Arizona’s Top Drawer Bureau for Visitors

Arizona’s Top Drawer Bureau for Visitors is in Glendale
By Mary L Holden
2016 Best Of

Glendale Convention & Visitors Bureau
5800 W. Glenn Drive, Suite 140
Glendale, AZ 85301

Westgate_2For 15 years Lorraine Pino has built a career by rolling out a red carpet for people. She has managed Glendale’s tourism program since 2000 and was instrumental in the formation of the Glendale Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) in 2010. That means she’s been promoting all the best that the West Valley has to offer as a year-round destination for new and repeat tourists and business travelers.

As a 43 year resident of Glendale, Pino knows no boundaries when it comes to this part of the Valley of the Sun. “The Glendale CVB is the only convention and visitors bureau in the West Valley, and we proudly represent all 14 cities in the region,” she says.

Fourteen cities and towns? If the heart of a home is the kitchen, then the city of Glendale is at the heart of this region of so many urban settlements.

What are the 14 cities in this region? Avondale, Buckeye, , El Mirage, Glendale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Laveen, Peoria, Sun City, Sun City West, Surprise, Tolleson, Wickenburg and Youngtown.

In 1997, when the city of Glendale developed its first tourism program to promote the resurgence of its Historic Downtown area, the downtown became a premier travel destination. Now it’s known for several annual events: Glendale Glitters; Glendale Glitter & Glow, a hot air balloon festival in January; Glendale Chocolate Affaire in February and a Summer Band Concert Series that proves good music and does a good job to cancel the high temperatures at that time of year.

For those whose interest in history leans toward the area’s social and economic history, Glendale offers tours of two gems, Historic Sahuaro Ranch and Manistee Ranch. Those are places where visitors can see what Glendale was like through farming and ranching.

The other communities around Glendale also offer special events throughout the year. For example, the first week in December, the town of Surprise celebrates its birthday with an event known as Surprise Party. In the spring, Tolleson offers a carnival known as the Whoopee Daze Festival. Each spring, Avondale celebrates the Week of the Young Child, an international festival and parade known as “A Tale of Two Cities,” and the Mayor’s Golf Challenge will enter it’s 19th year in 2016. Goodyear Skate Park offers a Skate Fest in the spring, a popular event for skateboarders of all ages. In Wickenburg, an annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering has been going on for 27 years.

Pino says, “The landscape of tourism in the West Valley changed with the building of sports stadiums and arenas.” The new focus on sports tourism has further increased tourism opportunities and established the West Valley as one of the most welcoming locales in all of Arizona.

Professional football games are hosted in Glendale by the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. During the winter months, the Arizona Coyotes hockey players can be seen at Gila River Arena.

Spring training is a big draw for tourists and this area’s five stadium complexes offer venues to the 15 professional baseball teams who warm up in Arizona for summer seasons in their named cities.

The Glendale Convention & Visitors Bureau is an agency of city government. It partners with several nonprofit organizations, including the Military Family Support Group, AZ Safe Baby Haven, United Way, Relay for Life, Coyotes Charities, Sun Valley Animal Shelter, AZ Search Dogs and its own Fire Department’s Trauma Teddy Program.
Visitors from all over the world have been welcomed in Glendale. And for the years to come, Pino will keep the red carpet fresh, the smiles bright and the welcome as wide as the West Valley sky.