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by Sarah JF Braley | June 13, 2016

Meeting Professionals International's 2016 World Education Congress opened in Atlantic City with fanfare, hosting more than 2,000 people for a beach party Saturday night and wowing the crowd at the opening general session Sunday morning.

The Water Coolers from Concept Artists (left) got things started at the general session with revamped versions of popular songs that had the crowd in stitches, targeting industry types and challenges. The event was hosted by comedian Dena Blizzard and also featured insights from Mike Shea, executive director of South by Southwest.

According to Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of the association, things are going well at MPI, as revenue last year grew for the first time in eight years. The MPI Foundation sent 88 people to the WEC on scholarships, and an ambassador program pairing first-timers with mentors at the show drew 282 participants.

The event continues through Tuesday, taking over the new Waterfront Conference Center at Harrah's Atlantic City. The WEC originally was scheduled to take place in Philadelphia, but had to be moved to make way for preparations for the Democratic National Convention. Atlantic City stepped in and is pulling out all the stops to show the group all the destination has to offer.

Photograph by Orange Photography