By Dan Dickson
Published October 17, 2016
For many delegates, attending the Going on Faith Conference marked their first trip to Ontario, California. Located some 35 miles from Los Angeles, Ontario is a jumping-off point for many destinations and attractions throughout Southern California. Ontario itself has some fun things going on, and meeting attendees got to sample some of them.
Before the opening ceremonies on the first day of the conference, everyone enjoyed an old-fashioned ice cream social in the sun-splashed lobby of the Ontario Convention Center. Guests enjoyed sundaes and sat together at tables to socialize and get to know one another.
That evening, the delegates rode a bus to the LoanMart Field for a baseball game between the hometown Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, an A-level affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Lake Elsinore Storm. Before the game, everyone gathered in the picnic pavilion for a delicious barbecue meal.
The next day, attendees split into groups for sightseeing tours of the area. Some visited an olive factory, and others went to Auto Club Raceway, a NASCAR track near Ontario. Those who dared got to climb into a pace car for a ride around the track.
“I thought it was cool,” said Jacqueline Burtin of Elite Fun Travel in Chicago. “We went 115 miles an hour in the pace car. I’ve never experienced anything like that. When they told us there are normally 40 cars on the track racing 200 miles an hour — I don’t think I’d want to do that.”
“The baseball game was really fun,” said Roger Dudley, who attended as a representative of Ohio Has It!, a statewide tourism marketing cooperative. “The food was great. The ballpark was really an intimate experience. The shopping destination was neat and reminded me of a couple we have back in Ohio. I went to the racetrack, and it was neat to ride in one of the pace cars around the track. I didn’t know a Toyota Camry could go that fast.”
“From what I’ve seen, Ontario seems like a nice, quaint area, considering it is just a few miles from a big city,” said John Seegers of International Palms Resort in Orlando, Florida. “I like the area a lot. It definitely has a desert feel to it. We took a tour of the olive house, and that was interesting. It was cool to see how they can the olives with all the big machinery.”
That evening everyone traveled to Victoria Gardens, a walkable shopping district full of restaurants and stores. Everyone was handed a gift card to be used at any restaurant of their choice in the district.
“We are very excited and grateful to have hosted Going On Faith,” said Arlette Garibay of the Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This is a market we are strong in and [for which we] offer a great destination. We also have great hotel partners that will help any group that wants to visit. Please come back.”