Trade Shows to Watch as Comeback Gears Up

May 28, 2021
Trade Shows to Watch as Comeback Gears Up

Fittingly, World of Concrete in Las Vegas will signal the return of trade shows as we know them. After all, the event organizers are looking to build a foundation of safety measures and business development in executing trade shows that remind the world of just how valuable meeting in-person can be.

While Surf Expo and other shows have drawn applause for operating during the pandemic, the schedule gets decidedly more crowded starting in June. Las Vegas will be fully open and other destinations will not be far behind. Buoyed by vaccination progress, a precipitous drop in COVID-19 cases and newly relaxed CDC guidelines, the recovery is about to be kicked up more than a few notches.

Here are few of the notable events across the country to watch as shows are finally ready to go on.

Las Vegas

World of Concrete
June 8-10
Las Vegas Convention Center

Guided by Informa AllSecure, show organizers have created a template to welcome thousands of attendees while maintaining social distancing and limiting touchpoints. WOC attracts approximately 1,500 exhibiting companies and occupies more than 700,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space, typically drawing 60,000 industry professionals, though that number will surely be less this year. Notably, this is the first of a series of 10 other keystone Vegas-based events Informa plans to operate through the end of the year.

VDTA • SDTA International Trade Show and Convention
June 12-14
Paris Hotel Conference Center

If returning to events feels like starting over for most of the industry, that holds doubly true here. CKC Management assumed management of this 40-year-old association’s show last July and Cindy Cummins took over as executive director. While hopes to reconvene in April were dashed, Cummins said it was too important to let another year pass (the last event was February 2019) without members meeting face-to-face. “We knew how crucial it was to get these retailer members together to help chart the direction for the Sewing and Floorcare industry and ultimately the next several years of this association,” she said.

Organizers predict about 50% of normal attendee numbers and 30% of typical exhibitors at the Paris. “We anticipate the exhibitors that are at this show will do really well with serious buyer attendees,” Cummins noted. Sessions will be limited to 60% capacity and the opening cocktail reception will be on the outdoor pool deck in a nod to safety. Masks will be encouraged for anyone in the exhibit halls who is not vaccinated.

World Education Congress
June 15-17
Caesars Forum

MPI has appropriately themed this annual industry event, “Make Your Future.” The show marks the return to its traditional Summer home after going forward last November in Grapevine, Texas. The goal is to give event professionals a blueprint for what conferences and live events will look like in a post-pandemic world. Initial estimates forecast approximately 1,500 in-person attendees and an additional 1,500 digital participants, MPI recently reported. 

“This is an incredible opportunity for MPI and our industry to meet the pent-up demand of a community of individuals whose entire sense of purpose was disrupted for a full calendar year,” said Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of Meeting Professionals International. “Imagine the excitement surrounding the first event back in 2021 while offering an experience where our attendees can make their future.”


Sweets & Snacks Expo
June 22-25
Indiana Convention Center

The National Confectioners Association was forced to relocate this year from its traditional home in Chicago. Indianapolis appears to be a sweet spot for the show, which typically draws 8,000 attendees. As of mid-May, 2,250 retail attendees representing 1,400 banners were registered and more than 70 suppliers to the candy and snacks industry had confirmed attendance. An important guideline for a show like this: All sample products must be individually wrapped (no putting your hand in the cookie jar!). Masks and social distancing rules also apply.

“This year, this event is even more important as confectionery and snack products have helped consumers improve their emotional well-being during a challenging time,” said John Downs, president & CEO of the National Confectioners Association. “We know after a year of treating and snacking at home during the pandemic, they’re hungry for new product innovation from their favorite brands.”

Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show
June 29-July 2
Indiana Convention Center

This in-person show is being executed four months after a virtual event in February. Using Informa AllSecure as its basis for safety, the event, pushed back a month from its original dates, will have all the trademarks of the COVID era. Organizers hope to match previous totals of 8,700 professionals in the sanitation industry.


June 6-9
Georgia World Congress Center

The return to in-person begins two weeks before the online element of this annual event geared toward the high frequency electronics industry. More than 300 companies have committed to fill more than 60,000 square feet of space, signaling a readying to return to business as close to usual as possible. Buffets and food stations are off the table as other safety measures are being developed in accordance with CDC guidelines. Masks will be mandatory.

June 11-13
Georgia World Congress Center

The largest CBD and Hemp event begins an international tour in Atlanta, touting the city’s accessibility to major cities in the Southeast. The event, which is open to the public, promises more than 300 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees.


Vision Expo East
June 2-5
Orange County Convention Center

The Vision Council and Reed Exhibitions are expecting more than 5,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors at this eyecare and eyewear industry event. In an effort to bolster strong attendance, both entities agreed to keep registration free this year. While limitations on international travel will keep numbers lower than normal, organizers are confident that the event will be one to be seen. 

“What’s so exciting about Vision Expo East Orlando is that we are expecting a comparable ratio of attendees to exhibitors as a typical Show, just on a smaller scale,” said Fran Pennella, vice president of Vision Expo/Reed Exhibitions. “The density of exhibitors and attendees is still on-track to be the same as a typical Show, which is just incredible and speaks to the industry’s readiness for the first national trade show since 2019.”

Auto Glass Week
June 7-9
Orange County Convention Center

Auto glass repair and replacement are ready to roll for this event that is partnering with nearby Rosen Plaza and Rosen Centre. Organizers are counting on the excitement of reuniting in-person and $50,000 worth of prizes to generate more than 1,000 attendees. 

“We are definitely sensing the industry’s excitement for our first event since 2019,” said Tricia Lopez, senior events director. “The depth of the educational program, the extensive number of new products and the competitions themselves (with more than $50,000 in prizes) will make this an exciting and memorable event for the auto glass industry.”

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