More than a dozen national conventions are scheduled this year in Illinois’ capital city, including ones for collectors of DeLorean cars and fans of matchbook covers.
The Springfield State Journal-Register reported that all but three of the conventions are new to the city,
“We have quite a good list going this year, including several new national conventions,” said Gina Gemberling, executive director of the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Car shows include ones this year for Corvair and Impala collectors. The city will also host conventions for genealogical societies and the International Flying Farmers.
The Illinois Pork Expo will be at Prairie Capital Convention Center in February, returning to Springfield after being in Peoria for decades. Convention center general manager Brian Oaks said he believes a major renovation was a factor in the expo’s return.
“We’ve stayed in touch with them over the course of several years,” Oaks said. “Once we completed the renovation, we invited them over for a tour of the facility.”
The President Abraham Lincoln Hotel also recently finished a renovation the last two years, while Hilton Springfield’s change to Wyndham City Centre is also underway. Gemberling said updates for the properties would help market the city to conventions.
Money for tourism bureaus across Illinois that had been held up in the state budget impasse was included in an appropriations bill signed by governor Bruce Rauner in December.
Gemberling said the Springfield bureau got about US$800,000 last fiscal year, but hasn’t learned how much is included for the current one.