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May 21, 2009 05:39 AM

MSP: Event Venue & Catering

This is my first big event to plan/sponsor. It's fun, but also a bit nervous-making. I thought this would be a great place to get some well-considered input. (If you know another source of good info, please let me know about that, too!) TIA...

I'm organizing a workshop and researching places to hold it. It'll be an all-day event for about 200 people and need AV facilities, so I doubt restaurants will suffice. In addition to the technical requirements, I'll need to arrange a continental breakfast and buffet lunch.

Top consideration is price; I need to keep it low. So, we can skip the luxe offerings, but neither do I want rock-bottom cheapo blech (that's so subjective, I know!). I'd like to avoid Mpls, as it's my understanding that within city limits there's an additional 3% on top of the already ridiculous taxes and surcharges.

Given my preferences, what do you think is a reasonable per person $ amount (room rental, food, and inclusive of all taxes and fees)?

Do you know of any non-hotel options?

Any personal recommendations, hotel or non? Any hearsay suggestions?

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  1. where do you want to be? the Lake Waconia Event Center just reopened. It's about 20 minutes west of Eden Prairie, right on the lake.

    1. Apologies to snowboardbabe for STILL not making it over there, but Enso, you might consider Kozak's, which sounds like it might be a good fit for you based on this report:

      Good luck!


      1 Reply
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        TDQ-you crack me up....if you happen to be over there, then yes....but it's more supper clubbish food (your standard quality at reasonable prices) (and they have a friday date night special but never taken advantage of it).

        They have the space to accommodate that many but the space might be odd depending on how you want to use your A/V stuff. I know they have a projection screen, microphones, etc. but I want to say that we had to bring in our own projector/computer for a slide show.

      2. Both those look like very nice venues!

        I do think they are too far out, and price-wise I'm seeking "nice" instead of "very nice". It might help to know that this is not a corporate event, but a one-day training workshop for busy, dedicated, and underpaid service professionals. I'm stuck with keeping the registration fee in-line with going rates and won't break even with too high a percentage going towards food.

        Keep the ideas coming! These suggestions gave me the idea to use google maps to search on 'event centers', and I think some churches have meetings spaces that might be in my budget.

        1. The Minnesota Humanities Center has facilities.

          Also, try libraries, museums and community arts centers (like the one in Hopkins). Can usually be had for pretty cheap.

          1. Check out Neighborhood House/Wellstone Center in St. Paul. They have really nice meeting rooms for cheap, and the rental fees go to support a great nonprofit organization. There isn't on-site catering, but you can bring in any food you want. I'm sure they would have good suggestions for affordable catering nearby, since I'm sure most of their clients are nonprofits with limited funds.

            1 Reply
            1. re: midwaygirl

              What a great idea! Plus, the Neighborhood House/Wellstone Center is across the street from El Burrito Mercado, so the catering possibilities are GREAT if you want Mexican food! And, on weekends, the roasted corn stand is usually up and running in El Burrito's parking lot...


              Me, I was going to suggest Black Bear Crossings on Como Lake, but they say that the largest room is for 120 people max, plus parking is an issue, and my husband tells me the rates have gotten really expensive. But it might be worth checking out just in case - the Como Park location is great.