For the headline above, I almost wrote that GIE+EXPO has reached Titanic proportions (as a play on this year’s keynote by Dr. Robert Ballard, the deep sea explorer who discovered the wreckage of the Titanic). However, I thought that might convey the wrong connotation, as things did not end so well for the luxury liner. GIE+EXPO, on the other hand, continues to pick up steam year after year and is full speed ahead.
The 2018 GIE+EXPO was held Oct. 17-19 at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Ky., and was another record-breaking event. The show topped the last four years’ records in both attendance and exhibitors – making it the largest ever for this mega show. According to show management:
- More than 24,700 people from around the world attended, representing a 3 percent increase over 2017.
- With 1,000 exhibits, the indoor show floor and Outdoor Demonstration Area were larger than ever.
- Servicing Dealer registrants were up 5 percent over 2017.
- Lawn and landscape pro registrants were up 7 percent over 2017.
- All 50 states and more than 50 countries were represented.
- The indoor show floor was 40,000 gross square feet larger than in 2017.
- The Outdoor Demonstration Area covered more than 20 acres.
- There were 250 new exhibitors in GIE+EXPO and the co-located Hardscape North America.
Much more regarding the 2018 GIE+EXPO can be found in our Post-show Recap, but here are a few highlights:
GIE+EXPO 2018 featured a different schedule format. In recent years, the show began Wednesday at 3 p.m. with Wednesday being Dealer Day on the show floor (dealers, retailers and media only) with Thursday and Friday being open to all industry attendees. GIE+EXPO 2018, on the other hand, began at noon on Wednesday with “Dealer Day” hours from noon-3 p.m., and then the show opened to all attendees on Wednesday from 3-7 p.m. In addition to show hours beginning earlier this year, the show also ended earlier on Friday (2 p.m.) than it has in past years. It will be interesting to see if the same hours and format are maintained moving forward or if additional adjustments are made to the schedule.
As mentioned, Dealer Day kicked off with the keynote by Dr. Ballard, and was followed by a wealth of dealer education opportunities throughout the afternoon and early evening, including the third annual UTV University.
Mutt Madness, a dog adoption event for attendees at GIE+EXPO, took place Thursday, October 18 in Freedom Hall at the Kentucky Exposition Center. There were mature dogs up for adoption as well as a couple litters of puppies.
Fourth Street Live!
Attendees to GIE+EXPO and HNA were treated to three nights of free entertainment at Fourth Street Live in downtown Louisville. The Crashers rocked it out Tuesday night; on Wednesday night, Kelleigh Bannen opened for country/rap singer Colt Ford; and on Thursday night Mackenzie Porter opened for country music headliner Jana Kramer. The free concerts were sponsored by Bob-Cat Mowers and Mercedes-Benz Vans.
Show management estimated that there were more new products than ever as the number of exhibitors on display. In addition, visitors to the Outdoor Demonstration Area on Thursday and Friday were treated to sunny weather for test-driving equipment. Members of the media were treated to a full slate of press conferences from leading OPE manufacturers, highlighting the latest news and new products. Those product introductions and much more can be found in our full GIE+EXPO 2018 Post-show Recap.
GIE+EXPO 2019 will be held October 16-18, 2019 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. For more information, visit www.gie-expo.com.