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Overlapping downtown events give hotels a boost

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The annual Fire Department Instructors Conference is one of the largest conventions hosted by the city of Indianapolis and typically provides a sizable boost for downtown hoteliers.

But during this year's event, hotel rooms in the city will be even scarcer, and pricier, than usual, particularly toward the end of the week. That’s because FDIC overlaps with another large downtown event, the Race for the Cure, on Saturday.

“This one happens to clip Race for a Cure by a day,” said Chris Gahl, spokesman for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. “There is that overlap, so hotel rates downtown will be prime.”

Billed as the world’s largest firefighter training conference and trade show, FDIC has hosted its annual convention in Indianapolis since 1995. This year’s event runs Monday through Saturday and is expected to draw nearly 30,000 firefighters from across the country, generating an economic impact of $28 million.

Race for the Cure, the annual downtown event benefiting the Indianapolis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is expected to draw 15,000 to 20,000 participants for the 5-kilometer race and 1-mile family walk.

Komen participants who managed to book rooms for Friday night, combined with the already strong demand from FDIC, are helping to push prices for any remaining rooms above $300 a night, according to hoteliers.

The 573-room Westin Indianapolis on South Capital Avenue has been sold out for weeks, said its general manager, Dale McCarty.

“It sells out every year,” he said. But between [FDIC and Race for the Cure], the demand is incredibly strong.”

The same goes for the nearby Indianapolis Marriott Downtown on West Maryland Street, which has 622 rooms. They’re booked the next six days, General Manager Phil Ray said.

“There are just very few rooms available downtown, so you’re seeing a push out into the suburbs and to the airport,” Ray said.

Race for the Cure participants wanting to arrive downtown the night before might have better luck if they book two nights and stay until Sunday, because they may be able to get a cheaper rate by adding the additional night, Ray said.

“But if you’re coming in for that one night,” he said, “you’re going to pay a premium.”

Race for the Cure events will be held on Saturday at Military Park, with the 5K run starting at 9 a.m. and the one-mile walk following 45 minutes later.

FDIC exhibitors, meanwhile, will command all of the 745,000 square feet of combined space inside the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium, where the newest firetrucks and emergency response vehicles will be on display.

“It’s a very visual convention,” Gahl said. “Along with National FFA and Gen Con, it’s probably the most visible convention the city hosts.”

The yearly FDIC party hosted by Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Local 416 will be held on a portion of Georgia Street Friday evening instead of its typical site, the firefighters’ union hall on Massachusetts Avenue. The party usually is attended by more than 20,000 firefighters.

Wayne Smith, president of the union, said it chose the location because of the “newness” of the thoroughfare. The union usually puts up tents near its hall to accommodate the flood of visitors, but won’t be doing that this year on Georgia Street.

“It’s all about the weather for us,” he said.

The FDIC convention wraps up at noon on Saturday.
 

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  1. Hiking blocks to an office after fighting traffic is not logical. Having office buildings around the loop, 465 and in cities in surrounding counties is logical. In other words, counties around Indianapolis need office buildings like Keystone, Meridian, Michigan Road/College Park and then no need to go downtown. Financial, legal, professional businesses don't need the downtown when Carmel, Fishers, North Indy are building their own central office buildings close to the professionals. The more Hamilton, Boone county attract professionals, the less downtown is relevant. Highrises have no meaning if they don't have adequate parking for professionals and clients. Great for show, but not exactly downtown Chicago, no lakefront, no river to speak of, and no view from highrises of lake Michigan and the magnificent mile. Indianapolis has no view.

  2. "The car count, THE SERIES, THE RACING, THE RATINGS, THE ATTENDANCE< AND THE MANAGEMENT, EVERY season is sub-par." ______________ You're welcome!

  3. that it actually looked a lot like Sato v Franchitti @Houston. And judging from Dario's marble mouthed presentation providing "color", I'd say that he still suffers from his Dallara inflicted head injury._______Considering that the Formula E cars weren't going that quickly at that exact moment, that was impressive air time. But I guess we shouldn't be surprised, as Dallara is the only car builder that needs an FAA certification for their cars. But flying Dallaras aren't new. Just ask Dan Wheldon.

  4. Does anyone know how and where I can get involved and included?

  5. While the data supporting the success of educating our preschoolers is significant, the method of reaching this age group should be multi-faceted. Getting business involved in support of early childhood education is needed. But the ways for businesses to be involved are not just giving money to programs and services. Corporations and businesses educating their own workforce in the importance of sending a child to kindergarten prepared to learn is an alternative way that needs to be addressed. Helping parents prepare their children for school and be involved is a proven method for success. However, many parents are not sure how to help their children. The public is often led to think that preschool education happens only in schools, daycare, or learning centers but parents and other family members along with pediatricians, librarians, museums, etc. are valuable resources in educating our youngsters. When parents are informed through work lunch hour workshops in educating a young child, website exposure to exceptional teaching ideas that illustrate how to encourage learning for fun, media input, and directed community focus on early childhood that is when a difference will be seen. As a society we all need to look outside the normal paths of educating and reaching preschoolers. It is when methods of involving the most important adult in a child's life - a parent, that real success in educating our future workers will occur. The website www.ifnotyouwho.org is free and illustrates activities that are research-based, easy to follow and fun! Businesses should be encouraging their workers to tackle this issue and this website makes it easy for parents to be involved. The focus of preschool education should be to inspire all the adults in a preschooler's life to be aware of what they can do to prepare a child for their future life. Fortunately we now know best practices to prepare a child for a successful start to school. Is the business community ready to be involved in educating preschoolers when it becomes more than a donation but a challenge to their own workers?

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