Thousands of dollars will be pumped into the local economy this weekend as hundreds of Kiwanians descend on Lima this weekend for the annual statewide convention.
“This is kind of unheard of to have a smaller community like Lima host it,” said Bev Beery, a Lima Kiwanian and coordinator for the local event.
Beery was one of the members of the Lima club who decided to make a run to bring the state convention here instead of one of the major cities in the state where it’s usually held.
She and others made a pitch to the state board members who came to Lima 18 months ago to look around.
“They liked what they saw, they voted and they said, ‘Let’s give Lima a try,’” Beery said.
So here it is and it all began Friday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.
More than 400 Kiwanians are expected, and many bring their spouses. Spouses often look for things to do such as shop or some place to visit. The convention easily could pump more than $100,000 into the local economy.
The local Kiwanis club prepared a gift bag with coupons to local restaurants.
“We’re hoping people take that coupon and walk into that business and spend money,” Beery said.
The Wingate hotel is booked for the weekend and overflow is at the Howard Johnson Inn. Many arrived early and were at Lima restaurants eating as early as Thursday night, Beery said.
The event gives local Kiwanians and businesses a chance to showcase the city. Beery and cochairwoman Candy Newland began promoting Lima a year ago to other Kiwanians at last year’s convention near Akron.
“It’s taken a whole year to put it together. It’s a lot of work,” Beery said.
The last time the convention was held in Lima was 1921. Newland said local Kiwanians are working to make this year’s convention really special so they can bring another convention back to town sooner than 92 years.
“We’re pulling out all the stops,” she said.
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