The Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau is celebrating the grand opening of its new Grand Plaza outdoor space, which coincides with the arrival of the National Association of Music Merchants’ annual trade show. Representatives from the AOCVCB and NAMM will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly completed space Thursday, Jan. 24.
The Grand Plaza is a 100,000-square-foot open-air area on the eastern side of the Center, located on what was W. Convention Way. Flanked by the Hilton Anaheim and the Anaheim Marriott, the palm-lined space forms an avenue approaching the Center. The area is available as an additional venue for events; the AOCVCB offers a space-planning tool on its website for event planners to map out placement of seating, concessions, entertainment and other items.
The NAMM trade show is the first event to take advantage of the newly launched Grand Plaza. The four-day music industry event is marking its 35th year in Anaheim, and is expected to draw more than 95,000 attendees to the Center and surrounding area.
“We are pleased to welcome NAMM back to Anaheim, and are delighted they are the first show to utilize the beautiful Grand Plaza,” said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait. “The NAMM Show and Anaheim are synonymous, and expanding the show outdoors gives their guests added meeting and communal space, and a greater experience in our city. We look forward to welcoming NAMM back to Anaheim for many years to come.”
The Grand Plaza’s design is an homage to Anaheim and Orange County’s agricultural roots, and the environment and scenery of Southern California. Palm trees line both sides of the plaza, which begins at the Mountain Fountain at the eastern end of the space. A bright blue River Walk path, representing the Santa Ana River, accentuates the green floor, featuring 300 lights that twinkle in the evening. The blue river proceeds to the Ocean Fountain, near the approach to the Center. Sixty Valencia orange trees are planted throughout the space, and a light show plays every 30 minutes in the evenings.
“The long-awaited Grand Plaza is a welcome addition to our meeting campus,” said Charles Ahlers, president of the AOCVCB. “This new outdoor environment offers our guests, and meeting and event planners a place to call their own while they are in Anaheim. This space is filled with possibilities and gives Anaheim a distinct edge in the competitive meetings market.”
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