Everything is moving forward according to plan on Pigeon Forge’s LeConte Center. In fact, most city officials consider it a pretty smooth process so far when you look at such things as schedule for completion and the project’s budget.
Construction work began in October 2011 for the center, which is primarily slated to host trade shows and religious gatherings, as well as some sporting events such as gymnastics and cheerleading.
The center can accommodate up to 10,000 people, so a large group focus is where the LeConte Center will begin once it opens its doors. It will operate on a year-round schedule. And as of today, 13 weeks’ worth of events are booked from the time the LeConte Center officially opens. The first is the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show, scheduled for November. To say that things have been moving right along would be an understatement. The engine was running before it was even installed.
In September 2014, the center will host the National Quartet Convention. The southern gospel music event will move from Louisville, Ky., where it has been held since 1993. The Louisville event attracts about 40,000 participants.
From an outsider’s point of view, the first thing that catches your eye is a 100,000-square-foot, clear-span hall. The design and the hall’s amenities were exactly what Pigeon Forge was looking for in a building needed to bring in trade shows, sporting events, festivals and large assemblies like the National Quartet Convention.
Following the International Gift Exposition, The Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association will take up the center’s next two booking slots. They are expected to bring large conferences in December of 2013 and January 2014.
Meanwhile, the National Quartet Convention is a group that was founded by JD Sumner in 1957. Sumner is a legend in the gospel world and former backup singer for Elvis Presley.
Among their 2012 National Quartet Convention event performers are the Gaither Vocal Band, the Hoppers, the Kingdom Heirs, Gold City, Greater Vision, the Booth Brothers, Legacy Five, Triumphant Quartet and the Isaacs.
The LeConte Center is a $45 million events facility that is on schedule to open in September.