19,000 visitors are expected to swoop into the Rockford area, starting this weekend. Four major national conventions and events are underway.
Most of them are attending the annual convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses over the next three weekends at the BMO Harris Bank Center. But thousands of trappers also are expected at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds: It’s the 58th annual National Trappers Association convention, congregating in the region for the first time.
Several thousand students and their supporters are expected for a robotics competition at Rock Valley College. And two national baseball tournaments featuring women’s and co-ed teams will draw thousands more.
Andrea Mandala, marketing and communications manager for the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the region can handle the influx of visitors. “We have great hotel partners and host hotels that can accommodate all these people from all over the country and their families,” she said.
The conventions and tournaments are expected to inject $2 million into the local economy. Mandala says the Convention and Visitors Bureau is looking for repeat customers. She says their sales team worked hard throughout the year to get these groups to choose Rockford.
“We’re willing to do what it takes to make things happen,” she said. “These tournaments, conventions, and meetings go off without a hitch, and so we make it the best experience possible in the region so they continue to want to host these events for years to come.”
Mandala suggests visitors to the city check out GoRockford.com to find things to do during their stay.
And for the locals bracing for the crowds? Mandala says to watch for parking directions when you head downtown. “Leave yourself a little extra time,” she advised, “but events are spread out enough so there shouldn’t be a delay.”
- American Amateur Baseball Congress World Series: July 28 - Aug. 9, Mercyhealth Sportscore Two, Loves Park
- Baseball For All tournament: July 27 - 31, Mercyhealth Sportscore One and Beyer Stadium, Rockford
- National Trappers Association 58th Annual Convention: July 27 - 29, Winnebago County Fairgrounds, Pecatonica
- Annual Convention of the Jehovah's Witnesses: July 28 - 30, Aug. 4 - 6, and Aug. 11-13, BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford
- R2OC: July 29, Rock Valley College