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Show organizers say GIE+EXPO is a go

May 12, 2020 -  By


GIE+EXPO will be held as planned this year on Oct. 21- 23 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) in Louisville, said show organizers who also promise to design and develop a show and educational programming with all necessary safety protocols in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone is asking if GIE+EXPO is happening,” said Kris Kiser, president of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), managing partner of GIE+EXPO. “What I can say is the show is expected go on. We’re planning for it.”

OPEI said it is actively working with its trade show partners — the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) — to design a safe and responsible event that will offer programming and education that directly addresses the challenges faced by the pandemic. Also returning, held in conjunction with GIE+EXPO, is Hardscape North America, a long-standing co-located trade show.

“Our partners and our longtime show management are working hard to create and ensure the safest experience for attendees and exhibitors,” Kiser said. “The affected conference and meetings, facilities, hotel and food preparation and transportation industries also are undertaking a significant effort to develop protocols to operate safely in response to the pandemic. We’ll incorporate whatever those industries come up with as best practices.”

Kiser also said, “GIE+EXPO is fortunately held at the KEC, as it has been the last 38 years. The venue is flexible with multiple outdoor areas and buildings. We can easily spread out. We’ve got a million square feet and 20 acres of outdoor space at the KEC, so we’ve got a lot of room to work with. We have additional buildings such as the west wing, Broadbent Arena and other areas available to us that allow for expanding our show footprint as needed,” he said. “So, bring comfortable shoes because the physical footprint may get bigger to ensure your safety.”

Expansion is not new to GIE+EXPO, which has utilized many of the additional buildings the KEC offers as needed. “Last year, we were able to put up a 60-foot sugar maple in Freedom Hall, and plans are underway for our first-ever Drone Zone and UTV test track this fall,” Kiser said. “The show this year might look a little different, but if you feel safe going to your local garden center, dealership and grocery store, you should feel safe coming to GIE+EXPO.”

Kiser added that if there ever was a year to come to the show, 2020 is the one to attend. “We are saddened and frustrated by the pandemic situation and the ensuing losses we have faced but there is a need to learn from this, and GIE+EXPO’s leadership has pledged to offer programming that will do just that,” he said. “This year’s show offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience for businesses to get together and learn from one another about a once-in-a-lifetime scenario.”

Kiser also encouraged attendees not to wait to register for the event or book hotel stays. “To date,” he said, “registrations and exhibitor space reservations are on par with last year’s record-setting numbers. Anyone waiting to make hotel reservations or to register, don’t. There’s no risk to doing them early. Otherwise, you may not get your hotel of choice.”

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