. Unexpectedly, the city’s hospitality sector, an already embattled segment of the economy, suffered a further blow when President Donald Trump and Republican leaders swiftly yanked the Republican National Convention (RNC) out of Charlotte after coronavirus-related concerns prevented North Carolina leaders from guaranteeing a fully operational Spectrum Center, hotels and other amenities. But as Charlotte reeled from this sudden blow, the region jabbed back at the coronavirus-related adversity with positive job expansion and promising rezoning announcements slated to be catalysts for growth in the near future. 

Two years of RNC preparations vanished as RNC leaders decided to move more than half of the August festivities to Jacksonville, Florida. Since winning the bid to host the 2020 RNC in 2018, the host committee and Charlotte’s hospitality and business leaders have toiled to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for the thousands of delegates, journalists, and visitors expected for the event. However, as government and business leaders entered 2020 confident about the state of the economy, the contingency plans unsurprisingly failed to factor in a global pandemic and the subsequent reduction in major events and large gatherings of people. 

In late May, in a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper, RNC leaders demanded that Charlotte, which remains in a state of emergency, guarantee a “full convention,” and “full hotels and restaurants, and bars at full capacity,” according to a response letter published by the governor’s office. Citing uncertainty and the state of the coronavirus come August, Gov. Cooper said planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity. “As much as we want the conditions surrounding COVID-19 to be favorable enough for you to hold the Convention you describe in late August, it is very unlikely,” Gov. Cooper wrote to the RNC leaders. “Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantee you seek.” 

This lack of guarantee prompted RNC leaders and President Trump to move three of the four convention days to Jacksonville, according to different news sources. Charlotte will host the first day of the convention, with the traditional speeches and fanfare occurring in Jacksonville. The convention is scheduled to run Aug. 24-27.  

“We wanted to host the RNC because we hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and so we want to prove to the world that we are capable of delivering high-quality events,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles told Invest: Charlotte in the spring, before the RNC decision. She further explained the advantages for Charlotte: “It is a great branding opportunity for the city, as we expect up to 50,000 people, including many international journalists, to visit during the event. It will also provide a huge boost to our hospitality industry.” she said. The convention was expected to generate more than $150 million in revenue for the area’s restaurants, bars and hotels, the Charlotte Observer reported.  

As the hospitality and tourism sector begins to gather its composure after such a punch, Charlotte heavyweights aim to continue to strengthen the region’s foundation. Two significant redevelopments projects moved forward on Monday after receiving unanimous approval from city leaders. Rezonings were approved for the redevelopment of Atrium Health’s Midtown flagship campus and the former Eastland Mall property in east Charlotte, according to the Charlotte Business Journal. 

Atrium Health, the region’s largest employer, seeks to rezone close to 70 acres at the Carolina Medical Center to accommodate a live, work, and play environment, complete with a new bed tower, rehabilitation hospital, office space, affordable housing and more. In 2019, Atrium Health announced more than $1.5 billion investment in the Charlotte metropolitan area to help build new infrastructure, including new hospitals and medical facilities, President and CEO Gene Woods Told Invest:Charlotte in the spring. “This is about more than just adding brick and mortar. It’s about investing in this community because this is the place our friends, our neighbors and our loved ones call home, and we want to see it continue to thrive,” Woods said. “As the major healthcare system in the state of North Carolina, we know we can play a key role in helping our economy flourish as well.”

The Eastland rezoning includes close to 78 acres of mostly city-owned property, according to the Charlotte Business Journal. The site will be the future headquarters of the yet-to-be-named Charlotte Major League Soccer team, owned by business leader David Tepper. Similar to the Atrium Health project, Eastland will be the site of mixed-use development featuring residential units, office and retail space, and athletic fields. 

And while these projects are expected to pay dividends to the community in the future, the region scored significant economic development victories on Tuesday when Chime Solution and Ross Stores announced the addition of 250 and 700 jobs respectively to the region’s economy. 

