TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Vigo County Capital Improvement Board and Spectra Experiences held a meeting Thursday afternoon at the Terre Haute Convention Center with the Professional Fire Fighters Union of Indiana to announce the venue will be the site of its conference in 2023.

The four-day conference will bring around 150 fire fighters from across the state to the city, and book approximately 225 hotel rooms in downtown Terre Haute, according to a news release.  

“When planning for our conventions, we pinpoint communities that have lively downtowns with entertainment, restaurants, and activities. As the convention center’s construction continued to progress, our local association members advocated heavily for what Terre Haute had to offer,” Thomas Hanify, President of PFFUI, said. “We are glad to have secured this as our next state-wide conference and know Terre Haute will make a great host.”  

More than 250 visitors could ultimately visit the region during the convention, including families of the fire fighters, the release said. Oftentimes, these families will spend their free time exploring the city and its businesses, board members said.  

“We are truly excited for this milestone,” Tennille Wanner, General Manager of the Convention Center, said. “It’s not just a celebratory win for the Convention Center but a celebratory win for the entire county. These events and conventions give the opportunity for every business to showcase all the great tourism assets we have to offer.”  

The 42,800-square-foot Terre Haute Convention Center was the first project overseen by the Vigo County Capital Improvement Board. The formal seating configuration will allow for 900 people to attend events, while the theater style configuration would hold up to 1,000 individuals.

The Convention Center will host events of varying sizes, according to the release, with 40% of its events anticipated to be local meetings and banquets. Spectra Venue Management was brought on as the Convention Center’s managing agency in 2020.    

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett said the effort to put a convention center in the city started seven years ago and that having this first event agreement in place is an exciting moment for the city.

Mike Odum, President of Terre Haute Fire Fighters Local 758, was involved in proposing Terre Haute as the site for the 2023 conference. He said having the convention center downtown is what made that possible.

“It brings everybody down to our neck of the woods of our state to show them what we deal with, the kind of community that we have, how our fire department has grown and what we’re capable of and we’re very proud of that,” Odum said.

Wanner said that she hopes the community will continue to play a role in bringing events to the convention center.

“What we would love is for other members of our community to think about the events that you attend whether it’s national, regional or just through the state, and how we can bring those events home,” Wanner explained.

The event is set to take place on May 22, 2023, and will last until May 26.