(Memphis) For three weekends during August, more than 10,000 delegates from more than 100 Mid-South Jehovah’s Witness congregations will be pouring into downtown Memphis for their yearly convention.
“Memphis is central, is convenient for so many of our delegates,” said Minister Earl Lester.
But Lester said the convention might be reducing their numbers or moving after difficulties with parking at the Cook Convention Center.
“It does appear that it may not continue and parking is the primary issue we've got here,” said Lester.
The group host 3,400 delegates each weekend they are at the convention center, but said there is less than 1,000 parking spaces.
The Memphis Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, which manages the convention center, said there are parking spaces for a price.
“We have a significant amount of parking spaces down at the convention, but also the public lots that are around the convention center are available,” said John Oros with the Memphis CVB.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses market the event as free to attendees.
Lester said in the heat during August, the walk isn’t reasonable for participants. He said already they’ve reduced the number of attendees.
“This year it went down because our convention office because of the parking situation pulled a number of our delegates and went to Little Rock. Back in May, we had 5,000 that went to a convention in Little Rock,” said Lester, who hopes his group can work out a deal with the city.
“We have to understand that one of the best and the least expensive convention to get is the one that’s always coming, so you want to take care of them because the marketplace is very competitive,” said Oros.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses Convention began August 2-4th, continues this weekend and picks back up August 23-25th.