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A Glimpse at Tradeshow History (May)

Events and interesting facts that have shaped the industry.

Pan-American Exposition1901 – Pan-American Exposition opens in New York
On May 1, 1901, the Pan-American Exposition opened in Buffalo, New York. The World’s Fair event ran until November 2 and occupied 350 acres of what is now known as Delaware Park.

In July 1898, Congress put aside $500,000 for the Expo to be held in Buffalo. Nikola Tesla, the man known for modern commercial electricity, had invented a system of alternating power for distant transfer of electricity, which allowed the Exposition to be lit using power generated at Niagara Falls.

However, the Expo is most memorable because U.S. President William McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist at the Temple of Music during the event. He died eight days after the shooting.

1957 – ICSC elects first president
The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) elected its first president on May 14, 1957. Previously, the association had been incorporated in Illinois by a group of men who met in Chicago.

The seven men, Albert Lowery, Robert Peters, Howard Senor, Clyde Brown, Michael Lewis, James Osberg and Harold Spurway, each contributed $500 to form the first shopping center trade association. Bylaws were established in March 1957.

With Lowery as chairman, 36 members met again in Chicago in May 1957 to elect the first board of trustees. The group elected Leonard Farber to be ICSC’s first president.

1987 – McCormick Place dedicatedMcCormick Place
McCormick Place North, an annex built onto the existing McCormick Place, was dedicated on May 8, 1987. The annex was added to keep up with the growing demand of the tradeshow market.

In 1984, the state of Illinois approved $252 million in dedicated state revenue bonds for the construction project. Again in 1985, another $60 million in bonds were issued, backed by the Illinois state tax, to help complete McCormick Place North.

In 1987, the new building opened and contained more than 510,000 square feet of extra exhibit space and meeting rooms. The addition allowed McCormick place the ability to host 41 trade shows lasting a total of 150 days, compared to 31 shows over 107 days in 1986.

Tradeshow history as reported by Exhibit City News

2000 – Omaha voters support convention center
In May 2000, voters in Omaha, Neb., turned out in substantial numbers to endorse construction of a downtown convention center and arena.

Voters supported the $198 million bond issue toward the funding of the center. They also gave strong support to amending the city charter to create an independent operating authority for the facility. With the passing of these ballots, construction for the new project was anticipated to begin in January 2001.

The 422-acre site was slated for just north of downtown Omaha. The convention center was expected to have 195,000 square feet of exhibit space, including an area with seating for more than 17,000 people.

LVCA2005 – LVCA expands marketing targets
At the May 10, 2005, LVCVA Board of Directors meeting, Rossi Ralenkotter, LVCVA president, proposed a record-setting goal of 43 million visitors by 2009.

To improve Vegas’ profile among meeting planners and tradeshow organizers, the LVCVA planned new advertising campaigns specifically geared toward the meeting industry theme.

The new ad campaign was part of a five-year plan to expand on the city’s growth and intent to add 15,000 new hotel rooms.

2009 – Travel Rally Day hosted by Smart CityTravel Rally Day
Smart City Networks, along with the U.S. Travel Association and the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) proclaimed the importance of travel and tourism to local and national economies as part of Travel Rally Day, held on May 12, 2009.

The U.S. Travel Association organized more than 40 Travel Rally Day events across the U.S. This provided an outlet to the 2.4 million Americans whose jobs depended on business travel, conventions, meetings and events. The goal was to unite community workers and supporters and publicly represent the travel and meeting industries to the media, elected officials and residents with a message that says travel matters.

The entire Smart City team, including president Mark Haley, were in attendance to the May 12 rally, which was held at the LVCC.

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