Georgia-based Chime Solutions, a provider of customer contact services for several industries, will add jobs for licensed life and health insurance agents and will pay $16 an hour and include training and licensing,  WFAE reported Chime Solutions  opened an office in the University City area last fall. Leading off-price apparel and home fashion retail chain Ross Stores Inc. announced it will expand its distribution and warehousing operations in York County, according to the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance. The company’s $68 million investment is projected to create 700 new jobs over five years. 

To learn more, visit:

https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/2020_06_02_RNC-Response-Letter.pdf

https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2020/06/16/eastland-mall-atrium-health-rezoning.html

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/rnc-2020/article243540772.html

https://charlotteregion.com/index.php?src=news&submenu=Relocation_Expansions&srctype=detail&category=Investor%20News&refno=8639&hurl=n

https://www.wfae.org/post/charlotte-says-chime-solutions-250-job-expansion-offers-economic-mobility#stream/0

 

Staying connected: Hosting digital events during the coronavirus

Staying connected: Hosting digital events during the coronavirus

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read April 2020 — The novel coronavirus forced a global halt to major international, regional and local events. From the NBA season to networking conferences, all gatherings of any size stopped abruptly in an effort to flatten the curve and prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, from spreading further. However, as the population at large becomes accustomed to social distancing, stay at home orders and self quarantining, many events went from a hard stop to full speed ahead virtually. As the business community adjusts to the challenges of the disruption caused by the coronavirus, many institutions are building value and maintaining relationships with patrons by maximizing the use of webinars, online classes, video conferences and even virtual happy hours. 

Throughout the nation, residents, institutions, and businesses alike have been forced to adapt to social distancing. Virtually every educational institution has gone fully online in an effort to keep staff and students safe during the coronavirus pandemic. On the business front, major companies have pivoted to fully digital events for participants to enjoy. For example, technology giant, Google, recently decided to move its entire Google Cloud Next ’20: Digital event online. The event will be a free, global, digital-first, multiday event aiming to connect attendees to streamed keynotes, breakout and interactive learning sessions, among other activities. During the coronavirus, these types of initiatives will become the new normal until it becomes safe to resume traveling and large gatherings.

The video conference platform, Zoom, has quickly become ubiquitous across the virtual events space. Across economic sectors, different institutions are taking advantage of Zoom and similar platforms. To host a successful virtual event, event planners must decide between hosting a virtual meeting or a webinar. “If you expect attendees to mostly just listen,” the best option is a webinar, Zoom advises as part of its digital event best practices. “When you need more back and forth between the audience and the host,” planners should choose a virtual meeting, the platform advises. 

Once the type of digital event has been narrowed down, hosts should hardwire the internet connection to prevent any Wi-Fi-related hiccups or virtual lag. In terms of audio, hosts should test speakers and audio prior to the meeting and minimize any background noise, according to Zoom. Additionally, hosts should dress to impress and make sure to start the virtual event on time. It is important to set the tone of the event and encourage Q&A’s during the virtual meeting or webinar. As a best practice, Zoom recommends the use of the Chat function to keep track of questions and comments. For larger webinars, Zoom offers a PayPal integration to charge the registration fees seamlessly. 

For the time being, social distancing will be part of the mainstream business landscape until at least May. However, many institutions are adjusting and pivoting more and more to the virtual hosting model to build value, share information and regain a sense of community in a time where residents are being asked to self-isolate as much as possible.  

To learn more visit: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/04/best-practices-for-hosting-a-digital-event/

https://cloud.google.com/blog/topics/google-cloud-next/join-us-for-google-cloud-next20-digital-connect

 

 

Maintaining unity through webinars and industry-specific virtual talks

Maintaining unity through webinars and industry-specific virtual talks

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read April 2020The novel coronavirus forced a global halt to major international, regional and local events. From the NBA season to networking conferences, all gatherings of any size stopped abruptly in an effort to flatten the curve and prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, from spreading further. However, as the population at large becomes accustomed to social distancing, stay at home orders and self quarantining, many events went from a hard stop to full speed ahead virtually. As the business community adjusts to the challenges of the disruption caused by the coronavirus, many institutions are building value and maintaining relationships with patrons by maximizing the use of webinars, online classes, video conferences and even virtual happy hours. 

