7 Impact Events at the MCC

All events hosted at the Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) each year are significant and impactful, allowing clients to achieve their goals, build relationships, and add to the overall success of the MCC. But after sifting through thousands of events hosted at the MCC throughout the years, we’ve selected a few that stand out. These events have been especially impactful whether it’s the work they do within their organization, how they’ve left long-lasting effects at the MCC, or how they’ve impacted the City of Minneapolis.

1. PACER, Annual 

What is PACER? PACER is an organization that works to strengthen the quality of life for youth with disabilities and their families. On their website PACER states that “Through more than 30 projects, PACER provides individual assistance, workshops, publications, and other resources to help families make decisions about education and other services for their child or young adult with disabilities. PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center® provides resources designed to benefit all students, including those with disabilities.” 

PACER has been a client of the MCC since our inception in 1990. Each year they host a benefit night at the MCC that supports their programs to help children with disabilities as well as PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. This special night includes guest speakers and an incredible live and silent auction, followed by a performance from a well-known artist. These artists have included The Beach Boys, Bob Newhart, Diana Ross, Earth Wind & Fire, Idina Menzel, Jay Leno, Jennifer Hudson, Lionel Richie, and Sheryl Crow. Each fundraiser event PACER holds has a significant impact to the lives of children and their families, and the MCC is honored to play a role in this.  

2. International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 1998


In 1998, Minneapolis hosted more than 2,000 delegates from 188 nations over a record-breaking length of 60 days for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference. The ITU is a specialized agency within the United Nations focused on information and communication technologies. Held every four years, the 1998 conference was hosted in the United States for the first time in 50 years. The conference generated a $50 million estimated economic impact, booked 10 downtown hotels, and was supported by 3,000 “MN Ambassadors” volunteering as part of the ITU Host Committee. This event is still the longest citywide event Minneapolis has ever hosted.

3. Super Bowl LII, 2018



The Super Bowl is a memorable example of a citywide event where the MCC worked alongside other key Minneapolis venues and arenas to host a major event that took over the city. Such events play an essential role in the economy of Minneapolis by filling hotels, restaurants, stores, public transportation, and everything in between. The 2018 Super Bowl alone generated over 2.344 billion media impressions worldwide, all specific to Minneapolis, attracting future events, visitors, residents, and business to the area. Super Bowl LII is also deemed as one of the MCC’s Coolest Events.

4. American Academy of Neurology (AAN), 1998 

The importance of medical conventions cannot be overstressed. They provide an opportunity for doctors, students, and members to network, learn, share, and enhance their skills. However, as impactful and effective as these conventions are, they can definitely be interesting, and maybe a little frightening to some. This specific convention, AAN, was one of the first large medical conventions hosted at the MCC and put the venue on the map to hosting additional conventions of its kind. Since this was a neurology convention, the event was designed to be working with, you guessed it, cadaver heads. As aggressive as that may sound, these cadavers provide opportunities to perform complex procedures too dangerous to do on living patients and allows for repetitive practice for successful training. 5 Facts About Cadaver Heads.   

During AAN, they had medical labs set up with two microscopes for teams of two to view operations in real time. There were also workshops, speakers, and exhibits for attendees to join as well. These events are still vital to the progression and enhancements of the medical industry. In the years following AAN, the MCC continued to host other medical conventions such as: 

5. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, 2016 



In 2016, the MCC was honored to host His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for his Minnesota visit. This high-profile event required meticulous planning and execution in a very short amount of time. Security for an event like this required not only MCC staff, but also local police and diplomatic security. The event started moving in at 2 a.m., and staff worked throughout the early morning hours to pull off an event that was absolutely stunning with a stage full of floral arrangements and beautiful thangkas. Senior Event Coordinator Justin Carlson recalls Operations Staff Member Ngawang Norbu volunteering to come in early to assist with last-minute changes and modifications to the room set. “He was so helpful and took great pride in all the adjustments that were made,” Justin said. “He was instrumental in making the event successful.” 

An extensive stanchion plan throughout the Ballroom Lobby and Lobby C allowed for the large line of attendees that formed prior to the event to remain organized. “There was a high level of excitement that was balanced with a high level of respect for the occasion,” Justin said. “The event organizers were beyond appreciative of the MCC and all that went into pulling off the event. It was a wonderful celebration and stands as one of the events I’m most proud of being involved in at MCC.”

6. Mission of Mercy, 2018



The 2018 MN Mission of Mercy was hosted by the Minnesota Dental Association and the Minnesota Dental Foundation over two days in 2018. This event brought together over 1,500 volunteers, including dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, dental therapists, translators, and lay volunteers to provide free dental care to 2,000 patients who otherwise had limited to no access to care, including both adults and children. 

7. LCMS National Youth Gathering, 2019

You might remember seeing groups of kids wearing purple backpacks all over Minneapolis during July of 2019 – 27,000 kids to be exact – all gathered in Minneapolis for the four-day Lutheran Church Missouri Synod National Youth Gathering (LCMS). This large citywide event used nearly 70 hotels totaling 46,970 room nights with an estimated economic impact of nearly $53 million. Venues used were not limited to the MCC, they also included: U.S. Bank Stadium and meeting spaces for breakout sessions at the Hilton Minneapolis, Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, Millennium Hotel, Marriot City Center, and The Depot Minneapolis – just to name a few. With their programming running later into the night, Meet Minneapolis was able to work with local skyway restaurants to stay open past normal hours to accommodate late-night eats.

As expected with 27,000 attendees, LCMS utilized the entire MCC, but the space that stood out the most were the exhibit halls. Exhibit Halls B-E were filled with exciting, interactive activities for students to participate in, including zorbs, chalk areas for doodling, a massive game of twister, and endless mini games. One exciting challenge that the MCC team faced was planning for the moment when all the major event spaces would be let out at the same time. Several thousand people would merge into the hallways at once, ready to eat from one of the many concessions stands, purchase coffee from Dunn Brothers, or prepare for their next period. The team was able to successfully execute this by both preparing in advance and observing crowd flow in real time for quick adjustments. Blissful organized chaos is one way to put it – knocking it out of the park is another!  


The MCC and all of the hospitality industry in Minneapolis are continuously put to the test with major events such as these and time and time again we succeed – because we’re doing what we love and with each event we learn, grow, and continue to hone our skills.