PENDLETON - Event attendance at the Pendleton Convention Center totaled 96,159 in 2004, up more than 2,400, or 2.6 percent from the total a year earlier.

Estimated attendance was up every month in the first quarter, down every month in the second quarter, fell dramatically in August, but soared in September. The estimated number attending events increased in October and November, but dipped in December.

Pat Kennedy, convention center executive director, said he expected attendance this year to be down 5 percent to 10 percent because two large drawing cards have been here in each of the past two years, Willie Nelson in 2003, and Vice President Dick Cheney in 2004.

"Both events attracted approximately 3,000 to 4,000, which accounts for 3 percent to 4 percent of total visitors using the Convention Center," he said, adding that Lord of the Dance did not return in 2004, which attracted 750 in 2003.

Convention Center traffic will get a boost in early April when a second cruise ship begins bringing tourists to Pendleton for lunch and entertainment.

"This will amount to 200 visitors per week for 40 weeks or 8,000," Kennedy said. "Special events will distort attendance figures, but the total number of events, and annual revenues remain fairly constant for the Convention Center, but attendance figures can be influenced by the number of special events, or lack of."

December Events and Estimated Attendance

Dec. 2, Pendleton Convention Center Commission, 15*

Dec. 4-5, Festival of Trees, 1,000*

Dec. 6-8, Oregon Sheriffs' Association, 150 each day

Dec. 9, Mayor Bob Ramig Retirement Party, 300

Dec. 10, Fleetwood Christmas Party, 500*

Dec. 11, Umatilla County Cattlemen, 40*

Dec. 11, Auto Clinic, 20

Dec. 11, Amerititle Christmas Party, 40

Dec. 11, Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution Christmas Party, 120*

Dec. 12 Wal-Mart Christmas Party, 300*

Dec. 14, Round-Up Republican Women, 30*

Dec. 15, Fred Pryor Seminar, Stress Management, 50*

Dec. 16, Haus Barhyte Mustard Co. Christmas Party, 40*

Dec. 29-30, Pioneer Classic Basketball Tournament, 1,000*

Dec. 31, Round-Up Kiwanis New Year's Eve Ball, 100*

February Calendar and Expected Attendance

Feb. 1, Oregon Department of Human Services & Ecology and Environment, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 75

Feb. 4-6, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Basketball Tournament, 6-11 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, 500 each day*

Feb. 8, Round-Up Republican Women, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m., 30*

Feb. 8, Guardian Care Center Training, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 150

Feb. 8, CAPECO Workshop, 6-9 p.m., 50

Feb. 9, Confederation of Oregon School Administrators Workshop, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 100

Feb. 11, Happy Canyon Helpers Party, 6-8 p.m., 350*

Feb. 12, Cotillion 2005, 7 p.m.-1 a.m., 500*

Feb. 16, Umatilla-Morrow Education Service District Career Showcase, 7 a.m.-5 p.m., 2,000*

Feb. 18-19, District 2-A Basketball tournament, 1 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 500 each day*

Feb. 24, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 3-7 p.m., 40*

* Returning event

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