20 Things To Know Before Attending PCMA 2010 In Dallas

Are you attending PCMA’s 54th Annual Meeting: Convening Leaders, January 10-13, 2010 in Dallas, TX?   

If yes, welcome to my hometown. Here are 20 things you should know before arriving in the “Big D.” (If you’re not attending, you still need to know these things for your next Dallas adventure.)   

1. Longhorns and steer don’t roam the downtown streets of Dallas…most of the time.   

Pioneer Plaza Texas cattle drive in downtown Dallas.Only during the Texas’ Stampede, a Texas rodeo or Texas State Fair do you see a real cattle drive through downtown Dallas’ streets.  Visit Pioneer Plaza, outside of Dallas Convention Center, to see a bronze re-creation of a Texas cattle drive. If you want to see a real Longhorn, visit Fuel City, where you can get some of Dallas’ best tacos, fill your SUV Limousine and take pictures of real Texas Longhorns.   

2.  Bring your winter coat, wind breaker and a short sleeve shirt or two.
One of Dallas’ favorite sayings is, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.” In January, you can expect anything from freezing temperatures in the 30s to nice balmy weather in the 70s.  

3. Everything is big in Texas and divine in Dallas.
Yes, it’s true. Big money. Big hair. Big homes. Big trucks. Big boots. Big opinions. Big voices. Big meetings. Big moments. Texas is the biggest state by area in the continental US with 267,000 square miles, more than 18.5 million square feet of meeting space and 330,000 hotel rooms statewide. And don’t forget Dallas’ new 1,000 room Omni Hotel opening in 2012! So bring your big expectations and big attitudes for a “Living Large, Think Big” Dallas event! It will be Dallas-Divine. Don’t forget to visit Dallas CVB’s PCMA site for more insights and info about your trip to the Big D.  

4. Do I need Big Hair to visit Dallas? 

The Dallas-Do: Texas Style Big Helmet Hair.

While it’s not required to visit, you might find your hair enlarging and turning blond during your stay. We’re not sure if it’s in the water, wind or part of the native pollens in the atmosphere. Some scientist call it the Big Bang Theory. From Farrah Fawcett to Governor Ann Richards to the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, Texas Big Hair arrives on the scene before the rest of the woman’s body does. 

5. Can I wear a cowboy hat and boots in Dallas?
Well bless your heart. Of course you can. If you’re going to do it Texas’ style, go for a ten gallon cowboy hat. Round toed Ropers (as compared to those designer pointy toed boots) are preferred, especially if you want to do some Texas Two Steppin’. Add starched, creased Wranglers that are one size too small instead of Levi’s if you want to be an authentic Dallas Cowchick or Cowboy.  

6. What is a Texas Tuxedo? 
Consider starched, creased Wranglers, a Western shirt with pearl snaps, a bolo tie, a large belt buckle, polished cowboy boots, a Stetson hat and a dark tuxedo jacket. All eyes will be on Gary Schirmacher, Dave Dubois and Brad Kent at PCMA’s blacktie CIC Hall of Leaders Gala to see if they will be wearing Texas Tuxedos.  

7. Do all Texans carry guns?
Who knows. They’re concealed.  

8. Isn’t Dallas very conservative?
Well, yes and no. While it is home to former President George W. Bush and Ross Perot, it is also home to Dallas County Latina lesbian Sheriff Lupe Valdez and the nation’s largest LGBT-inclusive church.  That’s two-sides of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank’s freshly minted coin. Bottom line, Dallasites are friendly, welcoming, and hospitable, and you can’t help but fall in love with their Texas charm.  

9. Which is better Dallas Barbeque or Tex-Mex?
That’s like asking a parent which child they love more. They are all equally important and loved. Whether Sonny Bryan’s or Smoke’s Barbecue, Casa Blanca Sabor or Monica’s Aca Y Alla Mexican Tex-Mex, you must try both before you leave. You’ll understand why most Texans either bleed queso (burnt orange-UT), barbecue sauce (maroon-Tx A&M) or jalapeño red (Tx Tech). 

10. Does Dallas have any cultural affairs or is everything honky-tonk western?  

Honky-Tonk Westerns or Cultural Affairs – your choice in Dallas.

Well, bless your heart. There you go again. From Gilley’s country western to Downtown Dallas Arts District Neighborhood’s 68 acres and 19 blocks of museums, restaurants and performance centers, Dallas offers many unusual venues. 

11. Do Dallasites really eat a lot of fried foods like I saw on Oprah’s visit to the Texas State Fair? 
It’s hard to get much more Texan than Chicken Fried Steak which is a tenderized cube steak coated with seasoned flour, pan fried and covered in white cream gravy. Although the Texas State Fair does provide a map to all the fried food booths. And, let’s not forget the Dallas dyed-and-fried Big Helmet Hairdos!  

