Jehovah’s Witnesses will be holding three-day conventions at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on June 15-17 and June 29-July 1.
This will be the sixth year in a row that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have held regional conventions in Jacksonville, according to Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman Leo Grant.
Grant is forecasting this year’s two weekends will attract about 14,000 people combined. He said about 5,300 Jehovah's Witnesses call the First Coast home.
As to why Jacksonville has become host to the regional conventions, Grant said, “Jacksonville is an amazing city and it’s convenient to many of the locations that will be arriving to the area. We have patrons that will come from as far north as Savannah, Georgia, as far west as Valdosta. We’ll also have some coming up from the St. Augustine and Gainesville areas.”
The theme for the two weekends is “Be Courageous!” The three-day programs will consist of 54 presentations including talks, audio dramas, interviews and videos.
“The reason that theme was chosen is because of a lot of the events that happened, not just locally, but worldwide. Things that we see. Things that we experience can really cause polarization and despair, and there’s a true need for individuals to have a source of release and a positive outlook for the future,” said Grant.
On the final day of each event a feature film called The Story of Jonah—A Lesson in Courage and Mercy will be shown.
The convention will add to an already strong tourism year for Jacksonville.
Last month Visit Jacksonville reported the city is having a record-breaking year with hotel revenue during January, February and March 2018 up more than $12 million over the first quarter of 2017.
March 2018 saw the highest amount of rooms ever sold in Duval County at over 462,000, according to Visit Jacksonville. That tops even the tourism numbers for the 2005 Jacksonville Super Bowl.
"Jacksonville is a very central location. It has wonderful hotels and restaurants for our patrons to dine and stay at,” Grant said.
Jehovah’s Witnesses Regional Jacksonville Conventions
When: June 15 - June 17, 2018 and June 29 – July 1, 2018
Where: Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, 300 A Philip Randolph Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32202
Cost: Free and open to the public