Pheasant Fest returning to Des Moines

Des Moines, Iowa (AP) _ A national convention that brings
millions of dollars to the state is heading back to Des Moines in
2010, and organizers expect it to set attendance records.

Organizers for the National Pheasant Fest announced on Sunday
that the convention is returning to Des Moines, and bringing with
it an expected record-breaking crowd of 30,000.

In 2007, the convention brought in $6 million for the state and
drew 24,510 people in its debut, making it one of the state’s
bigger conventions.

Fest spokesman Bob St. Pierre says the convention is coming at a
time when pheasants are threatened in Iowa. State officials are
working to restore the pheasant population that’s suffered losses
from flooding, an icy winter and less grassland available for
nesting.

“Our No. 1 reason for coming back is Iowa pheasants need help,”
St. Pierre said.

The convention will feature seminars and exhibits.

“This is such a boost to the city in this economic time,” said
Dan Young, who appears on radio and television shows and in The Des
Moines Register as “Outdoors Dan.”

Politics isn’t being left out of the mix, either, as conference
organizers are trying to lure Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa
Gov. Tom Vilsack and U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin to the event.

“Two of the most influential people in the country impacting
agriculture and conservation hail from Iowa,” St. Pierre said of
Vilsack and Harkin. “Vilsack helped announce the 2007 event, and
Harkin appeared at a farm bill forum at the event.”

Iowa’s central location among top hunting states makes it a
natural fit to host the convention, St. Pierre said.

“In Des Moines, with Pheasant Fest, we can be the biggest
activity in town,” St. Pierre said.

And the impact could be felt statewide.

“It’s not just economic impact to Des Moines,” said Iowa Events
Center spokesman Adam Flack. “Ultimately, it could have great
impact across the state. These small communities know that natural
resources and hunting and fishing have a direct impact on those
communities

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