Hamilton’s chamber plans ‘party of the decade’ at Spooky Nook

The Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is planning what may be Butler County’s largest bash of the 2020s this spring at the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill indoor sports complex and convention center.

“I’m hoping it’s going to be the event of the decade,” said Dan Bates, the chamber’s president and CEO. “We’re planning something like I don’t think Butler County has ever seen. And since we are the county seat, we’re going to be marketing this countywide and beyond, like northern Cincinnati.”

“This is going to be people’s first opportunity to be inside Spooky Nook as a guest, and really experience what it’s going to be like,” he said.

The gala will have dinner and dancing to orchestral music, jazz and blues, ”and we’re talking about a lot of things,” such as women performing aerial acts above the crowd, he said.

“We’re anticipating that we’re going to have between 800 and 900 guests in attendance,” Bates said. “There will be multiple forms of entertainment, valet parking, very upscale, probably $100 a ticket. And it will be the first time that people get to experience everything the hospitality side of Spooky Nook has to offer.”

“The food’s going to be fantastic, the cocktails off the charts, and there’s going to be guided tours of the sports-complex side of Spooky Nook,” Bates said.

Lisa Disbro, the Hamilton native who is director of hospitality operations at Spooky Nook, said, “The Champion Mill Conference Center and Spooky Nook Sports are thrilled the chamber is going to host this important event with us, and showcase our project to so many guests throughout the region.”

The $165 million facility will include the largest indoor sports complex in the country.

People interested in pre-registering for the event, whose date has not been solidified, can email nancy@hamilton-ohio.com or call 513-454-5116.

“In the planning, we discussed having different activities throughout many areas of the building so that all guests can really see first-hand what we offer throughout all the spaces,” said Disbro, who started working at the Hamiltonian Hotel (not Courtyard by Marriott) in 1991 and has worked across the region in the hospitality industry 28 years.

The facility now is giving tours to potential customers, including those wanting to hold mid-week conferences and meetings, as well as people interested in hosting wedding receptions, class reunions and organizational dinners.

The spring event will be based in Mill 2, the hotel and conference center in the building closest to the Great Miami River. But some activities will take guests to Mill 1, to see the sports facilities that also can serve as exhibition spaces.

“Construction is really coming along at a great pace,” Disbro said, noting the conference-center now has its main staircase to the second floor.

“We framed out all the meeting spaces,” she said. “The guest rooms are really coming along. We’ve already been painting. We have a showroom available that has the actual furniture that all of the guest rooms will have.”

In the fitness area of the sports complex, concrete for the upper cardio deck has been poured. Group fitness classrooms are coming together.

Windows like the original ones decades ago that allowed light into the paper mill are being installed.

The first of the “giant windows” — about 20 feet high — was installed Thursday.

“I really believe there will be a mix of emotions when people come into our buildings the first time,” Disbro said. “On the sports side, it’s really about the scale and the large spaces, and being able to envision sports tournaments that we’re going to be able to host,” attracting 10,000 or more athletes and their families on many weekends.

In the convention-center area, “the nostalgic feelings of Champion Mill, and knowing we’ll have so many guests coming in who either worked at Champion or family members worked at Champion, they’re going to be pleased with all of the elements of the building that have been preserved,” Disbro said.

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Spooky Nook will have a 233-room hotel and a convention/meeting center with 125,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space.

It will have a 8,900-square-foot, two-story Hamilton Ballroom that can host 600 people for banquets.

Another ballroom will be 6,000 square feet and can hold about 400. Above that will be the Butler Ballroom, at 4,000 square feet.

A 3,000-square-foot meeting room called Waterfront Hall will have very tall windows.

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