Courtesy LeConte Center
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. – The Pentecostal Fire Youth Conference, which began in 2003 with attendance of 250 and this year has 6,000 registrants, has committed to five annual meetings at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, a $45 million event center that is on target to open this fall.
The conference has a contract for 2014-2018 in Pigeon Forge. It has been held in Louisville, Ky., for the past several years. This year’s event in Louisville attracted some 6,000.
The Pentecostal conferences are two-day events that will use the 232,000-square-foot LeConte Center for fellowship, worship, musical programs and youth pastor training sessions. The first Pigeon Forge dates are April 4-5, 2014.
“Our youth event has grown very quickly. We are blessed. We’re looking for a nice bump in 2014 during our first year in Pigeon Forge,” said Rev. David Webb, president of Pentecostal Fire Conferences of America, which has offices in Hodgenville, Ky.
“It is a big draw and is important to young people’s lives. Pigeon Forge is a great setting for them, and I believe many will come early to enjoy all that the city and Great Smoky Mountains National Park offer.”
He said this year’s registrants are from 35 states. Most are from the Southeast and Midwest, but there are attendees from as far away as California and Maine.
“We were drawn to Pigeon Forge because the LeConte Center exactly fits our needs. Other big factors are the variety of restaurants and the array of lodging with various prices,” Webb said.
The LeConte Center is designed for trade shows, competitive events, special events, festivals and large assemblies such as the Pentecostal Youth Fire Conference and the National Quartet Convention, which has booked weeklong engagements for 2014 and 2015.
The center’s first booking is the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show in November. Its second and third bookings are with the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association, which plans conferences each December and January.
The youth conference will use the new Pigeon Forge Housing Bureau for its lodging arrangements, according to Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.