The Emerald Coast County and tourism industry officials recently unveiled the new addition of the Bayview Plaza at the Emerald Coast Convention Center with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception.
The large concrete 30,000-square-feet exhibition and event rental space is fully equipped with electricity and water. The plaza will work as an 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.
"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," said Ed Shroeder, executive director of Emerald Coast Conventions & Visitors Bureau.
The area can also be tented to accommodate adverse weather. "It can accommodate most anything," said Bill Leaman, general manager for Emerald Coast Conventions & Visitors Bureau. "We have a boat show and an RV show scheduled for it already."
The unveiling event showcased various ways visiting convention and group tourism clients, as well as local organizations, can use the new outdoor space for special events. Guests enjoyed food, drinks, live music, in addition to unique displays such as a sand sculpture and a detailed chalk drawing.
The Veterans Park on Okaloosa Island, adjacent to the Emerald Coast Convention Center, was also celebrated at the event as Okaloosa County’s premier 14-acre park. The completed initial phase of the park added boat trailer parking at the nearby Marler Park boat launch and an improved nature walk surrounded by a bird sanctuary, pond and views of Choctawhatchee Bay. The park also has its sights set on further additions and improvements including a handicapped accessible boardwalk along the bay, additional walking trails and a unique veterans memorial.