Main photo: Kentucky Exposition Center; where to sleep: SpringHill Suites Louisville Airport
From the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to The Colonel, Louisville, KY, is the birthplace of some of America's greatest indulgences. It's also the home of the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC), which boasts 1.3 million square feet of flexible exhibit space and 300 acres of outdoor function space. The KEC is located about a mile from Louisville International Airport, making it easy for attendees to come and go. Home to the Mid-America Trucking Show and the Kentucky State Fair, the KEC is essentially a blank slate that can accommodate all types of trade shows and events. What's more, the venue is less than 10 minutes from downtown Louisville and its award-winning culinary scene.
WHERE TO SLEEP
There are 2,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the KEC, including a host of budget-friendly options such as the Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Expo Center, Courtyard Louisville Airport, and Springhill Suites Louisville Airport. The KEC has five entry gates, with hotels positioned in close proximity to each of them.
WHAT TO EAT
There are some places to grab a bite near the KEC, but the best bet is to go downtown. A top spot for VIP entertaining and private dining, 610 Magnolia in Old Louisville offers prix fixe four- and six-course tasting menus that change weekly. More casual dining options include Harvest, Feast BBQ, and Mojito Tapas Restaurant.
HOW TO GET THERE
The KEC is next to the Louisville International Airport (SDF), from which Uber can pick up and drop off at the airport's lower level. Rides average $10 for UberX and start at $12 for UberXL. To get downtown from the KEC, take the Transit Authority of River City (www.ridetarc.org) train, though it takes far less time to travel by car. There is plenty of parking at the KEC, with 19,000 spots and a daily rate of $8.
Smart City is the exclusive provider of audiovisual equipment rentals, internet connectivity, telecommunications, and networking services at the KEC.
Levy Restaurants is the KEC's exclusive caterer. Outside food and beverage are not allowed in event spaces.
Exhibitors planning to sell products on the show floor can use complimentary credit-card processors that are provided by the venue.
Hanging signs and displays must be attached to structural steel and cannot be attached to pipes, HVAC ductwork, water lines, etc. Such items will be removed at the exhibitor's expense.
Exhibit items cannot be transported from level to level using passenger elevators or escalators.
Vehicles can be displayed on the show floor, providing their batteries are disconnected and gas tanks locked or taped.
The KEC prohibits tipping of venue staff.
Exhibitry and materials weighing less than 50 pounds and measuring less than 28 inches wide can be transported via two-wheel dollies and through lobby pedestrian doors. All other freight must be loaded/unloaded through the loading docks.