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Facilities Update
The Emerald Coast Unveils 30,000 - sq. ft. Bayview Plaza Outdoor Venue

On June 9, Emerald Coast county and tourism industry officials unveiled the expansive new Bayview Plaza with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception. This spacious outdoor venue addition to the Emerald Coast Convention Center adds 30,000 sq. ft. of exhibition and event rental space to the facility.

The large concrete pad is equipped with electricity and water and will provide additional space for events such as cheerleading and volleyball competitions, trade shows and exhibits, and various flexible event space for boat, automotive and RV shows. Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Ed Schroeder states, "With this addition, we have a variety of events and trade shows and other vendors that can come in here for space they can't find anywhere else in Northwest Florida."

The area also can be tented in the case of rain. "It can accommodate most anything," Emerald Coast Convention Center General Manager Bill Leaman said. "We have a boat show and an RV show scheduled for it already."

The event showcased various ways visiting convention and group tourism clients - as well as local organizations - could activate the new outdoor space for special events. Attendees were treated to food, drinks, live music and other unique activations, including both a sand sculpture and detailed chalk drawing.

The Veterans Park on Okaloosa Island, adjacent to the Emerald Coast Convention Center, was also celebrated as Okaloosa County's premier 14-acre park. The completed initial phase added boat trailer parking at the nearby Marler Park boat launch, as well as an improved, safe nature walk surrounded by a bird sanctuary, pond and views of Choctawhatchee Bay. Future improvements will further enhance the park's natural beauty and add to the outdoor experience with a handicapped accessible boardwalk along the bay, additional walking trails and a unique veterans memorial.

The Emerald Coast Tourist Development Department promotes the destination through marketing and advertising of the beaches of Destin, Ft. Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island. The TDD oversees the operation of the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, Emerald Coast Convention Center, the Emerald Coast Film Commission, the Visitors Welcome Center and conservation efforts aimed at improving and protecting the natural environment of Okaloosa County. Find THEM on Facebook at, Twitter @EmeraldCoastFLA, Pinterest at, Instagram @EmeraldCoastFLA or visit the official tourism site of the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau at
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