 

In South Florida, a region known for its events and conferences, different institutions have embraced virtual meetings to build value and maintain close relationships with clients in the midst of social distancing. For the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, a chamber known for its networking events focused on covering top-of-mind issues for its members, virtual meetings and webinars have become the go-to instrument to stay connected to its members and coach them through this new business landscape. “At this point in time, in an era of social distancing, we are gearing our efforts toward creating webinars that give our membership and beyond a chance to find out what resources are available to them, how to maintain their business in this socially disconnected economy and coaching them on how to bounce back when that time comes,” Spokeswoman Morgan Mongelia told Invest: Miami. “All our regularly scheduled monthly programming had to be moved to a virtual platform and format,” she said. As part of its virtual offerings, the chamber has a full slate of virtual webinars, in addition to industry-specific teleconferences. “We are also using this time to support fellow community organizations and businesses via personal phone follow-ups to ensure the long-term success of the Coral Gables business community as a whole,” Mongelia said. 

The video conference platform, Zoom, has quickly become ubiquitous across the virtual events space. Across economic sectors, different institutions are taking advantage of Zoom and similar platforms. To host a successful virtual event, event planners must decide between hosting a virtual meeting or a webinar. “If you expect attendees to mostly just listen,” the best option is a webinar, Zoom advises as part of its digital event best practices. “When you need more back and forth between the audience and the host,” planners should choose a virtual meeting, the platform advises. 

Once the type of digital event has been narrowed down, hosts should hardwire the internet connection to prevent any Wi-Fi-related hiccups or virtual lag. In terms of audio, hosts should test speakers and audio prior to the meeting and minimize any background noise, according to Zoom. Additionally, hosts should dress to impress and make sure to start the virtual event on time. It is important to set the tone of the event and encourage Q&A’s during the virtual meeting or webinar. As a best practice, Zoom recommends the use of the Chat function to keep track of questions and comments. For larger webinars, Zoom offers a PayPal integration to charge the registration fees seamlessly. 

Social distancing will be part of the mainstream business landscape until at least May. However, many institutions are adjusting and pivoting more and more to the virtual hosting model to build value, share information and regain a sense of community in a time where residents are being asked to self-isolate as much as possible.  

To learn more visit: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/04/best-practices-for-hosting-a-digital-event/

https://www.facebook.com/CoralGablesChamber

https://site.coralgableschamber.org/events

https://coralgableschamber.org/

 

 

Palm Beach Returning to its Gaming Roots

Palm Beach Returning to its Gaming Roots

By: Sara Warden

2 min read February 2020 — IBM developed the first PC in Boca Raton and now the city is making a new effort to bring back the gamers. In 2021, Misfits Gaming Group will consolidate its North American presence with a new, $1.35-million, 18,000-square-foot headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.

 

The Misfits organization owns teams that compete in League of Legends, CounterStrike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Super Smash Bros. Founded in 2016, Forbes estimates the company’s value at $120 million and global esports revenues are estimated at $1.1 billion in 2019.

The Misfits Gaming Group will set up two Florida-based franchised esports teams, the Florida Mayhem and Florida Mutineers, through which it will run several large-scale esports events throughout the year, in addition to college tournaments and community events. These events can rake in millions, with eye-watering prize money. The winners of the Dota 2 esports tournament walked away with over $3 million each, as did the 2019 winners of the Fortnite World Cup. In comparison, the 2019 winners of Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep, took home $2.9 million each.

