COOKEVILLE - Anywhere from 8,000-10,000 people are expected to be in Cookeville this July for two Jehovah's Witnesses' three-day conventions at the Hooper Eblen Center. This is the first year the conventions will be held in Cookeville. Last year they were held in Huntsville, Ala.
The Jehovah's Witnesses have been meeting in Cookeville at Hyder-Burks Agricultural Pavilion for several years for one and two-day assemblies, however for these larger conventions, consisting of two, three-day weekends in July, the Hooper Eblen Center on Tennessee Tech campus will be used.
The conventions are scheduled for July 6-8 and July 27-29. The total impact on the local economy is expected to be $3-5 million.
Many participating hotels are already receiving bookings or are sold out for those weekends. Some hotels in Crossville also are being used.
"Any time we can assist in bringing in large groups or conventions to our county, it has an impact on our local economy especially hotels, restaurants, gas stations and retail shops," Laura Canada, Cookeville-Putnam County Convention and Visitors Bureau director said. "It just builds our reputation more and more for being a hospitable, affordable destination to bring your meeting or event to. This will be a major impact on our community."
During the convention, the Jehovah’s Witnesses will spend their time in intense Bible study, encouraging talks, singing, and fellowship. Some may extend their stay and use the occasion for vacation time with their families.
"We are excited to bring the convention to Cookeville and welcome delegates to our hometown," Randy Adcock, Jehovah's Witness member and local volunteer said. "We have no doubt everyone will enjoy their stay in Cookeville and want to come back and spend more time here in the future. We also want everyone to know the public is invited to attend."
The Jehovah's Witnesses hope to continue hosting the three-day conventions in Cookeville in years to come.
"It's inspiring to see how the magnitude of this event will not only impact Putnam County, but our surrounding counties," George Halford, president/CEO of the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce said. "With the close proximity of additional rooms in Crossville, it makes us able to compete for larger events in the future."
The Chamber and CVB have been able to assist a wide-range of statewide events including everything from football to motorcycles to bowlers. Cookeville is current host site of the BlueCross Bowl, TSSAA's high school football championships, while the Tennessee Women's State Bowling Tournament was held earlier this year, and the Tennessee State H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) Rally will be held May 29-June 2 bringing with it 2,000 to 3,000 Harley riders.
To inquire how the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber and Convention and Visitors Bureau can assist your event, contact Laura Canada at 931-526-2211.