In this series of articles, we have delved deep into the ever-shifting landscape of professional trade events’ organisation and hosting only to discover just how fast everything can change. Successful expos with multi-decade history can just as easily be forgotten the next day, fast-growing shows in growing industries can disappear without a trace and cultural mainstays often undergo deep and drastic rebranding as it enters a new cultural time period. The subject of this article is the Genesis Convention Center, which had a peculiar online presence.
Although referred to itself under this name since its erection and foundation as an entity, the name on the website it was hosted on was a lot different – Genesis Arena. This mismatch in the domain name with the actual real name of the centre was the reason why it lost its previous website to the now modern and factual domain name and website design, which in turn achieves through synergy through its presence on the Internet. We also want to give you some context on the history and the role of the convention centre in its state of Indiana.
The Genesis Convention Center serves as a welcome center and a favourite gathering place for Historic Downtown Gary, Northwest Indiana. Another fun fact that has ensured its longevity is its proximity to the Chicago Region. It takes you a 20-minute drive to reach the centre, which ensures a steady flux of out-of-towners when some big event takes place and there usually is. First things first, a little history – the center was planned in the late 70s by Wendell Campbell and was opened in 1981 to much funfair and celebration from local communities.
There’s quite a lot of space, a 24,472-square-foot arena floor and a 49-foot ceiling height, which lend themselves to fantastic sports events. The United States take pride in their sports, which is why the Genesis Convention Center is home to a number of professional basketball games. The centre used to be home to the Gary Steelheads until 2008 and since 2010 has adopted the Gary Splash. The basketball season is a hot ticket on the local event program and season tickets are in demand and also quite affordable. A win-win all around.
Attached to the arena is Indiana Hall, which is used as a theater and ballroom seating up to 1,200 for small concerts, plays, banquets and other special events. At the start of the 21st century, it was at the Genesis Convention Center that the Miss USA pageant took place in 2001 and 2002 – one of the highest honors for any convention centre in the United States, because the pageant has been a cultural institution for almost 70 years. We also can’t ignore the ties to local community as the centre has been a regular fixture during Black History Month with a Gospel Brunch that was held every single Sunday from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. Alongside the great food, there’s also be exciting live gospel performances. How can anyone refuse such an offering?
It’s this pedigree alongside cost-effective venue, modern amenities and first-grade food (the centre boasts to have the best cuisine along Chicago's Southern shore) that appeal to event planners, looking for the right venue to host their shows, exhibitions and festivals.
The Genesis Convention Center has consistently been stepping up its game by increasing capacity and expanding our services to include a wide range of family entertainment, trade shows, corporate meetings and elite community and sporting events. One of these edition is the opening of Plaza One Bar & Bistro that happened in late 2011. The bistro quickly positioned itself as South Shore's premier metropolitan bistro and live entertainment venue that doubled down the culinary claim of the convention centre and certainly added more appeal to event planners to place their expos and shows in this space.
The convention centre maintains its relevance today still and finds itself at the heart of the local religious community not in small part to the regular Washington Street COG Prayer Vigil that runs every single Sunday from 10:30 am.