Regional tastes were on full display during Connect Marketplace 2023 (hosted by Connect Meetings and BizBash) when event and meeting planners converged on the city of Minneapolis. The three-day event kicked off with a regiception in the foyer (featuring a taco bar and a vodka-lemonade welcome cocktail) as the tradeshow floor opened up.
The next few days were a flurry of activity with education, activations, and meetings. The tradeshow floor bustled with excitment as attendees made stops at booths (the majority of which were CVBs) all the while enjoying regional bites and delights, such as New England clam chowder in the Discover Newport (Rhode Island) booth or 44 North's huckleberry vodka in the Idaho booth. The second and third day of the show also included a hosted lunch (from Visit Milwaukee) that featured myriad food stations serving up delectable choices. Kelber Catering, the exclusive caterer for the Minneapolis Convention Center, provided the food stations.
Here's a look at some of the regional delights that conference attendees enjoyed.
All photos courtesy Amber Kispert
Connect Marketplace welcomed attendees with a "regiception" where in addition to picking up their badge and conference materials, they could also enjoy a few hosted libations including a welcome cocktail (a blue-hued vodka lemonade) and a taco bar (from Kelber Catering) featuring chicken carnitas arepa (pepper jack corncakes with chicken carnitas, pico de gallo, and lettuce), salsa, guacamole, and fresh fruit.
One of the booths on the tradeshow floor had a lovely charcuterie board on display throughout the week where attendees could help themselves to some regional meats and cheeses.
Classic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish.
The BLT Bar: hand-carved smoked bacon, roma tomatoes, arugula, garlic aioli, baguette, and balsamic glaze.
KCI Signature Salad: baby lettuce greens & romaine, herb encrusted grilled chicken breast, roasted potatoes, petite green beans, AmaBlu cheese, and fresh chives topped with a molasses balsamic vinaigrette.
Mac & Cheese with Tennessee Hot Chicken.
KCI Signature Salad: baby lettuce greens & romaine, herb encrusted grilled portabella mushroom, roasted potatoes, petite green beans, AmaBlu cheese, and fresh chives topped with a molasses balsamic vinaigrette.
Cauliflower croquettes (cauliflower cakes) served with roasted cauliflower puree, roasted crimini mushrooms, and cauliflower rice.
The Visit Mississippi booth served slices of tasty cake direct from Sugaree's Bakery in Mississippi.
Power Quinoa Salad (roasted garlic encrusted salmon, cucumber, parsley, red onion, pistachios, and chickpeas topped with feta cheese and lemon dressing).
Asian pork belly (sweet-Thai-Jang pork) skewers with fried rice.
Asian "chickette" skewers with vegan fried rice.
Old Fashioned made with Traverse City Cherry Whiskey.