One of the reasons Misfits chose Boca Raton for its new HQ is the business-friendly environment Florida provides – not to mention the generous tax breaks provided by the authorities. Local and state authorities will provide over $200,000 in grants and tax refunds in exchange for creating 30 new jobs with average salaries of $95,000.

“[Misfits] falls within a targeted industry sector for not only our county efforts, but state efforts as well,” said Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the Palm Beach County Business Development Board in an interview with Esport Observer. “Also, the fact that the jobs are high paid, much higher than the average of the county, which is $53,000.”

Florida is a surprisingly logical state in which to expand an esports empire. According to Enterprise Florida, the state has the nation’s third-largest tech industry and is a leader in high-tech employment, ranking No. 1 in the Southeast. Florida’s universities are one of the region’s largest producers of STEM graduates – in fact it is one of the largest generators of graduates entirely. And West Palm Beach has one of the highest concentrations of IT employees in the state.

The state is also a pioneer in connectivity, essential for any industry built around fast internet connections. The state has 61,000 total fiber miles, the third-most extensive statewide network in the United States. It also has 275 data center locations, the fourth-highest density among all U.S. states. 

Misfits certainly sees this potential in Florida, and in November launched a $10 million esports and gaming incubator and seed fund. “As the first esports and gaming-focused startup incubator and seed fund offering the resources of our caliber in North America, our goal is to create infrastructure for supporting and developing emerging business talent,” said Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming Group in a press release. “We want to help invest in the kind of ideas that will move our industry forward.”

To learn more, visit:

https://misfitsgaming.gg/ 

https://www.ibm.com/

https://www.bdb.org/

https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/competitive/en-US/events/world-cup

The Real Winner in Super Bowl LIV

The Real Winner in Super Bowl LIV

By: Max Crampton Thomas

2 min read February 2020 Over the course of last week the excitement for Super Bowl LIV was palpable throughout Miami-Dade County, which was not surprising with over 200,000 people visiting South Florida to watch the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers. Ultimately the Chiefs came from behind to snatch their first Super Bowl title in 50 years. While the final numbers aren’t yet in, the early indications suggest another winner from the NFL championship: Miami-Dade County.

 The expected economic impact for the Miami-Dade area when the final numbers are reported from the past week’s events? $500 million. This would be a significant boost from Miami’s last Super Bowl (XLIV) in 2010, which generated $234 million for the region, and the 2007 Super Bowl (XLI), which accumulated $463 million in economic impact.  

The stellar financial results are thanks to well-thought-out events and years of deliberate planning by local leaders and organizations, like the Super Bowl Host Committee. Events like Miami Beach’s Super Bowl Experience and Bayfront Park’s Super Bowl Live were glowing examples of why this Super Bowl was a major win for Miami-Dade. 

Equally impressive was the windfall from “free publicity” that was afforded to Miami, thanks to media coverage of the game and the surrounding large-scale events. In fact, according to the South Florida Business Journal, during a panel discussion on Feb. 3 between local leaders for Super Bowl LIV at the University of Miami’s Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility, Miami Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Rodney Baretto said the figure related to free publicity would be “in excess of $200 million” for Miami-Dade. 

This Super Bowl also provided an opportunity to some of the smaller, local businesses in the region through the Business Connect program. This program afforded close to 300 South Florida-based minority-owned businesses with vendor contracts in order to help in supplying their services and products for the events happening in the region and on the day of the game. 

Another opportunity resulting from Super Bowl LIV was the Super Bowl Legacy Grant Program. This program consisted of the NFL Foundation donating $1 million to the host city, which was then supplemented by funding from the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee, bringing the grand total to $2.4 million. The money has since been distributed to five capital improvement initiatives throughout the South Florida area. These include new lighting for Bayfront Park in Miami, new synthetic turf for Gwen Cherry Park and a new Outdoor Fitness Zone for Plantation Heritage Regional Park in Broward County. 

