A convention estimated to inject $3 million into the Tri-City economy returned to Kennewick after a three-year pandemic hiatus.
The three-day Jehovah’s Witnesses annual convention was July 7-9 at the Toyota Center, 7000 W. Grandridge Blvd. The Spanish language convention runs July 14-16.
Seventeen other conventions are scheduled across the state. Spokane hosted one over Memorial Day weekend. Puyallup, which has a large assembly hall, offers 14 conventions.
Worldwide, about 6,000 conventions will be held as part of the 2023 convention series, including more than 700 in the United States.
Between the two Tri-City convention sessions, Witnesses “will use thousands of hotel nights,” said Erik Larson, regional spokesman. “We are targeting attendance north of 8,000.”
“It’s not a stretch to say we inject, conservatively, north of $3 million into the economy,” he said.
In years past, the Witnesses have held four to five conventions in the Tri-Cities.
“I think there is interest on our part to potentially hold more conventions in the Tri-Cities in the near future,” Larson said.
“We, as an organization, have always appreciated and valued the partnership with the Tri-Cities. They’ve been very welcoming. It’s a good relationship. They are accommodating of us,” he said.
This year’s annual conference focuses on the theme of patience.
The program is designed with the modern way of learning in mind, Larson said. It offers shorter talk segments and videos keyed toward a variety of topics, from creation to how families can improve relationships.
Anyone can attend the conventions. Attendance and parking are free. No collection plates are passed.
Larson said Witnesses enjoy welcoming everyone and there’s no pressure, calling it a friendly, healthy environment full of a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and cultures.
“Our conventions are designed to show how the practical application of Bible principles in our daily lives can improve our quality of life, our joy, our happiness,” he said.
“They’re designed to educate, encourage, fortify. At the same time, organizationally it’s where we’re at our best,” he said.
From the moment people arrive, they’re greeted with a smile by parking attendants and then door attendants, Larson said. He said conventions are energetic and have a nice buzz.
Go to JW.org and navigate to the “About Us” tab, then click on “conventions” to learn more.
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