After meeting the previous 39 years in Modesto, the Almond Board of California's 40th annual Almond Industry Conference opened its three-day run Tuesday at the Sacramento Convention Center.
It's billed as the world's largest event for almond industry professionals.
For Sacramento, the conference is a holiday season windfall.
"December is a very difficult time of year to get an event of this size," said Mike Testa, senior vice president of convention sales for the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It's a real plus for Sacramento to get a big convention of this caliber at this time of year. It's a fantastic way to close out the year. We're thrilled and appreciative to host them here."
Testa said the Almond Board has been looking to expand the conference and the Sacramento convention group made a strong pitch for the city as an ideal spot.
Overall, about 750 are expected to attend, along with various vendors and groups.
The convention bureau said conference attendees will occupy nearly 2,200 hotel rooms during their stay, and the conference will have an estimated economic impact of more than $1 million for the city of Sacramento.
The list of speakers includes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. The conference-closing gala will feature internationally known entertainers Penn Jillette and Teller.
The Sacramento gathering also is convenient for Sacramento-based Blue Diamond growers, a dominant force in the state's massive almond industry.
The 3,000-plus grower cooperative recently held its 102nd annual members meeting in Modesto, where Blue Diamond announced that it had joined the $1 billion club with a record sales revenue year ending Aug. 31.
Blue Diamond employs about 1,000 in Sacramento and plans to add 100 jobs in Turlock by May next year as it completes the first phase of its new manufacturing and processing plant in Stanislaus County.
California's almond crop, estimated to come in at around 1.9 billion pounds this year, is marketed to all 50 states and more than 90 foreign countries, making almonds California's largest food export.