One of the biggest winners from the Super Bowl events was the hospitality sector in Miami-Dade and Broward County. With room rates in the Downtown Miami and Brickell areas ranging anywhere from $500 to $5,000, the Super Bowl provided local hotels with an opportunity that couldn’t be missed. The South Florida region was prepared for this onslaught of new guests into the area, with more than 10,000 new rooms being added since the last Super Bowl in 2010. 

While the Chiefs may be walking away the official winners of Super Bowl LIV, Miami-Dade and the South Florida region are the true beneficiaries of a job well done. 

To learn more visit: 

https://www.miasbliv.com/

 

 

No Lull for Football Fans in Tampa Bay

No Lull for Football Fans in Tampa Bay

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read January 2020 If the last few weeks in the Tampa Bay region have felt like a nonstop marathon of events and gatherings, that’s because it has been. While the region has been celebrating the multiple holidays and enjoying the dozens of holiday happenings around the area, there have also been some significant sporting milestones, specifically in the world of football. As the season closes for the NFL in Tampa Bay, another one begins for the new XFL and the beginning of 2020 also marked another successful bowl game in the Bay. 

 

The end of the NFL 2019 regular season was lamented by a 28 to 22 Buccaneers loss to the Atlanta Falcons in overtime. While it was not the season Bucs fans were hoping for, it did leave some room for hope in the next season as well as some shining moments that will be enshrined in Buccaneers history. This season saw the complete dominance of what could possibly be the best wide receiver duo in the NFL, Buccaneers Mike Evans and Chris Goodwin. Between them they had almost 2,500 receiving yards, 17 touchdowns and they were both chosen to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl. 

Then there is the curious case of the Buccaneers starting quarterback Jameis Winston, who was just the eighth quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 5,000 passing yards in a season, becoming the passing yards leader for the 2019 season. This in itself should be a huge advantage on the resume of the quarterback, who was playing for a new contract this season, but that same resume for this year is marred with a new NFL record – Winston is the first quarterback to throw for 30 passing touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a single season. So while head coach Bruce Arians has a lot of positives on the offensive side heading into his first offseason with the Bucs, there are some significant decisions to be made this offseason in regards to the future face of the franchise. 

Jan. 1 not only marked the beginning of the new decade, it was also the day to catch the annual Outback Bowl held at Raymond James Stadium. The bowl game, which has been played in Tampa Bay since 1986, is a staple in the community and receives support from some of the largest local institutions like Pilot Bank and Visit Tampa Bay. The game itself saw the #18 ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers take on the #12 ranked Auburn Tigers in what was an exciting game through all four quarters. While both teams jumped out to strong starts in the first quarter, Minnesota capitalized on the momentum by scoring 14 in the 2nd quarter and ultimately Auburn was never able to make a push to get ahead. With Auburn trailing for the rest of the game, the final score resulted in a 31 to 24 victory for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. 

With the end of the Bucs season and the passing of another Outback Bowl, the Tampa Bay region would normally go into a football lull, but thanks to the introduction of a new XFL team, the Tampa Bay Vipers, there will be no shortage of football to enjoy. Invest: recently spoke with the president of the Tampa Bay Vipers, Josh Bullock, about the process of bringing this team to the region and why Tampa Bay is perfectly suited for another football franchise. “The process of bringing this team to Tampa Bay has been exciting, intense and rewarding. Thankfully, we have great leadership, both in the region and throughout the league, starting with the chairman of the XFL, who gave us the time and resources to build this league the right way,” Bullock stated. “We anticipate playing a fast, fun style of professional football at Raymond James Stadium for Tampa Bay fans. I believe Tampa Bay is perfectly suited for this XFL team because of the great sports fans we have throughout our community. There are many entertainment options available and our community will continue to gravitate to products that are enjoyable, engaging and offered at an affordable price. That is exactly what the XFL is going to provide.”

