This will be Steel Pen’s second year at the Radisson Star Plaza in Merrillville, Indiana. The venue received rave reviews last year, and it will be even better this year after making two small adjustments to the conference set-up (described below).
So why is the venue perfect? It starts with location, location, location. The complex is located in Merrillville, Indiana, on U.S. 30 just off of I-65, making it easy to reach from all directions.
Then there are the amenities for those who want to spend a little extra time in the area. The Radisson Star Plaza is a full-service hotel with a restaurant, a coffee shop, an indoor swimming pool, and a fitness center. If you are staying Saturday evening, you can buy tickets to see Buddy Guy at the Star Plaza Theater, enjoy the show at the Wisecracker Comedy Club, or listen to live music at T.J. Maloney's, Irish Pub, all without leaving the complex. There are dozens of restaurants nearby, and Chicago is only about an hour away.
The food, the service, and the rooms received high grades from last year’s conference goers. The only complaints about the facility involved the stairs and the location of the book fair. Both of those issues have been resolved for the 2016 conference.
Last year, conference activities were spread out over two floors. Although there is an elevator, some attendees would have preferred having everything on a single level. The book fair was given two rooms to itself in order to provide a dedicated area with plenty of space for exhibitors, but vendors complained that it was too out-of-the-way to attract business. This year everything will be on one floor and the bookfair will be in an open area near the registration desk. Since the Radisson books up quickly, we had to move the conference from October to November to accommodate these needs, but it was worth it. The Conference Committee is confident that we have the perfect set-up for 2016.
Unfortunately, 2016 will be Steel Pen’s last year at the Radisson Star Plaza. The facility is slated for demolition in the spring of 2017 so that the owners can build a more upscale hotel on the site. The Steel Pen Conference Committee will have to find another venue for next year, but you can be part of history by attending one of the last conferences at the landmark hotel that has brought tourism and conferences to Northwest Indiana for almost fifty years.
We hope to see you there.
To learn more and to register for the conference, visit the conference page on the Indiana Writers’ Consortium website at www.inwriters.org/steel-pen-conference. Also check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/steelpenwritersconference/.
The photographs show the Radisson Star Plaza, which is the location for the 2016 Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference.