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Going on faith, lone-star edition

The fifth annual Going On Faith Conference will begin in just a few weeks, and this time, it’s Texas-sized.

The conference will take place Aug. 20-22 at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas. Throughout the event, attendees will enjoy the amenities of the large-scale resort, as well as the charming town of Grapevine, which sits between Dallas and Fort Worth.



New at the Going On Faith Conference this year is Xtreme Aging, a seminar designed to help travel industry workers and group leaders understand the needs of their senior travelers.

Xtreme Aging was originally developed by the Macklin Intergenerational Institute, a nonprofit group dedicated to educating members of different generations to recognize each other’s differences and needs. The workshop provides hands-on learning experiences for participants that re-create what many mature customers experience at hotel front desks, in restaurants or on tours.

During the seminar, conference attendees will put on special gloves, glasses and earplugs that simulate the dexterity and senses of older clients. Then they are given a number of simple tasks to perform that help them understand some of the challenges older customers experience when they travel.

Xtreme Aging will be hosted by David Ventresco, who also presents the workshop at Group Leaders of America chapter meetings around the country.


Special gloves and glasses help participants in Xtreme Aging relate to the experiences of older travelers.

Courtesy GLAMER

More than 160 church travel planners will attend this year’s conference, along with about 100 representatives of destinations, attractions, hotels and tour operators from across the country and around the world.  Over the course of the three-day conference, the delegates will trade travel ideas and enjoy social events and educational sessions.

Conference attendees wil enjoy the Texan’s four-star amenities.Courtesy Gaylord Texan

The core of the interaction will take place during two Marketplace sessions, when travel industry delegates will meet with the church group leaders in short preset appointments to discuss new travel opportunities and ideas.

Special tours and social functions will give attendees a taste of Grapevine’s unique blend of Texas flavors. During the first night’s opening dinner, guests will be entertained by some of the stars of the Grapevine Opry, a local live music show featuring performers from around the region. In addition to country music, there will be some gospel and “rockin’ ’50s” tunes on the play list.

The next afternoon, delegates will have an opportunity to explore Grapevine on sightseeing tours that will cover highlights such as the historic downtown, the sightseeing train, botanical gardens and modern shopping areas. That evening, attendees can return to their favorite spots during an open dine-around in the city.

The conference will also feature a number of inspirational and educational sessions for church group leaders. Former professional baseball player and Branson entertainer Mike Radford will make his third appearance at Going On Faith, sharing inspirational stories from his life and career. A second seminar will feature an Xtreme Aging presentation from David Ventresco.

The conference is being hosted by the Gaylord Texan and the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau. Other sponsors are the Globus Family of Brands, Switzerland Tourism, Visit Lubbock, the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Fireside Dinner Theatre, Brazos Valley Travel, China Plus, China National Tourism, the Galveston Isle Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Richmond Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Grapevine Sightseeing Tours


During a free afternoon during the second day of the conference, Going On Faith attendees can get to know the city of Grapevine during sightseeing tours that will include some of the area’s most interesting and popular attractions. Stops will include:

Downtown Grapevine — This charming downtown district features well-maintained historic buildings in a friendly, walkable environment. Guests will find restaurants, cafes, wine shops, boutiques and a variety of public art installations.

Grapevine Vintage Railroad — This railroad that connects Grapevine to nearby cities was once the center of commerce in the town. Today, the railroad is used for sightseeing excursions that run to the stockyards of Fort Worth and back. Guests can see the train station and the historic steam engine, Puffy, which is more than 100 years old.

Nash Farm — Thomas Jefferson Nash purchased this 110-acre farm just outside of downtown Grapevine in 1859. Today, the farm serves as a interpretive site with a number of buildings restored to their 1860s appearance.

Grapevine Botanical Gardens — This 10-acre garden in the middle of the historic district is one of Grapevine’s hidden gems. The garden features dozens of varieties of azaleas, and offers docent-led tours for groups.

Grapevine Mills — This modern shopping area is one of the most popular in Grapevine and boasts 1.6 million square feet of retail space. The 180 stores include a Bass Pro Outdoor World and a variety of interesting restaurants.



The Historic Grapevine Vintage Railroad take visitors on sightseeing excursions.

Courtesy Grapevine CVB