Football fans won’t have to wait long to start enjoying everything the XFL promises to provide as the first game is slated for Sunday, Feb. 9, against the New York Guardians. The team’s home opener at Raymond James Stadium is scheduled for Saturday, Feb 22, versus the Houston Roughnecks. 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

https://www.xfl.com/en-US/teams/tampa-bay

 

The Best Is Yet to Come in the Bay

The Best Is Yet to Come in the Bay

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read January 2020 2019 is officially in the books and was another monumental year for the Tampa Bay region. All sectors of the local economy were firing on all cylinders this past year, from the always popular tourism market to growing sectors like technology and healthcare. The continuing economic boom was complimented by a slew of memorable events that truly showcased the growth of the Tampa Bay region. As we now turn our focus toward 2020, it can be hard to imagine topping the success of the past year’s events but that is exactly what looks to be in store for residents and visitors in Tampa Bay. This comes as no surprise to leaders in the community like Santiago Corrada, the president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, who told Invest: that, “This region is starting to become everybody’s must-visit destination, which is awesome.”

 

Starting the year off is the historic 2020 Gasparilla Pirate Festival. This annual event has been held in the Tampa Bay region for over 100 years, and has grown into an eight-week extravaganza that is bustling with activities for families and adults alike. It should be noted that the event kicks off on Jan. 25 with the nation’s third-largest parade, and also features memorable events throughout the eight-week run like the Gasparilla Distance Classic on Feb. 22 and 23 in which people can participate in various types of running events. There is also the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts and Gasparilla Music Festival, which is being headlined by national acts like Portugal. The Man. The event concludes with the Gasparilla International Film Festival. 

While all of the festivities that make up Gasparilla Pirate Festival lay the foundation for a great year of events, 2020 is also shaping up to be a historic year for the Tampa Bay region as it prepares to host it’s fifth Super Bowl and it’s first Wrestlemania. Super Bowl LV will mark the third time the event has been held at Raymond James Stadium, with the last one being played there in 2009. While the game itself won’t happen until Feb. 7, 2021, the region is already buzzing with hype and there will no doubt be multiple must-attend events in 2020 leading up to the big game. On the chance that the Buccaneers are able to have a big turnaround season in 2020, their home games will undoubtedly also become can’t-miss events. 

Perhaps the biggest Tampa Bay-based event actually happening in 2020 is Wrestlemania 36, which will also take place at Raymond James Stadium on April 5. Wrestlemania has been ranked by Forbes as the sixth-most valuable sports brand in the world, so the fact it is taking place in Tampa Bay is no small accomplishment. What is expected to be a sellout event at Raymond James Stadium is a testament to just how far the region has come from both an economic and tourism standpoint.   

Also on the list of incredible events happening within the region for 2020 is Florida’s largest annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, which takes place in St. Petersburg and is gearing up for what will most likely be another record-shattering attendance year. St. Pete Pride 2020 takes place this year from June 26-28 and is expected to attract over 250,000 people celebrating the beauty of diversity and inclusion, a true testament to the inclusive environment of the Tampa Bay community. 

2020 promises to be a lot of things for the Tampa Bay region: a year of more growth, more opportunity, more collaboration and definitely more unforgettable events. 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.visittampabay.com/

 

Orlando’s convention center starting 2020 strong

Orlando’s convention center starting 2020 strong

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read December 2019 — The Orange County Convention Center, one of Orlando’s economic engines, is entering 2020 with a robust variety of events and conventions. As the end of 2019 has been a busy one for the OCCC, the beginning of 2020 is starting strong with the convention center looking to host thousands of visitors during its busiest season.  

 

The OCCC brings over 200 events to Orlando each year, with 1.4 million attendees. During the first four months of 2020, the OCCC is hosting some of their biggest events, including:

PGA Merchandise Show 2020 – Jan. 22 – Jan. 24, the event is looking to attract 43,000 attendees. The event gathers PGA and golf industry professionals to showcase the latest trends in golf equipment, technology, apparel and accessories, and more. 