12. Does Dallas have tumbleweeds on their freeways? 
Well, aren’t you the most precocious little varmint. No. We deal with the same thing all other highway departments deal with, litter. That’s why our number one motto is “Don’t Mess With Texas.” You will find tumbleweeds in West Texas and the Panhandle though. And some visitors often mistake Dallas Big Hair for tumbleweeds too.  

13. Where can I get a lesson in the Texas Two-Step?  

Let's learn to Two-Step!
Made famous by Urban Cowboy, the Texas Two-Step is alive and well. Visit Cowboy’s Red River or the Roundup Saloon for lessons. Or watch this short Texas Two-Step video.  

14. Do I have to like the Dallas Cowboys to have a conversation with locals?
No, but you’re more likely to have a successful conversation if you like the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars or FC Dallas Soccer. If you’re not a sports fan, just start talking about cooking tips for tailgating and you’ll do fine. For some insiders info: Dallas Cowboys play Philadelphia Eagles on January 9, 7pm CT. Prediction: Cowboys will hand Eagles their third beating of the year.  

15. Is there anything that isn’t made in the shape of Texas? 
Nope!  All products can be improved by making it in the shape of Texas. Seriously, have you ever seen a tortilla chip made in the shape of New York? Just sayin…  

16. Is Dallas’ favorite past time really shopping?  

Shopping, Dallas' favorite past-time, next to Big Hair of course.

Well precious, that’s like asking if cowboys wear boots. You’d better believe it. It’s as prestigious as the hours spent setting, perming, and waving big hair. It’s better than Dallas’ least favorite past time sitting in traffic. Need more shopping info, contact our local experts Casandra Matej and Patti Towell. And take advantage of the Exclusive PCMA event to shop at Neiman Marcus Flagship Store on Sunday, January 10, 1-5 pm

17. Attend PCMA’s Webinar, January 6, 1-2 pm ET
Learn how to use Social Media and Get Connected for PCMA’s 2010 Annual Meeting. #Eventprofs experts Jessica Levin, Michael McCurry and Tony Stubblevine will share how to stay connected before, during and after the event.    

18. Finally, connect with me in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, PCMA’s Crowdvine, Foursquare and Gowalla before you arrive.
If you see me around, please walk up and introduce yourself. Of send me a tweet that you’d like to connect face-to-face.  

19. Connect with Velvet Chainsaw’s Managing Director, Dave Lutz too in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.  

Final thoughts
20. While you’re here in Dallas, do get your “howdy-on.”
Don’t be afraid of everyone’s “Howdy, howdy,” or “How yall doin’?” There’s no ulterior motive…with the exception of wondering how you might look with Big Hair.

What questions do you have about Dallas, Texas? Share them and any tips you may have here.

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  1. Timothy Arnold says:

    Great tips on my native city. One addition to your tip on food, never eat Mexican food or BBQ at any restaurant where the chairs all match.

    Below are some Dallas driving tips, which will assist anyone who might be on the road next week.

    Dallas drivers are not rude so much as they are in a constant hurry
    and agressive, and cannot be bothered by people who do not know how to
    drive here. Overall, we are a very civilized and friendly people, it just does not
    carry over to the roads. Below are some tips to drive in Dallas. We do
    expect you to know them before you come here, so please study.

    1. Turn signals are for suckers. Especially do not use it for changing
    lanes. Doing this will cause the driver in that lane to speed up. Just
    make sure there is enough room in the lane next to you and take the
    2. If you are in the left lane of any road, make sure you are going
    15-20 MPH over the speed limit. There is a reason it is called the
    fast lane. If you want to obey the speed limit (another sign of
    suckers), please do us all a favor and stay in the right lane, or
    better yet, stay home.
    3. When it ices over or snows, or threatens to ice or snow, stay home.
    We do not change our driving habits for the weather, and still go 80
    MPH. This leads to a ton of accidents, clogging up the freeways
    something fierce. Not a pleasant driving experience, so your best bet
    is to not drive that morning. It will all melt by noon anyway, so you
    can go out then.
    4. We do not give a damn how you did something back home. Nothing irks
    a Texan more than being told how you it back in Yankeeville. We know
    you can drive perfectly on the ice, in the rain, etc, we could too if
    we changed our driving habits, but we all know that ain’t happening.
    5. Never, ever, ever make eye contact with a driver, especially if you
    are angry about something that they did. Also included in this tip are
    cautions against hand gestures, name calling out the windows, shaking
    a fist, etc. You probably do not want to know the percentage of
    drivers who are armed, so just assume all of them are and drive away.
    6. If we pay a toll for driving on a road, we will get our moneys
    worth by driving fast on that road. The toll roads (outside of rush
    hour) are our version of Talladaga. The speed limit sign is a joke, so
    just go with the flow, which usually averages in the mid 80’s to low
    90’s, anything below this you will be called a sissy.
    7. We give directions based on local landmarks, stores, and previous
    occupants of a place (“Go by the old Home Depot, turn left at the Wal
    Mart, and then it will be on your right next to the windmill”). Also
    be aware that all highways have at least two or three names. 635 is
    LBJ, 35 is Stemmons, 190 is the Bush tollway, 121 is the Sam Rayburn
    Tollway, etc, so it helps to know both names if you are getting
    8. Chances are good that wherever you are in the metroplex, the
    directions will include a segment on Belt Line. This is not our
    version of Peachtree in Atlanta, but rather one very long circle with
    a million stop lights around Dallas county. At least 40% of our roads
    change names at least one or more times, with no notice. Please try
    and keep up.
    9. For your own safety, do not ever stop at a yellow light. You will
    be rear ended, and rightfully so. Yellow and blue make green, so
    therefore a yellow light equals a green light. You might want to wait
    a few seconds after a light turns green to let the traffic get out of
    the intersection and avoid being killed.
    10. Have fun, and remember the state motto “Don’t Mess with Texas” and
    also the motto of driving in Dallas, “Hold on and Pray”.


