They’re Back! A Return to Live Trade Shows

They’re Back! A Return to Live Trade Shows

Green Industry Welcomes the
Return of Live Events

As America begins to normalize in the aftermath of COVID, green industry professionals eagerly anticipate the return of live trade shows.

Still, these exhibitions could look a little different this year. Here are a few post-pandemic changes which trade show attendees can expect:

  • There may be fewer exhibition booths, with wider aisles, to accommodate social distancing.
  • There may also be limited to the number of attendees for certain events and pre-registration may be required for some presentations.
  • Plenty of hand-sanitizing stations, and masks may be required for all attendees at some trade shows, depending on location.
  • Some trade shows may incorporate a “hybrid” approach, offering both physical and virtual components.

Irrigation and green industry professionals are hailing the return of two particular live trade show events, GIE+EXPO (the Green Industry & Equipment Expo) and the 2021 Irrigation Show.


Dates: October 20-22, 2021
Place: Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville KY

Touted as the green industry’s largest trade show, GIE+EXPO is more than ready to return after last year’s pandemic-related cancellation.

Warren Sellers, trade show manager, has stated that both exhibitors and attendees are clamoring to get back together in person. A recent survey revealed that 91% of landscape professionals who are past attendees are likely to attend this year’s expo.

Mutt Madness

The TurfMutt Foundation, through a partnership with the Kentucky Humane Society, will once again sponsor Mutt Madness at GIE+EXPO on Thursday, October 21, from 11:00 to 2:00.

Expo attendees can take a break from the show floor to visit and/or adopt rescue dogs in Freedom Hall. At the 2019 Mutt Madness, 15 dogs found their forever homes.

The 2021 GIE+EXPO will once again include:

  • More than 20 acres of outdoor demonstration area
  • Arborist and hardscape demonstrations
  • New products spotlight
  • Plenty of workshops and educational opportunities

Plus, new this year will be:

  • A UTV test track
  • A hands-on Drone Zone
  • Technology Summit presented by the National Association of Landscape Professionals

Of particular interest to irrigation professionals is the Irrigation Symposium, “Landscape Irrigation 2021: Opportunities and Challenges,” hosted by the Irrigation Association and scheduled for Wednesday, October 20. A panel of irrigation experts will share real-world analyses and solutions for the landscape irrigation industry. Cost for the session is $85 and pre-registration is required.

2021 Irrigation Show & Education Week

Dates: December 6-10, 2021
Place: San Diego Convention Center, San Diego CA

The focus of the 2021 Irrigation Show is connecting irrigation professionals with the suppliers of irrigation technology, products, and services via in-person networking. This year, there will be no keynote address or general session, and the traditional opening night reception will now be a Craft Brewfest, sponsored by Hunter Industries, on the showroom floor.

Education Week Seminars

Below is a listing of landscape irrigation seminars sponsored by Site One, which are being offered during IA’s Education Week. Click the course title for additional information.

Do the Math

The IA will be offering a FREE Math Tutorial on Tuesday evening, December 7. The two-hour intensive tutorial will provide a review of the most common formulas and calculations used when designing, installing, auditing and maintaining irrigation systems.

Beginner Courses:

Intermediate Courses

Advanced Courses

Business Courses (Intermediate)


For all of the above-listed courses…

Certification Courses

In addition, from Dec. 7-10, the IA and Site One will be offering a network of in-person written certification exams for the following:

Featured Image: GIE+EXPO
Irrigation Association


Virtual Trade Shows – What You Need to Know

Virtual Trade Shows – What You Need to Know

From Simple to Sophisticated, This Year’s
Trade Shows Have Gone Virtual

You log on to the trade show website at the designated time, where you’re greeted by Tony, a three-dimensional, fully animated avatar.

Tony provides you with a guided tour of the entire exposition center, including the auditorium, break-out discussion rooms, exhibit hall, virtual lounge, and information booth.

Welcome to the world of virtual trade shows, where real-time demonstrations and interactions are commonplace. While the COVID-19 pandemic has put the kibosh on in-person trade shows this year (including the 2020 Irrigation Show), virtual shows have stepped up to fill in the gap.

These shows offer numerous benefits: they can save both time and money, and they can extend a company’s global reach. But virtual events are not without their own challenges. For instance, they must present compelling content that will keep their audience continually engaged.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when sponsoring, exhibiting at, or attending a virtual show…

Sponsoring a Virtual Trade Show

The first question you need to ask yourself as a virtual trade show sponsor is: How sophisticated do I want my show to be? Virtual shows run the gamut from simple online interviews and basic webinars to second-generation avatars like Tony, who can move from booth to booth and event to event.

If you choose to go with the basic approach requiring no special technical platform, make sure your presentation materials are concise, engaging and memorable. Unlike in-person shows, virtual attendees can move on at the click of a button, so keep it short and sweet. Trim down your keynote speeches and webinars to make them more sharp and focused. Interaction is key, so be sure there’s some sort of online chat or Q and A function.

