By the minneapolis egotist / /
What do most people think of when they hear “Minnesota”?
Well, according to this mostly accurate guide (everyone knows the home of the Juicy Lucy is The 5-8 Club, not Matt’s Bar—sheesh) from Movato, the answers include:
- Cold weather. (Yes, but only for seven months out of the year. Okay, sometimes eight).
- “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” (Per our license plates, yes, but actually it’s closer to 12,000.)
- The Mall of America
- “Minnesota Nice”
- Mosquitoes (They breed in water, we have 12,000 lakes…you get the picture.)
- The movie “Fargo”
But Minnesota is increasingly being recognized for something more: events.
A Busy Event Calendar
First off, the state has recently hosted several famous ones, including the 2018 Super Bowl, the 2017 American Choir Directors Conference, and the 2016 Ryder Cup. The NCAA Final Four will come to Minneapolis in 2019.
On an annual basis, Minnesota hosts the country’s largest state fair. Cities across the state hold summer festivals, from the Askov Rutabaga Festival to the Zumbrota Covered Bridge Music & Arts Festival.
An Expanding Event Ecosystem
The state’s affinity for conferences, trade shows, forums, festivals, meetings, and events of all types has spawned an active and expanding ecosystem of event-related vendors. Interestingly, their offerings are more complementary than competitive, addressing different needs and market segments. Among the noteworthy providers are:
SocialPoint produces trade show booth games (trivia, digital fishbowl, virtual prize wheel), social media walls, and audience response (for conducting live polls, interactive Q&A sessions, voting, and surveys) applications that promote user-generated content, increase attendee engagement, and provide detailed audience interaction analytics.
From finding and implementing the latest event-related technology to managing the audiovisual RFP process, content creation and distribution, and management of on-site audiovisual crews, Brandt Krueger, owner of Event Technology Consulting, provides production support and expert consulting to help event planners and organizers optimize their use of event technology.
G2Planet offers three data-driven event management software platforms for enterprise corporate event planners: EventMAX for managing all aspects of large customer or sales conferences (like Citrix Synergy or McAfee’s MPOWER Cybersecurity Summit); EventCENTRAL for managing a busy schedule or portfolio of events; and EventAUTO specifically for the automotive industry.
Skyline Exhibits is one of the world’s largest makers of pop-up portable trade show booth displays, from small 10×10 booths to large, custom modular displays and island exhibits. More than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies have done business with Skyline, purchasing or renting displays and exhibits for events from conference room meetings to corporate events to industry trade shows.
Festivities is Minnesota’s premier event rental, decor, and floral provider. For gatherings of almost any size, from weddings to corporate events, the company provides everything from furnishings, tents, and staging, to games, draping, and lighting. Their team also offers design and decor design consulting to help planners create fun, functional, fashionable events.
metroConnections offers conference services, event planning, production services (including stage design, content development, and A/V services), and transportation options. It’s hard to talk about “big events in Minnesota” with mentioning this company, which staged many of the happenings surrounding the 2018 Super Bowl as well as the 1991 World Series, 1992 Super Bowl, 1992 & 2001 NCAA Final Four and regional tournaments, the US Open, and the 2014 All-Star Game.
Freeman is the world’s leading brand experience company, assisting midsize to large organizations with a broad range of event technology, logistics, strategy, digital marketing and signage, and creative services at conferences and exhibitions. The company maintains offices in major cities around the globe, including St. Paul, Minnesota.
One10 leverages the latest technology, proven event management tools, and partners in travel, hospitality, and production to craft memorable experiences at events from small strategy retreats to large customer conferences. The company counts among its clientele three of the 10 largest Fortune 500 firms, the six largest global automakers, plus firms in retail, tech, finance, pharmaceuticals, ag, entertainment, and transportation.
Cenaiko Productions produces several of the largest consumer expositions in the upper Midwest, across Minnesota and the Dakotas, including Sportsmen’s Shows in St. Paul and St. Cloud, and the Minnesota Home & Patio Show. The company is one of the largest exposition producers in the region and has been family-owned since it’s founding more than 50 years ago.
Get Social Events helps companies and organizations create events designed to increase brand awareness, build a community, recruit new talent, or promote other business objectives. In addition to organizing monthly social media breakfasts and the annual Minnesota Blogger Conference, GSE helps clients of all sizes plan and produce conferences, corporate events, training workshops, and webinars.
A Thriving Corporate Community
Finally, Minnesota is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies. It ranks 10th in total number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the state, and third in terms of Fortune 500 firms per capita. Several of these firms host large annual customer events, as do thousands of midsized and smaller companies in the state.
Among the larger annual corporate gatherings hosted by Minnesota firms are the:
- US Bank Annual Client Conference
- Deluxe Exchange
- 3M Client Experience Summit
- Mayo Clinic Transform Conference
- CHS Annual Meeting
- Thomson Reuters SYNERGY
With a hub airport for Delta, the Twin Cities are easy to get to, and almost all of the state’s larger population centers are within a two-hour drive of the metro area.
While the state’s climate may not make it everyone’s idea of an ideal event destination (at least during the winter months), its amenities and other qualities do. And an expanding ecosystem of event-related vendors is meeting the needs of event planners well beyond the Upper Midwest.