National Guard Convention Equals Coast Success

While many people entered the convention center to register for the 125th annual National Guard Association convention, a few vendors sat in the heat waiting to pitch their products.

But since all work and no play make an unpleasant stay, we asked the coast visitors what they plan to do each evening after their work is done.

"We went to the Seafood Festival and that was some good food down there. It was a lot of fun. We drove up and down the coast and that was really nice," said Utah vendor Rod Leishman.

"We want to try some of the local restaurants for the seafood. Got a reputation for some good seafood around here we hear. And of course we might leave some change at the local casinos and make our fortune there if we don't make it here," said Florida vendor Louie Koufakis.

"Well, you know, this time I had to come without my wife, but she did give me five dollars so I could buy a roll of nickels and play in the slot machine," said Florida vendor Don Philpitt.

Whether it's gambling, eating, or simply strolling the beach, the National Guard convention is expected to have a five million dollar impact on the economy, and even though the convention officially began on Sunday, it seems like the dollars of visitors are already paying off.

Peggy Bush is a receptionist at the Holiday Inn Express in Biloxi. She says conventions like these are always welcome.

"They have our entire property booked and they've been coming down and asking as well about casinos, shopping, cab companies and restaurants," said Bush.

Convention organizers picked the Mississippi Coast as a site because it has a lot to offer.

Hopefully, we'll give them a reason to stay for years to come.

With 1500 exhibitors, the convention is reported to be the largest convention to come to the coast.

The convention will end Wednesday.