HICKORY, N.C. — Last year, over 700 people attended the Voice of Evangelism International Conference at the Hickory Convention Center.

This year, leader David Lankford said he has canceled it because of the coronavirus.

Hickory Convention Center officials said last year the event booked 118 rooms. The center also lost out on $3,400 of room rent. Since the conference is a weekend event, visitors eat and stay in Hickory.

Lankford said most of the crowd is 50 years old and older and many of them travel from out of state and even out of the country, and he did not want to put anyone's health at risk.

"We had a great turnout, great success, people loved it, we're just terribly disappointed that with the coronavirus and with people flying this year we just thought it would be wise not to have it,” Lankford said.

The event is not being rescheduled, but the group did give members a refund.