Once Upon a Trade Show

by Catherine Wilson, Editor

Ah, the trade show… business tool, conduit, necessary evil. We’ve just returned from the Greater New York Dental Meeting. Most important words in the proceeding sentence? New York. Macy’s Christmas windows. Times Square. Rockefeller Centre’s skating rink and newly reopened observation deck. The massive Christmas tree. Fantastic restaurants. Canal Street. Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane in the Odd Couple on Broadway. Carnegie Deli. Not that I saw any of these things. No time. Not me. No sir.

The 2005 GNYDM was the largest, most successful session to date at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Centre. The six-day event brought together a record crowd of more than 42,000 registrants. Attendees were drawn from 49 states plus Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. In addition, this year brought a large international attendance, with registrants from more than 70 nations (all partying in the room next to mine). In total, more than 10,000 dentists from around the world helped to make this session the largest dental congress in the United States. The GNYDM is brilliantly timed to coincide with US Thanksgiving, which kicks off the Christmas shopping season. I know all my family and friends absolutely giggle with joy knowing their gifts from me include minty fresh floss, a manual toothbrush, lip-smacking mouth rinse and sample-size paste!

In a previous life I edited a food magazine for just over a decade. Talk about your trade shows. Meat manufacturers. Poultry processors. Confectionery creators. Soft drink sellers. Produce producers. Fish mongers. Grape growers. Cereal sellers. Returning to Canada from a US show through Customs was always good for a chuckle.

Customs agent: Anything to declare, miss?

Me: Oh, the usual… a couple of tee-shirts, a book and a case a room temperature cocktail weenies.

Customs agent: Anything else? Cigarettes? Alcohol?

Me: Gosh no. Cigarettes’ll kill ya. I do have this cooler bag full of Jack Daniels Shooters and six genetically-modified cabbages.

Customs agent: Did you say two tee-shirts?

Now, I shouldn’t complain. The food processing industry — not to mention the dental industry — have been very good to me. Glamorous people, exotic locations… the wining, the dining. The four hour lectures.

Not everyone has it so lucky. Take, for example, this roster of upcoming trade shows:

* The International Window Film Expo

* The Pacific Northwest Regional Groundwater Expo

* Mecanex/Climatex

* HaircolorUSA

* The Show About Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance

* Futon Expo & Specialty Sleep Show

* Brake Colliquium & Exhibition

* NSBA World Steel Bridge Symposium

And who wouldn’t be first in line to attend the National Industrial Fastener Show?

Imagine the goodie bags from those gems!