Current Tree Fruit Meeting in Wenatchee Among Biggest Events The City Gets
The Washington State Tree Fruit Association is holding its annual meeting in Wenatchee this week.
It's the largest tree fruit educational gathering in the country, which also deals with Washington State government affairs.
Wenatchee Convention Center General Manager Linda Herald says the gathering is being held at her facility, but is also being staged at the Town Toyota Center for the first time.
"That's just to help with the parking situation," said Herald. "Every year that they come, it's just a mad scramble for parking. So, I'm hoping that the members are taking that shuttle and going back and forth. That way, it'll be much easier when it comes to the parking.
Herald says she's expecting between 1,500 and 1,700 people to attend the meeting, which ranks as one of the top two events at the convention center in any given year.
The only other gathering on the same level is the Special Olympics gathering, which draws about 1,800 attendees every year and will be held in March of 2023.
In years past, the Tree Fruit Association meeting was a boon to downtown area businesses with heavy foot traffic through retail shops and restaurants.
Wenatchee Downtown Association Executive Director Linda Haglund says its unknown how businesses will be affected this year because attendance will be staggered.
"People come, for the majority, come for specific sessions, for specific things," said Haglund. "So (it's) unclear as to the impact to retail downtown. But...anytime you infuse this many people in our community, it's a good thing."
The Tree Fruit Association meeting will have more than 300 exhibits at the Convention Center and the Town Toyota Center.
Haglund says it'll take up all available space at the convention center.
The meeting is taking place Monday December 5th 8am – 5pm, Tuesday December 6th 8am – 5 pm and Wednesday December 7th 8am – 12noon.
Shuttle Bus service is being provided between convention center and the Town Toyota Center.
The gathering features demonstrations & credited courses, and is free of charge to the horticulture community.
The State Tree Fruit Association meeting rotates annually between Wenatchee, Kennewick and Yakima as all three areas have a high representation of tree fruit farmers.