    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      Thanks for adding your tips! It had me laughing out loud and sharing with friends. So funny and so true!

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeffhurt: 20 Things To Know Before Attending #PCMA10 In Dallas #eventprofs http://ow.ly/SHgf

  3. Mike McAllen says:

    Howdy Jeff

    Thanks for the help on Texas. Being a vegetarian from San Francisco I anticipated being attacked by rednecks and dragged behind longhorn bulls and forciblely fed fried meat products.

    I am now relieved and excited to know that I should just expect networking with nice people, being educated and informed!

    Being my first PCMA you already have been a great help and I look forward to meeting you in person.

    Your friend


  4. Jenny Conrad says:

    Hi, Jeff!

    Very fun blog post! I’m so looking forward to everything Dallas has to offer, including the warmer weather! Even 30s are sounding warm right now.

    Anyway, just wondering if you have any great suggestions for tex-mex on Monday night? Looks like both your suggestions are closed on Monday evenings.

    Thanks! Jenny

    1. Jeff Hurt says:


      Good news, Casa Blanca Sabor is now open on Monday nights starting at 5 pm. If you do go there, it’s located in the Bishop Arts District in North Oak Cliff a short cab ride from downtown Dallas. Make sure you tell Gina or Henry, the owners, that you’re with PCMA and Jeff sent you. They’ll treat you right.

      Other Tex-Mex restaurants that are open on Monday night are Uncle Julios, located on Lemmon Ave, Iron Cactus downtown on Main Street, Jorge’s Tex-Mex located in One Arts Plaza in Downtown Arts District and La Calle Doce located in North Oak Cliff or Lakewood.

  5. davelutz says:

    PCMA News Alert Thanks for sharing Lenay!

    “PCMA After Hours” place during the 2010 PCMA Convening Leaders Conference! Please direct everyone to Sambuca on McKinney Avenue! Sambuca is doing it up right for PCMA attendees… combining live music and a DJ to create a dance friendly, party atmosphere for all PCMA attendees!

    During the conference you will be asked time after time… “Where can we go out after all the dinners and receptions?” or “Where will everyone be meeting late night?” Please direct everyone to Sambuca on McKinney! Sambuca is going all-out to create a party place on nights they are not typically staffed up for. Last year in New Orleans one club in the French Quarter was filled every night. After all the dinners, receptions and parties… everyone gathered at the same place every night… in Dallas, we want that place to be Sambuca!

    Sambuca is providing $10.00 coupons at the Dallas Booth that can be used to purchase all drinks & appetizers… please invite everyone… meeting planners & suppliers, to come to the Dallas Booth and pick-up a coupon then meet us at Sambuca for fun! All volunteers are invited to join us nightly!

    2120 McKinney Avenue
    Dallas, TX 75201
    (214) 744-0820

    Schedule of Events:

    Saturday, January 9th, 2010
    9pm – 2am Tom Petty Cover Band

    Sunday, January 10th, 2010
    7pm – 10pm Live Band
    10pm – 2am Dance-friendly DJ mixing the classics from 80’s & 90’s!

    ½ Price call & well drinks
    ½ Price wines by the glass
    ½ Price appetizers

    Monday & Tuesday, January 11th & 12th, 2010
    7pm – 10pm Live Band
    10pm – 2am DJ

    Please forward an invitation to anyone & everyone connected with PCMA… we want to create the “buzz” about fun in Dallas!

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