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Baltimore to host 4,000 government wonks

Baltimore will host a conference in 2018 that will bring about 4,000 local government professionals to the area.

The International City/County Management Association picked the city for its annual conference Sept. 23-26, 2018. It will be the first time in the association’s 100-year history that the annual conference will be held in Maryland.

Members from the Maryland City/County Management Association promoted Baltimore as the best city in the state for the conference to pick out of three applications.

The four-day event at the Baltimore Convention Center will bring an estimated $3.5 million in direct spending and economic impact to the city, said Sara Hisamoto, spokeswoman for the city’s tourism agency, Visit Baltimore.

The association advocates and develops professional management for local governments across the nation. It has 9,000 members nationwide.

It will be one of Baltimore’s largest conventions. The city’s largest conventions in 2009, American Craft Council and Otakorp Inc., brought in 19,000 and 26,586 attendees, respectively.

“We’re awfully happy about it,” said Jeff Rhodes, president of the Maryland City/County Management Association. Philadelphia was another city that applied for the training conference and trade show, but Rhodes said Philadelphia has held the conference before while Baltimore never has.

The Baltimore Convention Center also recently booked the third annual Baltimore Fine Furnishings and Fine Craft Show. It is the first time the show will come to the convention center, and will be held Apr. 15-17.

“It is a lovely exhibit space at the corner of Pratt Street and Charles Street,” show manager Karla Little said in a statement Tuesday. Little cited the convention center’s location next to the Inner Harbor and access to its new roof garden as selling points for picking the venue. The show was previously held at the Hippodrome Theater/France-Merrick Performing Arts Center.

The craft show touts furnishings and crafts for sale, as well awarding of craft pieces. The show also holds conferences in Providence, R.I., and Milwaukee, Wis., annually.

Officials from the Baltimore Convention Center and KL Communications, which organizes the show, could not be reached.