The best reason to meet in Fort Smith? Logistics: none of the Fort Smith event venues are farther than a 15-minute drive from one another; it has a central location on the Arkansas/Oklahoma border; and there more than 2,000 hotel rooms and custom packages for up to 5,000 people. But whatever the reason, groups meeting in Arkansas' second-largest city are guaranteed big-city amenities in a safe, affordable destination.
Groups flying into Fort Smith will arrive at Fort Smith Regional Airport (FSM), which has direct service to Dallas and Memphis through American and Delta airlines.
There are several large-scale Fort Smith conventions venues. The largest convention and event space in Fort Smith is the Phoenix Expo Trade & Event Center. The Phoenix has two exhibit hall spaces that offer over 68,500 square feet combined. It also has three ballrooms ranging in size from 3,813 square feet to 5,605 square feet. The center's event spaces have portable dance floors, stages, LCD projectors, screens and other audio-visual equipment for an additional charge. It also has an on-site caterer with a wide variety of menu options. Also, the newly expanded and renovated Fort Smith Convention Center has 40,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 1,331-seat theater and eight breakout rooms. Popular for corporate events, consumer shows, banquets and fundraisers, the center can accommodate up to 4,800 people theater-style or 231 10-foot-by-10-foot booths.
Hotel venues in Fort Smith include the Holiday Inn City Center (adjacent to the Fort Smith Convention Center), which just completed an $8-million renovation; and Courtyard by Marriott. These offer an additional 11,400 square feet and 2,500 square feet of space, respectively.
Popular special event venues in Fort Smith include the Kay Rodgers Park, home of the Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair, Old Fort Days Rodeo and Old Fort Days Barrel Futurity. The park has several spaces for trade shows, conventions and galas; for example, its Expo Center features 24,000 square feet of space divisible into three facilities and is capable of accommodating 1,500 people theater-style or 110 10-foot-by-10-foot booths. The open-air, covered Harper Stadium can seat 7,000 to 14,000 guests, while the 130-foot-by-210-foot Hardin Arena is a covered space with portable bleacher seating. Kay Rodgers Park also has nine barns available for rent for a total of 345 stalls.
Meeting options in Fort Smith go way beyond the traditional. Plan a company picnic or a casual presentation next to the Arkansas River at the Riverfront Amphitheater (an open-air facility with seating for 1,128 guests). Groups can also meet indoors at the River Park Events Building, which offers riverside views and two meeting rooms. Fort Smith is also brimming with historic attractions, many of which can be rented for events. Former home of William Henry Harrison Clayton, a federal prosecutor in the 1800s, the Clayton House is a restored Victorian mansion that's available for business meetings and receptions of up to 200 people. The "keeper and teller" of Fort Smith's heritage, the Fort Smith Museum of History, is also available for after-hours events.
Photo by Flickr user : doug_wertman