Today I headed over to Wilkes Community College. They have two event spaces for the public to utilize, The Walker Center and The Watson Stage. The Watson Stage serves as the center stage for the famous Merle Fest. Merle Fest is considered one of the premier music festivals in the country and attracts thousands of people every year.With that said, they are equipped to handle any social event of any size.
These two spaces are beautiful! Debbie, the Lead Specialist, was delightful to speak to during the tour. They were setting up for a wedding for tomorrow, I was grateful she took time out of her busy day to show me around.
The Walker Center is their indoor option. The ballroom rents for $750 (weekend rate) with the capability to serve up to 260 guests. For a larger wedding or event, this venue is a steal! For a week day (Monday-Thursday) wedding, the price reduces to $500.
The rental fee includes a four hour slot for your event, not including time earlier in the day for set-up, decorating, etc., staff to set up and break down, dressing area for bridal party, tables and chairs.
If you are seeking a rustic, outdoor venue the Watson Stage is the perfect location. Had I known of it's existence, I would have had my wedding there. the rental fee for the stage is based upon number of guests. Week day weddings for this location may receive a $50 discount. The stage is only available May-October.
Up to 100 guests ~ $250 101-200 ~ $500 201-300 ~ $750
All catering is provided by Walker Center Hospitality. The only items that can be purchased elsewhere are cakes and alcohol. For weekend events, there is a $1000 food and beverage minimum. If you do decide to bring in your own alcohol, there is a $3/person fee for beer and wine and $4.50/person for a full bar. There are several delicious catering options. To learn more about options and pricing, click here . If you are interested in the Watson Stage for a reception, keep in mind that buffet or hors d'oeuvres are available.
Much to my surprise, there were not many, if any, restrictions for decorating the venues. The biggest concern was the use of candles. They prefer but do not require you to use battery operated candles. If real candles are used, they require a vase cover the candle, no open flames. The second concern was hanging drapes or other items around the room. The event staff has to be the ones to hang items. Any fabric item to be used must be fireproofed. (which the can take care of for you for a small fee)
I cannot wait to coordinate a wedding at either of these locations. The ballroom is so versatile to fit a variety of styles. The stage boasts rustic charm. Perfect, just perfect!
All photos came directly from The Walker Stage Hospitality website.