“We’re making some fundamental shifts and improvements that will elevate the show to the next level,” says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), which owns and manages the Equip Exposition show.
In a recent press release, show organizers announced a list of show changes:
A Tuesday evening Welcome Reception at Churchill Downs, which is marking the 150th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby this year, where attendees can see the recent upgrades to the racetrack. Sponsored by Caterpillar.
Kevin O’Connor from This Old House as keynote speaker Wednesday morning. Sponsored by Kress.
A special happy hour in Freedom Hall at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) starting just after the show closes on Wednesday. House band, the Crashers, will perform at the event.
A Thursday evening arena concert at the KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville featuring multi-platinum entertainer and musician, Trace Adkins, sponsored by Senix.
Expanded Spanish-language education focused on helping crew leaders become better managers.
The return of the very successful and well-attended Women’s Reception on Thursday evening, sponsored by SiteOne and Belgard.
More opportunities to connect in-person with social media influencers at events like the Morning Show at Expo, sponsored by Kohler, and Energize.
Improved logistics, including a shuttle bus drop-off at the West Wing which will improve parking lot congestion.
“We’ve listened to our attendees and are adding new experiences to give them more of what they want: Being with their peers, talking about business struggles and getting real answers,” says Kiser. “There’s no other place where landscapers, equipment manufacturers and dealers can come together to talk to each other, peer to peer, in such a supportive environment. Whether you need help with people, products or processes, the answers to your questions are at Expo.”
Show organizers say that the 2023 show brought together more than 27,000 participants from all 50 states and 46 countries. Landscape contractor registrations increased by 20 percent over the previous year, and dealers were up five percent.
“We’re always in expansion mode. Due to space demand last year, we opened up the West Wing to exhibitors to great success,” says Kiser. “And we’re going to improve the exhibitor experience there in 2024 by making the West Wing a much larger hub of activity, including putting our pet adoption event Mutt Madness, and the main food offerings there, as well as the Drone Zone, a golf simulation and an attendee lounge.”
The state of Kentucky, which owns the KEC, is planning a massive renovation to the facility, which will expand its footprint and reorient the building. “We’re looking forward to that project, as we continue to sell out our trade show floor,” Kiser said, adding that West Wing exhibitors will be “first in line for space when the new wing of the KEC is built on that side of the building. We believe it’s important to reward existing exhibitors; they will take priority when the KEC expands.”
“Louisville is a fantastic place for us; it’s the home for our global industry event. We’re committed to the city, and it’s committed to us,” says Kiser. “But since we take over Louisville for four days, I’m giving one word of advice: book your hotel and airline tickets early if you want to attend this year’s show. Those two things will grow scarcer with every passing month. And you won’t want to miss Expo—not this year.” Housing opportunities through the show’s official housing provider will open in February.