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If it's winter in Utah, it must be consumer show season
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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.

"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.

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribtomwharton ­—

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

Sandy • South Towne Expo Center gears up for big crowds.
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