PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (April 4, 2013) – The Pentecostal Fire Youth Conference, which started 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.
The conference, which has been in Louisville, Ky., for the past four years, has a contract for 2014-2018 in Pigeon Forge’s new events center.
Pentecostal Fire Youth Conferences are two-day events every spring that will use the 232,000-square-foot building 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.
Webb said the first Pentecostal Youth Fire Conference was in his own church in 2003 and had attendance of 250. By its fifth year, it had moved into much larger facilities and attracted 3,500. He said this year’s event in Louisville will attract 6,000.
“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,” Webb said.
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 $45 million LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is on schedule for completion in September.
It is designed to attract 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.
Its first booking is for the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show in November, and its second and third bookings are with the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association, which plans conferences each December and January, starting in December 2013.
“The Pentecostal Fire Youth Conference will bring a great group of people to town who will have a significant economic impact,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, adding that the conference will use the new Pigeon Forge Housing Bureau for its lodging arrangements.
“We’ll be delighted to see its attendees start rolling into town next April,” Downey said.
Tom Adkinson, APR