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A Glimpse at Tradeshow History (March)

1909 – Railroad completed in time for international tradeshow
On March 29, 1909, workers laid the last rail of the Chicago, Milwaukee and Puget Sound Railway line, in time to make it possible for passengers to attend the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition.

The exposition, held on the University of Washington campus, attracted nearly four million people from all over the world between the days of June 1st and October 16th.

The Southern Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad also brought attendees from places like California and Kansas City. Large steamships brought people from places like Scandinavia and Asia. These ships also made stops in Norway, Sweden and Denmark to pick up more passengers wanting to go to the Exposition.
Source: www.historylink.org

1939 – Seattle fights The Great Depression
On March 25, 1939, the Civic Auditorium, now known as the Seattle Center, held Seattle’s first National Housing Exposition of the Northwest in hopes of stimulating the housing economy in the wake of the Great Depression.

The show featured more than 100 display booths, covering everything from financing to furnishings, with hopes to help boost the construction industry.

As quoted in Seattle’s daily newspaper, the Post-Intelligencer, “After ten years in which home building has languished, the United States as a whole and this region in particular have wakened to the fact that there is a serious housing shortage and steps are being taken to remedy it.”

The National Housing Exposition ran for eight days, attracting 77,000 attendees.
Source: www.historylink.org

Japan World Expo - Hong Kong Pavilion tiger dance

Japan World Expo – Hong Kong Pavilion tiger dance

1970 – 64 million attend Japan World Expo


The Japan World Expo ’70 was held in the in Osaka, a venue, which spanned 1.25 square miles.

The exhibitors included 76 countries, four international institutions, one administrative district (Hong Kong), three American states, one German city, two companies and 32 organizations in Japan. Exhibits were shown at 116 pavilions.

The Hong Kong Pavilion was decorated with 13 large sails and located in the middle of an artificial lake.

Dancing and fashion parades were common entertainment throughout the Expo. On March 19, Hong Kong Day, a traditional lion dance was performed by Hong Kong students.
Source: www.hkexpo2010.gov.hk


ComFish1982 – ComFish leaves its hatchery
ComFish, an Alaska-based marine trade fair, originally began in 1980 in a small borrowed tent from the National Guard as part of the annual Crab Festival in May. Throughout the 1980s, however, the event grew so large that it had to be moved to an airplane hangar lent out by the U.S. Coast Guard.

In 1982, ComFish was moved to the month of March, and by 1986, the trade fair attracted over 80 exhibitors. By 1990, the show displayed over 130 booths and had to be moved into an airplane hangar.

Starting in the 1990s, it became a custom for candidates vying for Alaska governor to attend ComFish and participate in a debate, where the only topic was Alaska’s seafood industry.
Source: www.comfishalaska.com

Tradeshow history reported by Exhibit City News

Geraldine Burpee

Geraldine Burpee

1999 – Showfloor mom injured during installation


On March 22, 1999, Geraldine Burpee was injured during the installation of the CONEXPO/CONAG show held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. CONEXPO is a 3.5 million square-foot show that inhabits all of the Las Vegas Convention Center, as well as all parking lots and surrounding areas.

Burpee was working with the decorating department of the show when she was accidentally pinned between a dolly and a pillar near a forklift. The 63-year-old woman was taken to the University Medical Center by an ambulance, where she had her jaw wired shut and a steel plate surgically placed near her left eye.

“The showfloor is full of wonderful people and I miss them all,” Burpee said. “My family and I wish to thank all our friends and co-workers for their support and prayers through this ordeal.”

2001 – Reno breaks $105 million of ground

Reno-Sparks Convention Center groundbreaking

Reno-Sparks Convention Center groundbreaking

The Reno-Sparks Convention Center (RSCC) broke ground on its new $105 million expansion in March 2001.

The new building expansion, which began on March 6, 2001, was completed in October 2002. The addition of the new space gave the RSCC about 500,000 square feet of rentable space and 381,000 square feet of exhibition space.

2005 – Copyright battle ensues on tradeshow floor
The EXHIBITOR Show, which ran March 14 to 17, 2005, at the Mandalay Bay, housed a legal battle over copyright infringement between two exhibiting companies. Octanorm USA of Georgia obtained a restraining order on March 11 against Changzhou Lingtong Exhibition Products of China.

Octanorm complained that the Chinese company stole the patent for its mechanical fastener as well as Octanorm’s trademark logo. The restraining order barred the company from exhibiting at the show, and the booth was draped in cloth to keep attendees from peering inside.

During the next few days, the booth re-opened while Lingtong’s lawyers sifted through equipment, removing all traces of the logo, as well as aluminum tension lock devices for displays and exhibit systems. The Chinese company gave no comment on the dispute.

2009 – Don’t throw that away
In March 2009, Freeman Exhibit Services began offering “green” alternatives to the tradeshow industry. The contemporary designs were eco-friendly and functional.

Freeman also reduced waste by implementing a digital ordering system and reducing after-show waste through the use of reusable fabric rather than paper.

Melissa Nathan, founder and chief innovation officer of Blue Avocado, an exhibitor at the Natural Products event, loved Freeman’s “green” booth alternative.

“It was beautiful, provided amazing amounts of storage and accurately reflected Blue Avocado’s commitment to reducing the carbon impact on the planet,” she said. “At our company, we work hard to do good and get it done. Freeman’s new environmental booth made it easy for us to keep that promise.”


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