Nearly 8,000 “Moose” will roam the streets of Milwaukee this week as part of the Moose fraternal organization’s annual Moose convention.
Moose members representing lodges across the country as well as Canadian and British chapters are coming together during the convention to discuss business developments within the organization, share emerging trends in the order of fraternal organizations, and celebrate several Moose milestones including 125 years of international conventions.
Moose leadership began organizing this year’s convention in 2009 and selected Milwaukee as its destination after Visit Milwaukee’s convention staff extended an invite to the group for a formal tour of the city.
The convention staff “really put their best foot forward” in promoting the city as a viable convention location, said Scott Hart, director general and chief executive officer of Moose International, which is based in Mooseheart, Ill.
“I think you’ve got some very bright and talented people working on attracting conventions to Milwaukee,” Hart said. “They sold the city.”
The 2013 convention, which kicked off on Thursday, marks a celebratory year for the organization with the 100th anniversary of Mooseheart, a residential childcare community for children living in unsuitable home environments as well as children living without parents. The community is run by the Moose fraternal organization on a 1,000-acre campus near Moose headquarters in Illinois.
Moose representatives will recognize the 100th anniversary of the women of the Moose at this week’s convention as well.
Most of their time will be spent meeting at the Delta Center and the Milwaukee Theatre, but convention attendees will also have opportunities to explore downtown restaurants and nightlife.
The organization has secured 18,000 room nights across 20 hotels, and its estimated economic impact for the week is $10 million, according to Hart.
Milwaukee hasn’t hosted Moose members since the 1940s, Hart said.
“I think what our members are going to find when they come here is great Midwestern hospitality and a great place to hold a convention,” Hart said. “It’s a beautiful city on Lake Michigan, similar to Chicago, but I think our members are going to find a much friendlier town ad we’re looking forward to holding our convention here.”
Moose International comprises 1.1 million members from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Bermuda who build community engagement, support youth through Mooseheart, and support elderly Moose members through a Florida retirement community known as Moosehaven.
The 2013 international Moose convention will run through Wednesday, May 29.