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County picked to host Wyoming officials convention this year

Apr 7, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Businesses in the county seat should see an uptick in sales in late September this year and next thanks to local officials bringing the Wyoming Association of County Officers convention to Fremont County.

The meeting of commissioners, treasurers, clerks, attorneys, county clerks, coroners, assessors and sheriffs will be Sept. 23 to Sept. 27 in Lander.

"It'll be huge for our restaurants" said Fremont County clerk Julie Freese who leads the planning for the event. "They will see a definite increase that week on business."

Between 250 and 275 people are expected to travel to Fremont County for the event.

Freese said the conference goers will have afternoons and evenings free and will likely go out to eat for most of their dinners during the week of the convention.

She expects shops, bars and movie theaters to see increased business along with the hotels and eateries.

The whole county is hosting the conference this year, but most of the attendees will stay in Lander and the majority of events will happen in the county seat as well.

Fremont County has reserved 260 rooms at the Best Western the Inn at Lander, Holiday Inn Express, Pronghorn Lodge and Maverick Motel in Lander and at the Wind River Casino in Riverton.

Freese, other elected officials and their staffs are making arrangements and will report on the plans at a meeting of the WACO board of directors on May 1.

Most of the meetings will take place at the Best Western, but the Pronghorn Lodge and the Carnegie Library will also host a few.

The convention has never been in Lander before, Freese said. In September 2011, Freese, other county officials and several staff members of the Best Western submitted a proposal to host the convention to the WACO board.

"(The convention) had always been in a bigger town," Freese said. "They wanted to give it to a smaller town."

Typically the whole convention occurs at one hotel, but Freese and her partners put together a plan that would spread the convention across several locations in Lander and the Wind River Casino.

In the end, the WACO board chose Fremont County over several others as the host for 2013 and 2014. Counties typically host the conference two years in a row.

Roughly 30 vendors also will show their wares at the conference.

Officials will use revenue from the vendors to purchase prizes from local businesses for the convention, Freese said. Organizers also plan to hire local talent for entertainment at several events.

Freese said she is still looking for acts.

Chambers of commerce from across Fremont County will contribute to gift bags given to all convention attendees. Freese said visitors will also receive a list of other hotels in the county and tourist information about other towns in case visitors want to stay somewhere else or decide to stop on their way to or from the convention.

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