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NRA Annual Meeting Nets Millions for Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH - An estimated 72,000 people will be in Pittsburgh beginning April 28 for the 2011 National Rifle Association's Annual Meeting & Exhibition.

"This is an extremely important event for our city. We're very pleased that the NRA elected to return to Pittsburgh. A group of this size means that thousands of NRA members will be staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, shopping, taking advantage of entertainment opportunities and more," said Joe McGrath, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh.

"Aside from the millions of dollars in direct visitor spending, hosting an event of this magnitude also means that we will be able to showcase our great city to many people who have never before been to Pittsburgh and whom we hope will return," added Mr. McGrath.

The NRA's 140th Annual Meeting & Exhibition runs April 28 through May 1. With nearly 4 million members, the NRA is known as America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights. Most of the events will take place in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, though other venues include the Westin Convention Center Hotel, Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Hotel, Stage AE, Heinz Field and CONSOL Energy Center, among others. Admission to the exhibition hall is free for all NRA members.

Registration opens at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 28. The NRA Store, Exhibition Hall, banquets, workshops and seminars will take place inside the Convention Center. Entertainer Jeff Foxworthy will perform at CONSOL Energy Center. Other highlights include the keynote speaker Governor Mike Huckabee, and the Ronald Reagan Leadership Award will be presented by Michael Reagan.

The 2011 NRA Annual Meeting marks the second time that the NRA has met in Pittsburgh. In 2004, when the NRA lasted hosted its convention in Pittsburgh, attendance level topped 61,000, setting a record of all NRA's previous conventions. The 2004 meeting featured U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney as keynote speaker.

VisitPittsburgh is the official tourism marketing and promotion agency of the Pittsburgh region. It is dedicated to generating convention, trade show and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region.