Events and interesting facts that have shaped the industry.
1901 – Frederick Douglass addresses World Exposition
On January 2, 1893, Frederick Douglass delivered a speech at the dedication of the Haitian Pavilion during the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Douglass, who was a writer, abolitionist and publisher, had spent time in Haiti serving the Harrison Administration as a U.S. minister and general consul.
In the address, Douglass spoke about the history of Haiti, its evolution from slave colony to independent republic and the relevance to contemporary African Americans. He also spoke of the commercial potential and historical importance of Haiti. He argued for improved relations between Haiti and the U.S.
1910 – First air show held in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles International Air Meet, held January 10-20, 1910, was one of the first airshows in the world, and is considered the first airshow in the United States. Held in Los Angeles County, Calif., at Dominguez Field, the show attracted about 254,000 over 11 days.
The organizers of the event chose Los Angeles due to its favorable winter climate. Local businesses were mobilized to help sponsor the event. Although another area near Santa Anita Park was considered, the group selected Dominguez Field.
To prepare for the show, huge bleachers and stands were erected, an aviator’s camp was constructed and the passenger platform at the local Pacific Electric Railway station was also expanded to help accommodate incoming visitors.
1950 – High Point Market begins setting records
At the 1947 High Point Market, a home furniture show for designers, more than 5,000 buyers attended. The January 20 show was the first post-war Southern Exposition. Representatives from over 2,563 stores in 956 cities swarmed to high point.
Furniture sales at the show reached $5 billion. In fact, in the following years, High Point Market would set new attendance and revenue records, and in 1949, another building would be added.
1967 – Fire destroys McCormick Place
On January 15, 1967, janitors at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill., noticed smoke coming from the back of an exhibit booth at what was supposed to be the National Housewares Manufacturers Association Show. The event was scheduled to open Monday, January 16.
The janitors attempted to put out the fire by beating it woth brooms and pieces of carpeting, but as the flames quickly spread to the walls of the booth, the janitors called the Chicago Fire Department. Firefighters immediately responded and over 500 firefighters were brought to the scene.
Around 10 a.m., the fire was finally extinguished, and one security guard died. Investigations by the City of Chicago found several serious fire safety issues that had been looked over by McCormick Place management.
Tradeshow history as reported by Exhibit City News
1997 – Freeman adds air service company
To complete its full range of tradeshow support, Freeman added a sixth company to its roster on January 1, 1997. Freeman Air offered full support air services for tradeshows and expositions.
Don Freeman, Chairman and CEO of the company, made the announcement that the new company was developed to improve air and freight services. Along with the new company, Freeman also announced the alignment with Emery Worldwide to provide logistical support for Freeman Air customers.
2001 – DOMOTEX 2001 increases square footage
On January 13, 2001, more than 1,000 exhibitors from over 50 countries gathered in Hannover, Germany, to meet at DOMOTEX. Known as an important event for the carpet and floor covering industry, DOMOTEX attracted a wide range of exhibitors.
The net display space at DOMOTEX 2001 increased to 94,000 square meters, a four percent increase from 2000. Products and services included textile coverings, hand and machine-made carpets, parquet, laminate flooring, fibers and yarns and demonstrations of laying techniques. It was largely considered the world’s biggest forum for carpets and floor coverings.
2004 – Indianapolis hosts PCMA
In January 2004, more than 2,300 industry professionals gathered at the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome to attend the PCMA’s 48th Annual Meeting.
At the January 11 opening session, keynote speaker Karen Hughes, former counselor to President George W. Bush, addressed the challenges of balancing work and family. General sessions were hosted by speakers such as Terry Jones, CEO and founder of Travelocity.com, Michael Reichartz, VP of Expedia Inc., and Bjorn Hanson, managing partner for PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Along with the show was a day of complimentary educational sessions, provided by ACOM and held at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis.
2009 – EIF surpasses $1 million in fundraising
In the beginning of January 2009, the Exhibition Industry Foundation (EIF) announced that their Foundation Partnership Initiative surpassed the $1 million mark. At the core of the Initiative was a drive to raise funds to support EIF’s mission to ensure the success of the exhibiting and events industry.
EIF surpassed the $1 million goal mainly due to a $50,000 donation from ICAT Logistics. In the spring of 2008, EIF conducted a thorough assessment of the tradeshow industry that led to data about what areas need improvement and new trends on the show floor.