Florence’s SEOPA Conference Showcases Region’s Natural and Cultural Assets
South Carolina’s amazing natural geography and wildlife sets the backdrop for the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA) annual conference being held in Florence Oct. 3-6.
Local organizers are very excited Florence has the opportunity to host the prestigious event, with SEOPA activities and workshops taking place at the Florence Center, Downtown Florence and at other local sites.
Holly Beaumier, executive director of the Florence Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB), said the CVB and other hosts are ready to accommodate and entertain SEOPA attendees.
“This conference serves as a platform to showcase just about everything the area has to offer, including its eclectic outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, hiking and paddling, but also the expansion of the Florence Center and our Historic Downtown,” said Beaumier.
SEOPA has been helping communicators and allied industry representatives get the word out about the great outdoors since 1964. Its annual conference is designed to bring members together to learn and to enjoy networking opportunities in a fun, productive atmosphere at a minimal cost.
For example, the CVB team will join forces with South Carolina Parks Recreation and Tourism and Downtown Florence restaurateurs to entertain conference attendees and show off the city during an exciting progressive dinner.
More than 150 people are registered for this year’s conference, including nearly a dozen speakers who will present sessions on a wide variety of topics pertinent to the business of outdoors communications. Keynote speaker is Col. Gregory D. Gadson, USA (retired), a Chesapeake, Va., native who will share words of inspiration and motivation based on his own experiences rising above adversity.
The SEOPA conference is also taking full advantage of the many varied great outdoors opportunities the region and South Carolina has to offer. Tours will include a quail hunt at Moree’s Sportsman’s Preserve in Society Hill followed by an exploration of nature’s beauty at Cheraw State Park, as well as a shooting day at the Florence County Sheriff’s office. Additionally, there are plenty of optional pre-conference trips:
- Fly fishing on the Chattooga River (which will include excursions to the famous Steak House in Walhalla and the Jocassee Valley Brewing Company)
- Fishing with the Cajun Guide Service on the Santee Cooper Lakes System.
- A hog hunt in Florence followed by a tour of Marsh Tacky Outdoors, a beautiful farm that provides an up-close look at Marsh Tacky horses.
- A pace car ride around Darlington Raceway, followed by a NASCAR history lesson at the Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum. Excursions will include Raceway Grill, Kalmia Gardens, the historic home of Thomas E. Hart, and the scenic Black Creek for a paddle.
- The South Carolina Revolutionary Rivers Trail will provide a unique paddling experience through swampland once traversed by patriots engaged in guerrilla warfare. Provided by South Carolina Revolutionary Rivers, people guided down Lynches Scenic River will enjoy the stories of Revolutionary War Hero General Francis Marion. Excursions will include Baker’s Sweets Bistro & Bakery, downtown Lake City, Moore Farms Botanical Gardens, Piggyback’s BBQ and Inn at the Crossroads.
- In Marion, the American division of the largest sailboat builder in the world, Beneteau, will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the building process, followed by a trip to The Grove, South Carolina’s only living history inn.
- At Congaree National Park there will be a ranger-guided paddle of Cedar Creek. Excursions will include Hotel Trundle, the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden and Bone-In Artisan Barbeque.
- Others will spend the day fishing at Lake Murray with one of the region’s top local guides. Excursions will include Bistro on the Boulevard and Hyatt Place Columbia.
For more information about or the conference or joining SEOPA, please click here.