PGI Convention organizers, attendees like what Mason City has to offer

MASON CITY — The Pyrotechnics Guild International convention wraps up its week-long stay in Mason City on Friday night.

It’s the fourth time the North Iowa Events Center has hosted the convention, which brings more than 3000 members and an economic impact of nearly $2 million to north-central Iowa. PGI president Paul Smith says the North Iowa Events Center has been a great venue for their conventions. “The folks here really work well with us. The community has been very helpful to us and attended the public displays well. The general situation is good geographically because our members have good access to it. Just overall the site has worked well for us. It’s a little smaller site, but it gives us more of that family feel that everybody’s close together, and get along well.”

PGI second vice president Carol Hostetter says Mason City is a central location for many of their members, making it an attractive site to come to. “But the other thing is, Mason City, the businesses, the people, they’re all so friendly to us being here. It’s nice to come and have people, if they see you walking around with your badge on, if you run to the store or go to get gas, and they say ‘hey, great to have you, you’re part of the fireworks thing’. Walk into the businesses, there’s signs up saying ‘welcome pyros’. That’s nice. I’ve dealt with the vendors here for food and beverages, they are some of the nicest to deal with. ‘Sure, we’ll come out and take care of that, no worries’. That just makes us really want to continue to come back here.”

PGI production co-chair Ruth Beardmore says most of the members love dealing with the people of Mason City. “We love the people of Mason City, we love the community. We’ve got great facilities in the area. The fairgrounds is an excellent place. They have all the buildings we need, the support we need, the track and the field and our stage is top notch.”

Mason City also hosted the convention in 2005, 2009 and 2014. Next year’s PGI convention will be held in Gillette Wyoming.

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