OXFORD – A down economy means many businesses and trade groups cut back on regional meetings, which means less income for conference venues.
The folks at the Oxford Conference Center, however, are finding their own ways to bring people to the facility.
“We’ve created a number of our own in-house events,” Hayden Hiter, Oxford Conference Center’s sales manager, told the Oxford Tourism Council this week.
One of those events is an “indoor yard sale” scheduled for Oct. 9, the first open Saturday after three straight home football games at the University of Mississippi.
A “Green Expo” trade show is being planned for February.
“We are hoping to have about 40 booths for vendors – anything that has to do with sustainability,” Hiter said. “We’re going to add a home-and-garden side in the National Guard assembly hall, so vendors can bring in plants.”
The expo will include a tour of homes and other buildings around Oxford that feature sustainable-construction elements.
“I think it’ll also turn into an annual event,” Hiter said.
On Nov. 13, Oxford Conference Center will host its Holiday Market, with artists and stores selling Christmas gift items. Food vendors, a gift-wrapping station and a children’s event will be included.
When the Run for Hope is held in Oxford in February to raise funds for Camp Hopewell’s special sessions for kids with diabetes and cancer, race sponsors will hold an awards ceremony and celebration, complete with food and music, at Oxford Conference Center.
“They had over 600 runners last year, and they’re hoping to have at least 1,200 this year,” Hiter said. “We decided to have a mini-trade show with vendors set up here for things the athletics would want to buy. Obviously, a part of it will go to Camp Hopewell.”
Conference Center Director Hollis Green said such events do more than generate revenue for the facility. With most trade shows and the Indoor Yard Sale, he said, “A good 40 to 50 percent of (vendors) are from out of town, as far as Jackson, so they’ll be spending the night with us and eating in our restaurants.”
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal