San Antonio is one of the hottest vacation destinations in the United States, and it's the host city for this year's Athletic Business Conference and Expo, Dec. 4-6 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/ known for The Alamo and the River Walk, San Antonio also boasts such attractions as Sea World San Antonio, the San Antonio Zoo and Rivercenter Mall, a shopping center attached to the conference headquarters hotel.

The theme of this year's Athletic Business show is Take It to the Next Level, and conference organizers have surely done that by bringing in two famous athletes to serve as keynote speakers. Former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith, the National Football League's all-time leading rusher and now an analyst with ESPN, will give the keynote address from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5.

Later that night, legendary swimmer Mark Spitz will be the guest speaker at the Facility of Merit awards reception, which begins at 5 p.m. Spitz previously held the record for the most gold medals in one Olympics when he earned seven golds at the 1972 Summer Games in Munich. Of course, swimmer Michael Phelps eclipsed Spitz this year with eight gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

The opening keynote speaker is author Amanda Gore, who will give her address from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4. Following her address is the grand opening of the trade show. Trade show floor hours are from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday. Early-morning workouts will take place on the show floor from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Friday and from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday.

After the first day of the trade show, the welcome reception will be held from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday at the Historic Sunset Station at St. Paul Square, the original home of the Southern Pacific Railway. Hors d'oeuvres and refreshments will be available, and attendees will be entertained by live music from San Antonio's own Chris Story and the Southern Edge Band.

In conjunction with the Athletic Business Conference and Expo, the International Council on Active Aging, the Medical Fitness Association and the National Alliance for Youth Sports conferences are taking place at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Visit the Athletic Business Conference and Expo Web site for more information or for registration and exhibitor information.

2008 Athletic Business Conference and Expo Schedule of Events

Dec. 4-6, San Antonio, TX, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

Tuesday, Dec. 2
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Registration
Wednesday, Dec. 3
7 a.m. - 5 p.m. Registration
7:15 a.m. - 2:15 p.m. Seventh Annual Athletic Business Golf Classic - The Quarry Golf Club
7:30 a.m. - noon Pre-conference tour: University of Texas-San Antonio and Trinity University
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Pre-conference workshop: A.R.M. (Aquatic Risk Management) for Pools
8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Pre-conference workshop: It's Your Space, Too! - Building Customer Loyalty with Social Media - Jodi Rudick
8:30 a.m. - noon Pre-conference workshop: Essential Ingredients to Creating a Comprehensive Sponsorship Campaign - Chris Moler
1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Pre-conference tour: Palo Alto Natatorium and Dub Farris Athletic Complex
1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Pre-conference workshop: Leadership Strategies: Things You Must Know to Survive - Ruby Newell-Legner
1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Pre-conference workshop: Customer Service Boot Camp - Creative, Hands-on Techniques to Teach Staff How to “Wow” Each Customer - Gregg Catalano
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Pre-conference workshop: Designing Your Dream Facility: Survival of the Fittest - Chris Chivetta and Erik Kocher
1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. Pre-conference workshop: Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Public Speaking - Juliene Hefter, Shawn DeRosa and Jim Wheeler
Thursday, Dec. 4
6:45 a.m. - 5 p.m. Registration
8 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Educational seminars
11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Lunch break
12:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. Educational seminars
2 p.m. - 3 p.m. Keynote Address: Amanda Gore
3 p.m. - 7 p.m. Trade Show Grand Opening
8 p.m. - 11 p.m. Welcome Reception: Historic Sunset Station at St. Paul Square
Friday, Dec. 5
6:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Early-morning workouts
8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Educational seminars
Noon - 1 p.m. Keynote Address: Emmitt Smith
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Trade Show
3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. Educational seminars
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Facility of Merit Awards Reception with Mark Spitz
Saturday, Dec. 6
7:45 a.m. - noon Registration
8 a.m. - 11 a.m. Trade show and early-morning workouts
10 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Educational seminars