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As the outdoor industry prepares to gather in person for the first time since early 2020, we now have more answers to some of the burning questions that many have asked since the dates were announced and registration opened: Who’s attending? What’s OR’s floor plan? What kind of events will be happening?
In the last few days, the organizers of both The Big Gear Show and Outdoor Retailer Summer unveiled their exhibitor lineups and other updates, such as floor plans and education and event schedules.
Not surprisingly, the shows will be smaller than usual. As Outside Business Journal has learned in recent months, some brands are hesitant to send their teams to Utah or Colorado while the pandemic still lingers. Others have tightened their travel budgets. And others still see the shows as being too late in the buying cycle to justify the expense.
But the shows will go on, and each one will offer myriad education sessions and events for the outdoor retail community. Based on what Outdoor Retailer and The Big Gear Show have told us in recent days, here’s a rundown of what each show has in the works.
The Big Gear Show updates
The newest addition to the trade show calendar is set for Aug. 3-5 in Park City, Utah. The Big Gear Show bills itself as an invitation-only, multi-category trade event for the paddlesports, cycling, climbing, and camping markets. Unlike other shows, The Big Gear Show will have its demo “fully integrated into the event,” giving retail buyers the chance to test gear each day of the show.
Last week, show organizers released a list of 126 exhibitors, offering our most complete picture to date of which brands will be in attendance.
The Big Gear Show also announced its lineup of education seminars, talks, and roundtables taking place during the three-day event. According to the event’s organizers, “Attendees can expect a curated and expansive range of educational opportunities to benefit their businesses.”
The Big Gear Show’s education track will include a variety of seminars and talks for retailers attending the show. Sessions include topics pertinent to the general outdoor specialty space and those designed for sport-specific buyers in paddlesports, cycling, and other hardgoods categories.
“The goal of these educational presentations is to bring people from multiple facets of the outdoor industry—bike, outdoor, and paddlesports—together for the first time in over a year and learn,” said Sutton Bacon, founder and co-owner of the show. “Much has changed in the industry—and the world—over the past year, and the Big Gear Show is the perfect place for us to collectively learn from all of these trials we’ve just been tested by.”
Outdoor Retailer Summer updates
After hosting virtual versions of its 2020 Summer and 2021 Snow Show events, Outdoor Retailer will be back at Colorado Convention Center in Denver from Aug. 10-12. The show, which is being held a couple of months later than normal due to Covid-related delays, has confirmed 352 exhibitors as of July 2.
On Friday, Outdoor Retailer also announced the floor plan for the Summer event, which should help buyers navigate their time during the event.
As for education, OR Summer has a full slate of sessions and events for exhibitors and attendees. The education curriculum will focus on how brands and retailers can thrive in the post-pandemic economy, while events are centered on reuniting as a community, culminating with the Inspiration Awards Watch Party on Aug. 11 from 7:30-9 p.m. MST. The schedule for all of these events is now public.
“For decades, we’ve seen the vibrant energy of our community in full effect at Outdoor Retailer, and the new opportunities to connect with each other and learn will continue to stoke that passion,” said Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer senior vice president and show director. “We’re looking forward to reuniting in Denver, to having in-person meetings, and to discovering all that’s new up close.”
Which show(s) do you plan to attend?
Here’s where the industry stands.