Alcoholics Anonymous to host 2035 convention in Indianapolis with 60,000 attendees

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Indiana Convention Center (IBJ file photo)

Indianapolis has been tabbed as the host of a major international convention for 2035, when the group will celebrate its centennial.

Alcoholics Anonymous will host its International Convention in the city from July 5-8, 2035, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the organization’s establishment. The group is expected to draw more than 60,000 attendees, injecting as much as $70 million into the local economy.

Chris Gahl, executive vice president of Visit Indy, said the tourism group has long sought to secure the organization’s marquee event, but this will mark the first time the convention is held in Indianapolis. Many major conventions are now booking a decade or more in advance.

“We have been courting Alcoholics Anonymous for a number of years, hoping to bring them in for their annual conference,” Gahl said, adding that Indianapolis beat out two other unidentified cities on the East Coast and the West Coast for the 2035 event.

He said local tourism leaders pitched Alcoholics Anonymous on Indianapolis in late 2022, with representatives visiting this August.

A major part of the city’s pitch focused on the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center and the new 800-room Signia by Hilton hotel, both of which are now early in construction at Pan Am Plaza with target openings of late 2026.

“We know one of the key reasons they selected Indy for their 100th gathering is because our city is growing,” Gahl said. “This is an international convention, and they’ll be using the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium, and we believe the Pan Am expansion was a critical component of them saying yes to Indianapolis.”

Alcoholics Anonymous holds its event every five years, with members and their families and friends from around the world attending. The convention features meetings, workshops and various events focused on achieving and maintaining sobriety from alcohol.

The most recent convention, held in Atlanta in 2015—there wasn’t a meeting in 2020 due to the pandemic—was attended by 57,000 members and involved more than 5,000 volunteers. The first convention was held in 1950 in Cleveland, with 3,000 members attending, including the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, known as Bill W. and Dr. Bob.

The next Alcoholics Anonymous International Convention will be held in Vancouver, Canada, from July 3-6, 2025.

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