Meet Me in Mesquite
Just outside Dallas, this city is perfect for meetings of all types.
It took one 5,000-attendee fitness exposition to put me off large events for a long time. And exercise. Just kidding—the latter was all me.
Hi, I’m Christopher, and I’m an event planner based in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Where I’m from might have the name recognition, but where I go has what I like.
I’m talking about Mesquite, a suburb of DFW and a mecca for the meetings I put together.
What about Mesquite?
My introduction to Mesquite was surprising—a phone call that began with a cacophony of dog barks, a shouted “pipe down!” and finally, a hello.
Her name was Amber, her dogs’ names were Scrooge and Buster, and her mission: to find a budget-friendly venue for her organization’s annual dog show.
“We’re expecting about 250–500 people—a mix of members and their families,” Amber said. “Oh, and their dogs too, of course.”
Amber explained that this was her organization’s largest fundraising event of the year, and that people from all over the state would be attending.
Convenience was key. No need to make a couple hundred Texans drive more after hours-long journeys with their own Busters and Scrooges.
And, man, Amber was so nice—you could hear in her voice how important this event was. I really wanted to exceed the group’s expectations.
“What about Mesquite?” my coworker, Abigail, said.
I jumped on that research faster than a dog on a bone.
Doing the research
Through some fierce Googling and a couple phone calls, I learned that the Mesquite Convention Center and Exhibit Hall are connected with the Mesquite Arena, and the dog-friendly Hampton Inn and Suites.
When I called, I was told that the Mesquite Convention Center and Exhibit Hall can accommodate large groups, up to 3,000—flashbacks of the fitness expo played in my brain—but they love smaller events.
The convention center is about 21,000 square feet, including The Grand Texan Ballroom, which can expand to approximately 18,000 square feet of unobstructed space (or can be divided into five separate rooms from 2,000 to 6,000 square feet). Also, there are four breakout rooms of 408 square feet each, plus two at 816 square feet. All of that is great for the smaller meetings.
The Exhibit Hall is connected to the convention center, and it has 35,000 square feet that can be divided in half, as well as two big overhead doors, in case a group wants to move in some big stuff. Oh, and parking is free, and the exhibit hall will provide audio/visual equipment upon request.
Plus, there is a full catering staff with an onsite chef and banquet manager. Can’t beat that. If Amber wanted, we could provide breakfast through dessert—plus some dog-tummy-friendly nibbles—for her organization.
And Amber’s budget? It went far here. The Mesquite Convention and Visitors Bureau provides the following FREE for each meeting:
- Help with hotel arrangements.
- Electronic RFP
- Information booth during your event
- Name badges
- Planning help for your special events
- Planning help for custom spouse and youth itineraries
- Registration help
- Site inspections
- Welcome bags with local information
A ring, some barks, a “pipe down!” and a hello later, I was able to say: “Amber, I’ve got some great news.”
Prizes and an introduction
It was judgment day at the Mesquite Convention Center and Exhibit Hall—dogs and owners had strut their fluff and were lining up for clip-on-collar ribbons for categories such as “Best in Show,” “Best Trot” and “Mr. or Mrs. Impartiality,” for the pup who didn’t show full, tail-wagging excitement for the competition.
The day had started with a full breakfast and a recap of the organization’s year, there had been walks through nearby Paschall Park, and photo booth sessions with dogs and owners. I heard a familiar voice come through the speakers, from the , from the microphone on the ceremony stage.
“Ok everybody, pipe down—it’s time to give out prizes.” Amber!
I waited until each award was proudly displayed on collars before I went over to introduce myself. Amber and I were both happy to put faces to names, and she raved about the event.
“Can’t wait to come back next year!” she said. I was proud to host the organization again.
Next time a therapy-horse group, monster truck association, faith-based group, political party, —even a fitness expo!—comes to me, I’ll be suggesting Mesquite.
Submit an RFP for your next meeting in Mesquite.