Frequently Asked Questions
Many years ago we enjoyed a couple of Feasts in Victoria, BC and would love to celebrate the Feast there again. Is there any possibility of that? There are so many beautiful places to see and enjoy there.
Victoria continues to be an attractive location and a very popular tourist destination. The UCG elder who lives in Victoria has pointed out that the costs there are currently very high both for lodging and food. Furthermore the cost of the ferry to get to Victoria is also quite high. This would mean that the feast there could only be attended primarily by members who have the highest incomes. The last mitigating factor is that UCG-Canada would have to cancel the Kelowna site if a Victoria site were to be established. This would cause the members who usually go there to have to travel greater distances to attend a more affordable site elsewhere. We hope that eventually conditions will change in order to make it possible for the church to once again host a festival site in Victoria.
Instead of having the Feast in Lancaster and tell the members that Lancaster is only 2 hours from Washington D.C., why not just have the Feast in Washington D.C. itself?
To have a feast in Washington D.C. or nearby would be great with so much history and culture to enjoy. Unfortunately, Washington D.C. is prohibitively expensive. We have checked with the convention and visitors bureau, hotels and other venues within a 30 minute drive. If you think you have a place, let us know. A hotel with ample meeting space would cost easily or $130 per night for a hotel room. The Church would still be expected to pay probably over $30,000 in meeting space, plus generate thousands of dollars in food and beverage. To rent convention space is simply not affordable.
We keep looking and many sales people in the hospitality industry claim Washington D.C. can work, but they never find us anything feasible.
What about the possibility of Rapid City, SD. (update as of 10/19/2009)
Rapid City since the inception of UCG has consistently been a requested site. It was seriously considered in 2003, but it was decided to remain in Steamboat Springs. Rapid City is not near a large number of members and that is the main reason it was not pursued further. We have considered opening it up for one or two years as a "specialty site".
With Steamboat Springs making such a great offer of keeping rates the same as now through 2015 this affects the potential opening of Rapid City even as a one year "specialty site". We realize it would definitely be a popular site, but that would mean expanding the number of sites and diluting our resources.
What about returning to Orlando, Florida, for a Feast site?
We have had inquiries about Orlando over the years and a couple in recent weeks.
Below are the attendance statistics for Orlando. The site was closed for several reasons. First, there was declining attendance in Orlando, as well as a request by many for a beach site near Pensacola if possible. Also, Orlando was the most expensive Feast location sponsored by UCG, and yet the attendance was lower than a couple of other sites that were less than half the expense.
Since we left Orlando, the meeting facility that we used has closed down. Meeting space in Orlando is very expensive and any available space is a part of a large hotel/resort with expensive hotel room rates or the huge convention center. Most of the housing would not be condos, which members tell us they want when coming to Florida. If we sign with a resort, we could not use condos or other housing outside of the resort because they want rooms on their property utilized as part of the deal before they will give us the meeting space.
1995 - 1,847
1996 - 1,504
1997 - 1,512
1998 - 1,187
1999 - 939
Panama City Beach Attendance
2000 - 1,714
2001 - 1,606
2002 - 1,834
2003 - 1,813
2004 - 1,980
2005 - 1,936
2006 - 1,420
2007 - 1,681
Only in 2006 did we drop below 1,500 in Panama City Beach, and we had turned some people down that year to make sure we had enough room.
I would be very pleased to see the Church add a Feast of Tabernacles site in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Myrtle Beach is probably in the top three or four requested locations for a Feast site. Myrtle Beach provides all the needs and wants we prefer. (1) It has plenty of meeting space venues (although we haven't checked specifics to our dates and size). (2) It has ample housing, including condominiums. (3) It has ample recreational activities.
Keep in mind, though, that the first priority in establishing a Feast site is geographical need. Myrtle Beach is too far south to accommodate our Northeast brethren, and it is fairly close to Jekyll Island, a site we have loyally supported for years and vice versa.
However, Myrtle Beach is not out of the question and will be closely reviewed for future years.
Do you have any women on your team helping you with Feast site and hotel selection?
First, let's look at hotel selection. Occasionally, the wives of the men handling the hotel price negotiation and selection accompany them on their trips. It is very beneficial to have the perspective of a woman in the decision of which properties to use and not use. It is the most advantageous to have a woman along when we are choosing hotels at a new site that has not been used before by the Church.
Remember, however, that every year at every U.S. Feast site we distribute housing surveys. Most likely about 50 percent are filled out by women, which provides an opportunity for everybody to help in the selection and give input about what housing properties to use.
As for Feast site selection, women are occasionally involved. My wife was involved in the selection of both Steamboat Springs and the theater we use in Lahaina, Maui. Her trip to Hawaii was not expensed to the Church, just in case someone might think I took her to Hawaii and had the Church pay for it. Actually, we came across the theater on Maui on a trip that was paid for by an association for meeting planners.
The wife of the Festival coordinator for Steamboat Springs was also on the initial trip to tour that city, so that makes two wives involved in that decision. The wife of the coordinator for Bend was a part of that decision. The same is true for Panama City Beach. A wife was involved in the selection of Gatlinburg, Louisville and Cincinnati. Many of the other U.S. sites are left over from our previous Church history.