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Fraternity convention brings thousands to downtown Raleigh

Posted July 27, 2010
Updated July 28, 2010

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— The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau's largest event to date is winding down this week. Omega Psi Phi, a national fraternity, has been holding its 76th Grand Conclave at the center.

“This is by far the largest one we've hosted to date. It allows us to set history and positions us for other large groups in the future,” Julie Brakenbury, director of convention services, said.

Brakenbury said the fraternity's conclave brought as many as 15,000 people to the Raleigh area.

“The atmosphere outside the convention center has been very hospitable. We appreciate it," Omega Psi Phi member Rick Sewell said.

Convention center host large fraternity gathering Convention center host large fraternity gathering

Omega Psi Phi members from across the country, wearing the fraternity's gold and purple colors, arrived in downtown Thursday. They have been taking part in community service projects and fellowship activities.

“It's a way for you to see the brotherhood. It's a sea of purple when you come here,” Omega Psi Phi member Derrick Gibbs said.

Members also spent more than $7 million at area businesses, Brakenbury said.

"I'm sure the local economy appreciates it (the conclave). We have been spending some money,” Sewell said.

“We were busy Saturday through Sunday, Friday as well, not only during the peak dinner and lunch hours, but late night as well. So we are seeing the revenue from it all the way up until 2 a.m.,” said Jennifer Batts, manager of the Big Easy Cajun Food and Nightlife on Fayetteville Street.

Brakenbury said the convention center has proved its success with Omega Psi Phi.

“Everybody's done a great job. They have done what we want a destination to do. They rolled out the red carpet, or in this case, the purple and gold carpet,” Brakenbury said.

The Omega Psi Phi conclave wraps up this Thursday. The fraternity was founded in 1911 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. It was the first African-American national fraternal organization to be founded at a historically black college.


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  • bobbythreesticks Jul 29, 2010

    "tgraves2" - Good with the bad, good with the bad; just because it isn't reported doesn't mean it didn't happen and typically something like that would never be left out from the news. I never said anything that even hinted at being a complaint about black people spending money. My concern is why the arrest and acknowledgement of the shooting wasn't at least mentioned, as well as the amount of money, my tax dollars, will have to be spent cleaning up the Fayetteville St Mall and surrounding areas. The streets, parking decks, etc looked like everyone who lives downtown resorted to throwing their trash out of their windows.

  • tgraves2 Jul 28, 2010

    Maybe WRAL and other news agencys, decided to focus on the positive instead of the negative. The Omegas came to town and spent over 7 million dollars on the local area. They could have went to any city across the country and been welcome with open arms. The fact that they selected Raleigh, says alot about our city and the people promoting it. Yes some of the Omegas did get rowdy. But anytime you have a large group, you will have a couple of problems. Just ask the Hotels,Bars,Restarants and Cab drivers if they mind the Omegas in town. It is people like you who complain about Black people spending money, that the CIAA is in Charlotte and not Raleigh.

  • bobbythreesticks Jul 28, 2010

    WRAL and other news agencys failed to report a member was arrested for shooting a gun and hitting the 6th and 8th floors of the Two Hanover Sq building(BB&T) downtown.

  • dwntwnboy Jul 28, 2010

    Good to see a nice big convention. Maybe this is the start of a string of larger events to come!!!