AHR Expo Feb. 3 – 5, OCCC will host the world’s largest HVACR event, which is expected to attract 50,000 manufacturers and industry professionals to the region. The event showcases the latest technology, trends and applications on HVACR technology. 

HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition 2020 – From March 9 – 12, this even is expected to attract nearly 43,000 attendees to Orlando. The health information and technology event connects health information and technology professionals from around the world to discuss education, innovation and collaboration around health and wellness. 

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2020 Annual Meeting – From March 25 – 27, the meeting is expected to gather 30,000 orthopaedic and health professionals. The meeting provides educational opportunities, exhibits and tools and tips.

MegaCon Orlando – From April 16 – 20, the comics, sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming event is looking to attract over 75,000 attendees. The event will feature professional comic artists sketch duels, “How To” workshops and over 400,000 square feet of shopping space.

To expand its capabilities and reach, the OCCC is undergoing a $605 million upgrade for two master plan projects that will bring the OCCC total exhibit space to 2.3 million square feet. The expansion project will add an additional 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, 60,000 square feet of meeting space and an 80,000-square-foot ballroom. The project is expected to be completed in 2023. As the second-largest convention facility in the nation, the OCCC provides approximately $3 billion in economic impact annually. 

 

To learn more, visit:

Orange County Convention Center: www.occc.net

PGA Merchandise Show 2020: www.pgashow.com

AHR Expo: www.ahrexpo.com

HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition 2020: www.himssconference.org

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2020 Annual Meeting: www.aaos.org/annualmeeting/ 

MegaCon Orlando: www.megaconorlando.com

South Florida’s Top Five Events for the Holiday Season

South Florida’s Top Five Events for the Holiday Season

By: Sara Warden

 

2 min read December 2019 — South Floridians may not expect a white Christmas, but there are still a plethora of entertainment options to get the kids into the holiday spirit. From Enchanted Forests to visits from Santa, there is plenty for all ages going on across the Miami, Palm Beach and Greater Fort Lauderdale areas. Capital Analytics counts down the top events in the run up to the big day!

1. Christmas with the Chimps at Lion Country Safari

If you’re an animal lover, this is the place to be on Thursday, Dec. 19. For one day only, starting at 10.30am, guests at the Lion Country Safari park in Palm Beach will be able to leave their cars and watch as the chimps open Santa’s gifts. Entry is $39 for adults and $30 for children, and under twos go free!

Find out more here

2. Winterland at Pinto’s Farm

Located at 14890 SW 216 St, this farm park promises a huge range of activities, including holiday treats, face painting, a petting zoo, pony rides, hay rides and paddle boats. Why not venture into the enchanting illuminated forest and meet Santa Claus, Nix the Snowman and Sprinkle the Gingerbread cookie.

Find out more here.

3. “A Christmas Story: The Musical” at Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Brought to you from the songwriting team behind Tony-award-winning Dear Evan Hansen and La La Land, this show promises to be a festive treat for the ears. The show is based on the 1983 movie A Christmas Story, following protagonist Ralphie’s pursuit of his dream Christmas gift. Showings continue throughout the festive season and tickets are priced at $49-65, with discounts available for teachers and students.

Find out more here.

4. Santa’s Enchanted Forest at Tropical Park

With over 100 rides, shows and attractions, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is sure to spread the Christmas cheer. Running from the end of October until Jan. 5, the fun takes place at 7900 SW 40th Street and promises 3 million lights and a 92-inch Christmas tree, all within an amusement park. Tickets start at $28.60 for children and seniors.

Find out more here.

5. Brightline for The Polar Express train rides

Across selected dates from mid-November until Dec. 29, families can take the one-hour Polar Express train on the brand new Brightline route. Singing, dancing, cookies and hot chocolate are guaranteed to keep both the kids and adults happy before Santa climbs on board to hand out some Christmas gifts to the girls and boys on the nice list. Prices start from $55 for an adult and $50 for a child.

Find out more here