If not for the stylin’ blue corduroy jackets, you might not notice the more than 10,000 high school students who will be in downtown Oklahoma City Tuesday and Wednesday this week for the 83rd annual State FFA Convention.
The FFA convention very quietly comes and goes each year without much fuss (a friend at the CVB said they’ve been coming to OKC since 1997), but their economic impact on the city is every bit as substantial as more high-profile events like the Pre-Paid Legal conference, which draws about the same number of people downtown each year.
Hoteliers, restaurateurs and retailers in downtown, Bricktown and along the Meridian Ave. corridor love the annual flood of blue coats, because they’re so polite and respectful. I’d venture to guess that attractions like Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill and Bass Pro Shops will do really well on these days.
According to an FFA news release, the theme of this year’s convention is Step Up, Stand Out, challenging the youth to “step up by living their values, showing their pride and encouraging others.”
This conference treats OKC very well, and I think these kids have stood out for years through good works, and people notice. If I see some blue coats while out and about this week, I’m going Step Up and cheer them. Sure, it may be a little awkward.
Have you been impressed by the FFA kids in years past?