Diamond Jo Casino of Northwood builds an event center

Published 12:05 pm Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Event Center at Diamond Jo Casino is becoming a popular place for banquets, weddings, concerts and business meetings.

Added to the casino in July of 2007, the 5,000-square-foot facility gives people in the area a place to go for entertainment purposes, said event sales manager Renee Benesh.

“There’s nothing really around here for that,” Benesh said. “We saw the demand for it.”

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While people are at their event, they can even go out and play games and watch sports in the actual casino part of the building if they choose to. Then when they’re done, they can go back into their event. Or, if they’d rather not gamble, they can just stay in the Event Center.

There’s even a separate entrance to it if people don’t want to walk through the casino to get to the Event Center, Benesh pointed out.

For concerts, the room seats 530; for banquets or weddings it can hold 375; and for just standing room, up to 1,000 people can fit in it, said Scott Smith, marketing director.

Around the holiday season, many companies have their Christmas parties there, and in the summer there are often weddings.

One of the best things about the facility is that it’s almost brand new, Benesh said.

“In this area, it’s hard to go where it’s new,” she said. “This is new — no matter what the function. Whether you want to have a Marti Gras party or a Hawaiian theme, we can do it.”

The Event Center staff can work to develop any kind of theme that is desired by the group that rents out the facility, Smith said. Staff have done a variety of themes and are open for any ideas.

The center does its own catering and can serve anything from a deli croissant sandwich for lunch or filet mignon for dinner, Benesh said.

While there is a banquet sales folder with food ideas in it, staff are more than willing to make something different if desired, Smith said.

When it comes to concerts, he said the Event Center tries to keep charges to $15 or $25 at a maximum.

“That’s reasonable for two people to go out and enjoy a show and maybe to get a bite to eat,” he said.

There are lots of tribute bands that come to play, and in the summer the concerts can go outdoors with the opening of the huge barn doors of the center.

“This room adds to the total entertainment we have here,” he said.

Benesh and Smith said there’s not a bad seat in the house for concerts, and even the people in the back can see everything perfectly clear.

The concerts bring out a variety of age groups.

“It’s fun to look across the crowd and see such a variety here,” Benesh said. “They’re all singing the songs. We might not know who sang them or what year, but we all know them.”

On average, the center needs to be reserved about a year in advance.

“It’s that secret no one knows about,” Smith