SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Sioux Falls might get up to 30,000 visitors for this weekend’s Pheasant Fest, which organizers believe would make it the largest convention ever held in South Dakota.

The 2018 Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic, informally called Pheasant Fest, will take place Friday through Sunday in Sioux Falls, the Argus Leader reported . The annual convention of conservation groups Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever will feature hundreds of exhibitors and be a boon to local businesses. Among the planned events are a parade and seminars on training a dog to hunt.

Organizers are anticipating between 25,000 and 30,000 attendees.

“It’s massive,” said Teri Schmidt, executive director of the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We’ve never had a true convention of this size in the state. It outpaces any event.”

Pheasants Forever spokesman Jared Wiklund said they chose Sioux Falls to host the event because it’s “smack dab in the middle of pheasant range and our member base.” Wiklund said that some of the largest Pheasants Forever chapters are based in the region.

He said the organization was impressed by the number of hotel rooms, the city’s welcoming attitude, the state-of-the-art convention center and the amount of free parking nearby.

“This is the only place we’ve ever gone to where the parking is free,” Wiklund said. “That seems like a small thing, but really, it’s huge.”

Schmidt said the event will benefit local hotels, restaurants, retail stores and the newly available ride-sharing service, Lyft. She also said the convention will give thousands of visitors a close-up look at the city.

“This is a convention about a sector of our world that had affected South Dakota in every way forever, for 100 years,” Schmidt said. “Sioux Falls is hosting the event, but we’re selling the entire state.”


Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

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