TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Republicans have a perfectly logical reason to book their national convention in Florida, a swing state that Mitt Romney must win if he is to defeat President Barack Obama.
But who else in their right minds would consider holding such a large-scale event just when the state is at its hottest, stickiest and most vulnerable to hurricanes?
The answer? Lots of people.
Why? Because when the uncomfortable heat and humidity rise, hotel and catering prices drop. Meanwhile, popular venues that are impossible to snag in high season are quite often available.
That is appealing to many. Everyone from Star Wars fans and purveyors of adult entertainment, to beauty specialists, dancers, journalists, real estate agents and Asian business groups are planning to gather in the Sunshine State in the coming weeks.
Take September, one of the most active months for hurricanes, when nearly 30 events are scheduled at convention centers in Tampa, Miami, and Orlando.
"The calendar has been full the last couple of summers I've been here," said George Aiello, marketing manager for the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Here are some of the activities scheduled for those intrepid souls who plan to venture south in these swampiest of months.
- Orlando: Star Wars convention. Expected draw: 35,000 people.
- Tampa: Republican National Convention. Expected draw: 40,000-50,000 (including journalists and an estimated 10,000 protesters).
- Miami Beach: Home Design and Remodeling Show. Expected draw: 75,000 people.
- Miami Beach: The Asia America Trade Show. Expected draw: more than 16,000 people.
- Miami Beach: Americas Food and Beverage Show. Expected draw: 10,000 people.
- Miami Beach: Sex on the Beach Expo. Expected draw: more than 20,000 people.
- Fort Lauderdale: Annual conference of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association. Expected draw: 1,500.
- Orlando: Surf Expo. Expected draw: 10,000 people.
- Orlando: Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show. Expected draw: more than 11,000 people.
- Tampa: AFCEA-Biometrics Consortium Conference. Expected draw: 1,800 people.
- Tampa: National Association of Health Care Quality 37th Annual Educational Conference. Expected draw: 600 people.
Armario reported from Miami. Attendance estimates for the convention were provided by organizers, protest groups and police officials. Estimates for other events were provided by the organizers.
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