—Article Continues Below—

At the other end of the spectrum, there’s a plethora of virtual event vendors who offer a wide range of capabilities. The most sophisticated platforms help create the same energy as a physical show, with 360-degree imaging and attendee-controlled avatars that move around the exhibit hall.

When selecting a platform, choose one that can be tailored to your specific needs. For example, is your primary goal to educate your attendees? Then you may want to focus on the “auditorium” section of the platform, where online classes and demonstrations are presented. If, on the other hand, product exhibition is your focus, try to provide multiple capabilities to the vendors—such as live chats with company reps and other attendees, guest speaker-hosted sessions, contact forms for lead capture and reporting, downloadable brochures and videos.

Networking is a key component of any trade show — virtual or otherwise. Which is why many vendors offer a virtual lounge for both standard and video chats.


As a sponsor or exhibitor, you can help facilitate networking by scheduling group chats or posting discussion topics.


Regardless of your approach, it’s best to combine both pre-recorded and live elements for your virtual show.  For instance, you can string together pre-recorded clips with live introductions, or provide live break-out sessions following pre-recorded classes.

One final tip: Whichever format you choose, make sure the navigation is simple and easy to follow, to keep from losing your audience.

For Exhibitors and Attendees

Before you participate in a virtual trade show—especially as an exhibitor—you may wish to ask the show’s organizers a few questions, such as:

  1. When was the show first launched? If it’s has been around for several years, it should already have established a following. On the other hand, if the virtual show is fresh out the gates, there would be no data to ascertain its success. But you’ll want to make sure these measures are put into place. (See Question 7,  below.)
  2. What is the cost to participate, and what does that include? Most trade show organizers offer exhibitors an online booth for posting videos, white papers and demos. They may also have live chat capability. Above all, make sure there’s a way to capture leads.
  3. What are the show’s beginning and end dates? Typically a virtual show remains open for the same duration as the physical trade show, and then extends 30 to 60 days after the show. So it’s important to know if your participation fee is buying you 10 days or 60 days. Also, check into how long attendees will have access to your online exhibit. You’ll want to be able to update it to keep the information fresh.
  4. How will the show be promoted? Both in-person and virtual shows require a strong promotional strategy in order to be successful. Show producers should use multiple promotional methods to reach previous in-person trade show attendees as well as other members of your target audience.
  5. Is a demo available? Ask the show sponsors for a demo, so you can experience the look and feel of the virtual show just like the attendees and other exhibitors will. Also, if your staff is not familiar with the various virtual show features, will they have access to a tutorial?
  6. Is there an emergency contact? Virtual trade shows require adequate technical support. Make sure you’re provided with contact information in the event of any problem, technical or otherwise.
  7. What tracking and reporting mechanisms will be used? You’ll want detailed information about who attended the show, which booths they visited and for how long, which documents they downloaded, and what questions they asked.

Some Final Tips

When staffing your virtual booth, it’s important to select reps with strong digital communication skills, as well as product knowledge and relationship-building skills. Make sure the reps you choose can express themselves well in electronic communications and are comfortable with video conferencing.

Prospects love to hear from people like them. So make sure your virtual booth allows reps to share testimonials, unique facts and compelling statistics. Your message should cut through the clutter and prompt attendees to stay engaged.

Featured Image: Adobe, License Granted


2020 Irrigation Show Will Be Virtual

2020 Irrigation Show Will Be Virtual

IA Offering a Host of Webinars
for Education Week

First, the bad news: The national Irrigation Association’s 2020 Irrigation Show, originally scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 4 in San Antonio, has been cancelled due to social distancing requirements.

Now, the good news: The educational component of the traditional Irrigation Show will be offered virtually as part of the IA’s Education Week, Nov. 30-Dec. 4. These webinars will include IA University classes normally offered in person.

Education Week Webinars

Below is a listing of the landscape irrigation webinars sponsored by Site One, which are scheduled for Education Week. Click the course link for additional information.

Beginner Courses:


The IA will be offering a FREE Math Tutorial during Education Week, Nov. 30-Dec.4. The one-hour tutorial will provide an intensive review of the most common calculations and formulas used in irrigation system design, installation, audits and maintenance.

Intermediate Courses

Advanced Courses

Business Courses (Intermediate)

Certification Courses

In addition, from Dec.7-18, the IA and Site One will be offering a network of in-person written certification exams after completion of the following Education Week courses:


For all of the above-listed courses…

Trade Show Networking

A primary component of any trade show is the social networking. To this end, the IA is continuing to work with exhibitors in an effort to offer networking opportunities, as well as to deliver information on cutting-edge irrigation technologies, products and services.

