It’s just the beginning of preparations for the conventions, which will be the largest ever held in the Volusia-Flagler area, Shriners and area tourism officials say.
Gary Bergenske, the Orlando businessman who will become the Shriners’ Imperial Potentate on the final day of the 2017 convention, said the planning visits are laying the groundwork for the first of the two conventions here three years from now.
“We have to figure out where to put all the events,” he said.
Daytona Beach will become the first city in several decades to host Shriners International conventions in back-to-back years. It also will be the smallest city ever to be the site of the group’s international gathering, Bergenske said.
While the Ocean Center will be the site of the conventions, the weeklong gatherings will include events in other parts of the city, including the Bandshell and Daytona Beach Boardwalk, Main Street, Destination Daytona, and possibly Daytona International Speedway and the golf course at LPGA International, Bergenske said.
The city will also be the site of a weeklong meeting of the Shriners International’s board the week before the convention each year, with an estimated 200 people in town for pre-convention activities, Bergenske said.