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Ruritan National Convention coming to Knoxville
January 19, 2011

KNOXVILLE -- The Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation (KTSC) is pleased to welcome the 80th annual Ruritan National Convention to the Knoxville Convention Center next weekend, January 26-29, 2011. This is the first year the National Ruritan Organization will hold their annual meeting in Knoxville. Over 1,500 attendees are expected to attend with an estimated economic impact of $1.6 million.

"KTSC is excited to have the opportunity to host the Ruritan National Convention in Knoxville," said Kim Bumpas, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for KTSC "Persistent sales and marketing efforts, along with the help of the local Ruritan Chapters, made hosting the event in Knoxville a reality."

Ruritan National is the parent organization of 1,200 local Ruritan clubs and organizations devoted to improving America's communities through fellowship, goodwill and community service since 1928. And, community service will also be a big component at the convention next week.

Attendees will not only attend meetings while in Knoxville, they will also participate in community-wide service projects. Ruritans attending the National Convention will be bringing thousands of diapers and hundreds of pairs of children's shoes to Tennessee Department of Children's Services. Ruritans will also present local fire, rescue, law enforcement, and hospital personnel with hundreds of Rudy Bears - the Ruritan mascot. The stuffed bear will be given to children in crisis situations in an effort to distract or calm them. Since 1988, Ruritan Clubs have provided more than 50,000 Rudy Ruritan teddy bears to fire, rescue, police and children's agencies to comfort children in times of illness, accidents, or other crises.

According to the Ruritan National Organization over 6,890 diapers, 350 pairs of shoes, 250 small Rudy bears, and 50 large Rudy bears have already been collected to present to Knoxville's Department of Children's Services. The presentation will be made during a luncheon on Friday, January 28 at 11:30 a.m. at the Knoxville Convention Center. Members of the Knoxville Police Department, Rural Metro, the Knoxville Sheriff's Department, and East Tennessee Children's Hospital will be in attendance to receive the donations.

The 80th Ruritan Convention will kick off on Thursday, January 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the Knoxville Convention Center with a performance by the Knoxville Children's Choir. The convention will also feature a range of the finest entertainment and speakers, a moving flag ceremony, a breakfast honoring veterans, and a variety of educational workshops and training.


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