Looking for a particular vendor or product? Then check out the IA Preferred Vendor Directory, where you’ll find a list of all virtual show exhibitors and contact information. You can also peruse the various entries in the 2020 New Product Contest and cast your vote by Nov. 18 by for the most innovative products or services.

Featured Image: Pixabay
Irrigation Association 

Irrigation Show Set for December 2-6, 2019

 Las Vegas Convention Center,
December 2-6 

Did you know that the Irrigation Association’s annual Irrigation Show is the world’s biggest trade show dedicated to irrigation professionals?

It’s where the irrigation industry comes together to network, learn and promote irrigation.

Register by Nov. 1 to save on education classes, full registration and exhibits. Discount housing is also open, and attendees can book their hotel online.

To download the Irrigation Association’s 31-page Registration Brochure, click here.

Collaborative Effort

This year’s Irrigation Show is being co-located with the National Ground Water Association and American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association.

The collaboration hopes to provide an action-packed week focused on the one resource we all strive to manage responsibly — water.

The show floor will give you a firsthand look at all of the latest products, services and technologies in landscape irrigation to help you expand your business, satisfy customers and grow your bottom line.

With two days to explore the exhibits, you can:

  • Inspect the latest technologies at the new product contest and watch the judging
  • Find solutions to ancillary landscape markets such as ponds, waterscapes and outdoor lighting.
  • Check out new and innovative products, and services.
  • Explore new suppliers.
  • Learn about the latest business trends and irrigation best practices.

For exhibitor information, including booth space fees, assignment, and a 2019 floor plan, click here.

Educational Opportunities

One of the top reasons for attending the Irrigation Show and Education Week is the comprehensive educational offerings.

Education Week offers five days of seminars, technical programs and education classes conducted by some of the industry’s leading experts and researchers. You can discover the latest cutting-edge research, technologies, techniques and best practices in landscape irrigation, while earning valuable CEUs.

This year’s “Industry Insights” promise to take the educational sessions to a whole new level. Here’s a taste of the new and different topics being offered during Industry Insights:

  • The Irrigation Consumer Bill of Rights
  • Mobile apps for water conservation in turfgrass
  • The H-2A & H-2B guest worker program
  • Severe weather and ways to protect your crew and clients
  • Social media and how to use it in your business
  • Rainwater collection Wi-Fi technology and how to incorporate it in your business
  • Research updates and reports from around the country

These sessions vary from 30- to 90-minute formats and include everything from single presentations to panel discussions.

Certification Exams

Exams for the following certification programs will also be available at this year’s Irrigation Show:

Irrigation Association

Irrigation Show 2018 Is Set

Irrigation Show 2018 Is Set

December 3-7 at the Long Beach Convention
and Entertainment Center

Irrigation Show 2018 is the only national trade show designed specifically for irrigation professionals.

It’s where the irrigation industry comes together to network, learn and promote irrigation. (Did you know it’s also the world’s biggest irrigation trade show?)

Register by Nov. 1 to save on education classes, full registration and exhibits. Discount housing is also open, and attendees can book their hotel online.

To download the Irrigation Association’s 24-page Registration Brochure, click here.

More than 4,000 distributors, dealers, contractors, consultants and growers are expected to attend this year’s event in Long Beach, California. You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Check out new and innovative products, technologies and services.
  • Explore new suppliers.
  • Learn about the latest business trends and irrigation best practices.
  • Network with current business partners and with industry leaders who share the Ohio IA’s commitment to efficient irrigation.

New This Year: Radio Row

Radio Row is a dedicated space for radio stations and podcasts from across the country to provide live broadcasts and interviews with irrigation professionals and experts attending the Irrigation Show. See some of your favorite ag radio and podcast hosts live and in action.

irrigation showExtended Floor Hours

This year, show floor hours have been extended to 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6.

Educational Opportunities

You can discover great ideas, learn new skills and earn CEUs with some of the industry’s most experienced professionals. Landscape irrigation topics for educational classes at this year’s Irrigation Show include:

  • Pumps and Soils
  • Landscape Irrigation Design
  • Advanced Irrigation Wiring Methods
  • Hydraulic Troubleshooting
  • Alternative Water for Landscape Irrigation
  • Landscape Drip Irrigation Design
  • Two-Wire Technology Systems for Landscapes
  • The Business of Landscape Irrigation Contracting

One-hour seminars will provide detailed coverage on a focused topic in landscape irrigation. Seminars are open to all attendees with a full registration. Participants will earn 1.00 CEU for each hour. This year’s topics will include:

  • Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers
  • Low-Impact Development and Irrigation
  • Impacts of Irrigation in Building Rating Systems
  • Using Drones to Improve Irrigation Management

Certification Exams

Exams for the following certification programs will also be available at this year’s Irrigation Show:

Irrigation Association
Landscape Management