Trade Show Reboot in Full Force

Andrea Doyle, Executive Editor
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LAS VEGAS— Trade shows are back, attracting crowds of attendees and exhibitors. For more than a year, industry insiders have been talking about the light at the end of the tunnel. That light is now here and it is shining bright.

The Utility Expo, held September 28-30 in Louisville, Ky., was the largest in the show’s history, with more than 900 exhibitors spread out over more than 32 acres at the Kentucky Exhibition Center.

“Given the extraordinary circumstances around in-person events, we were excited to be able to produce The Utility Expo and bring a diverse lineup of thousands of products to over 16,500 attendees,” John Rozum, Show Director for The Utility Expo, said.

According to Jim Pittas, president and CEO of PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, its September show was the most important gathering in its history. The packaging and processing community came together for PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO. More than 23,000 attendees engaged with 1,500-plus exhibitors across four halls and more than 740,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Las Vegas Convention Center

“In a word, PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO was a success,” Pittas said. “Exhibitors and attendees alike were energized by the number of people who attended and, more importantly, the business conducted from the moment we opened the doors.”

MJBizCon returned to Las Vegas for its first in-person conference in two years on October 19–22.  The largest cannabis industry trade show in the world, MJBizCon attracted 26,998 attendees and 1,246 exhibitors. Approximately 249,300 net square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center was used for this show.

“It was such a surreal feeling after everything we’ve been through over the past two years, from seeing revenues evaporate overnight to figuring out a virtual event strategy to dealing with a huge amount of emotional and personal stress. I kept asking myself, ‘Did we really just live through all that? And are we really back to large in-person events? When is the other shoe going to drop?’” Chris Walsh, CEO of MJBiz, said. “What’s astonishing is how quickly our team found its groove. It was almost as if we didn’t skip a beat. In fact, I think this was one of the smoothest events we’ve ever run. I’d almost compare it to a professional athlete who missed a season or two because of injuries. When they come back, they still know how to run, throw, kick, whatever it may be. Everyone on our team was 100% focused on making this successful and eager to do what they do. They leaned into their skill sets and rallied together, and the result was fantastic.”

Related. New Research: Demand Returning to Pre-Pandemic Levels

In order to keep track of all Freeman activity, the company added a new events tracker on its homepage. From July 2021 through September 2021, Freeman held 722 events in 88 cities with 47.7 thousand exhibits activated. The tracker can be accessed by clicking here.

Reach John Rozum at jrozum@AEM.org; Jim Pittas at jpittas@pmmi.org; Chris Walsh at chris.walsh@mjbiz.com