In the middle of downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Gatlinburg Convention Center is a beehive of activity for faith-based groups traveling to this Smoky Mountain town for meetings. Events inside the convention center could rival many of the attractions right outside the front door: From rousing call-to-worship sessions with contemporary Christian artists to intimate sunrise prayer meetings, this venue plays host to a variety of faith-based events.
For instance, youth-based meetings like Xtreme Conference have held concerts in the nearly 67,000-sq.-ft. Great Hall/Exhibit Hall, which can accommodate approximately 6,000 people in theater-style seating. With its exposed wooden beams and natural stacked stone, the 8,800-sq.-ft. Mills Auditorium with a permanent stage works well for a worship service during events such as the upcoming Timothy Barnabas retreat. Also available is the 17,000-sq.-ft. Tennessee Ballroom, which can be divided into four sections, and a 950-sq.-ft. boardroom.
“For groups requiring space for devotional groups, classrooms, children activities, etc., we offer 18 individual meeting rooms,” says Kathy Evans, convention sales manager for the Gatlinburg CVB. “Parkway Tower is a unique setting offering quiet solitude with a breathtaking view. The tower has been used for prayer meetings, choir rehearsals, receptions, banquets and meetings.”
It’s no wonder that groups like the Jubilee Conferences return year after year. Of course, some groups continue to choose Gatlinburg Convention Center for its people. “The friendly and helpful staff have always been so accommodating,” says Greg Amos, president of Fire & Ice, a Christian youth weekend conference that has met in Gatlinburg for 16 years.
Stock up on afternoon pick-me-ups and watch taffy being pulled at Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen, which has two locations within walking distance of the convention center.