The first three months of the year can be dreary for many Utahns. The holidays are over and the spring camping, gardening and travel season seems like it may take forever to arrive in the midst of smoggy and frozen winter days.
Perhaps that’s why January, February and March are among the busiest times of the years for public consumer shows where vendors sell such things as automobiles, recreation vehicles, home improvements, boats and vacations.
Winter and spring consumer shows
South Towne Expo Center, Sandy
Jan. 10-12 » Salt Lake Home Show
Jan. 17-20 » Utah International Auto Show
Jan. 23 » Business Marketplace
Jan. 24-25 » Morris Murdock Travel Show
Jan. 24-25 » Bridal Showcase
Jan. 27-29 » Utah Green Industry Conference and Tradeshow
Feb. 1-2 » Crossroads of the West Gun Show
Feb. 6-9 » Utah Boat Show and Watersports Expo
Feb. 13-16 » Sportsmans Vacation and RV Show
Feb. 21-22 » Sports, Health and Fitness Expo
Feb. 22 » Safe Kids Fair
March 1-2 » Rocky Mountain Gun Show
March 7-9 » Salt Lake Tribune Spring Home and Garden Festival
March 13-16 » International Sportsmen’s Expo
March 21-23 » AutoRama
March 21-22 » Healthy Lifestyle Expo
March 28-29 » Wasatch Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo
March 28-30 » Gem Faire
March 28-29 » The Original Scrapbook USA Expo
April 5 » Spring Bridal Extravaganza
April 11-12 » What a Woman Wants Expo
April 12-13 » Crossroads of the West Gun Show
"There are many reasons that their [the consumer shows] traditional market is in the first quarter of the year," said Dan Hayes, general manager for the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy that hosts many of the major events. "It has a lot to do with when the product is coming to market and where folks see themselves going in the slower times. …Weather is certainly a factor. The public is interested in engaging in activities and entertainment where they can be indoors and inside. That factors into why the public show season is in the traditional first quarter."
That’s why the sprawling South Towne Expo Center will host 21 open-to-the-public consumer shows between now and the end of April.
Though fewer and smaller than the events held in Salt Lake County, the Dixie Center in St. George and the Davis County Convention Center in Layton also have trade shows scheduled that include bridal shows, home shows, gun shows and a senior expo planned.
Hayes said that from an attendance standpoint, the Festival of Trees held during the Christmas holiday season draws the biggest crowds. The Utah International Auto Expo, the International Sportsmen’s exposition and The Salt Lake Tribune Spring Home and Garden Festival use the most space.
South Towne offers 240,000 square feet of exhibit space, another 16,000 square feet of meeting room space and, for the big shows, uses 15,000 square feet of lobby space.
That facility was constructed in large measure to free the Salt Palace from hosting the consumer shows — leaving it open to book major conventions, most of which are not open to the public. The biggest during the winter is the annual Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, which brings about 25,000 people into Salt Lake City.
The South Towne Expo Center shows are popular with consumers because dozens if not hundreds of vendors gather in a single place. By wandering the aisles at a boat, auto, garden or RV show, attendees get a chance to compare products and prices.
For sellers, the shows not only produce sales but sales contacts, who might come to a location after an initial meeting at one of the events.
The overlap of many of the shows is such that exhibitors also may work two, three or even four shows, selling the same products to buyers often in the mood to shop.
These events might not bring spring and summer any quicker, but they do help folks dream of what they want to do in the outdoors or at their homes in the coming season.
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