Sweets & Snacks Expo Moving to Indianapolis for 2021; Back to Chicago in 2022

November 10, 2020

The National Confectioners Association will move Sweets & Snacks Expo, which has taken place in Chicago every spring in its 23-year history (except for 2020, which was canceled), to Indianapolis next year. As the confectionary and snack industry’s premiere event, the 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo — which typically features approximately 800 exhibitors and draws 15,000 attendees from 90 countries — will take place June 22-25 at Indiana Convention Center.

Together with the Board of Trustees and the Sweets & Snacks Expo Committee, NCA made this decision to move out of Chicago’s McCormick Place because the state of Illinois and city of Chicago remain under coronavirus-related restrictions that do not permit the convening of trade shows.

The health and safety of exhibitors, attendees, support staff and convention center employees are the No. 1 priority, according to show organizers. The management team behind Sweets & Snacks Expo will closely follow COVID-19 preparedness and evolving safety guidelines developed by Indiana Convention Center, the city of Indianapolis and public health authorities. The Center’s safety plan currently includes:

  • Health department approval and input required for large events
  • Temperature and health screenings
  • Face coverings in common areas and event spaces
  • Built-in 6-ft. physical distancing measures for floor plans, seating areas and crowd management
  • Limited and designated entry and exit doors
  • One-way travel markers in hallways and corridors
  • Additional hand-sanitizing stations
  • 24/7 air circulation and hospital-grade air filters
  • Plexiglass shields at all service areas
  • Modified food service policies, including cashless and touchless point of sale, in subsequent stages (when allowed)
  • Enhanced training on COVID-19 related practices and protocols for all staff

A major highlight of Sweets & Snacks Expo each year is, of course, sampling the many offerings from exhibitors. Next year’s event will be different in that exhibitors must provide packaged samples measuring 2 ounces or less to attendees; more details on sample requirements will be available in December, officials say.

Of note for contractors, union regulations in Indianapolis differ from those in Chicago. Rigging and electrical will be handled by Indiana Convention Center, not by Freeman.

A complete schedule for the 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo will be available by February 2021, show officials say. As of now, the show is planned to return to McCormick Place May 23-26, 2022.

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: