The Texas-Oklahoma District Kiwanis was the first group to book the Embassy Suites by Hilton Denton Convention Center for its 2019 convention ahead of the center's opening in 2017. 

The Texas-Oklahoma District of Kiwanis, a volunteer organization focused on community development and child betterment, will host its annual convention in Denton on Aug. 1-4.

The Kiwanis gathering was the first convention to be booked at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Denton Convention Center, according to Jeff Pritts, general manager of the hotel and a Denton Chamber of Commerce board member. The hotel and convention center opened in late 2017.

The convention center is also the site of the Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club’s weekly meetings.

The Kiwanis convention, now in its 101st year, is being billed as the beginning of the “new Kiwanis century,” according to convention chairman Joe Holland, who said he hopes for least 500 members to attend from clubs in Texas and Oklahoma.

Kiwanis members will discuss challenges their organization is facing, such as addressing community needs and declining membership, Holland said. While communities’ needs have not decreased, he said, the amount of work that is required on behalf of members and their organizations has increased.

As part of a city that has three Kiwanis clubs — the Denton Noon Kiwanis, the breakfast club and a chapter at Robson Ranch — members will discuss marketing and recruitment ideas in an effort to drive engagement, Holland said.

In addition, there will be events at the hotel and in the greater Denton area for those in attendance, including a fundraiser walk to benefit efforts to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.

The Eliminate Project Walk will start outside the convention center at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, according to an agenda item. The project, a partnership between Kiwanis International and UNICEF, will highlight countries where the disease has been eliminated, according to Holland.

Convention activities include a “Spouses Day Out,” when members’ spouses will travel to a working horse ranch in Aubrey and tour the facility.

Afterward, participants will head to Texas Woman’s University to view the Texas First Ladies Historic Costume Collection, featuring inaugural gowns worn by the state’s first ladies, according to a news release.

The convention will also include “Family Fun Night,” featuring Disc Jockey Hall of Fame inductee Joe Martin, whose performance will rewind the clock as records from the 1950s and ’60s play against a backdrop of two 1950s Chevrolets.

Attendees can sport a leather jacket or poodle skirt for a photo op with the classic cars.

Registration for the convention is $80 for a single member, with lower prices available for clubs registering together. Registration for spouses and other non-Kiwanians is $20.

To register and for more information, visit www.txok

RYAN HIGGS can be reached via Twitter at @HiggsUNT.

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