In-person trade shows are back, but attendees at this week’s inaugural Big Gear Show in Park City and next week’s Outdoor Retailer Summer in Denver are in for a much different experience than they’re used to when traveling to industry events.
Handshakes, hugs, and high-fives will be replaced with head nods, foot taps, and fist bumps. Masks will be prevalent at both shows—required at Outdoor Retailer, requested at The Big Gear Show. And fewer exhibitors and retailers will be walking the show floor (OR) or open-air venue (BGS).
But the fact that the industry is gathering in person for the first time in a year and a half will be a welcome change to yet another Zoom call.
While it’s time to celebrate, it remains a time for caution. To find out the latest safety measures for each show, especially as the Delta variant of Covid sweeps across the country, we reached out to organizers of The Big Gear Show and Outdoor Retailer so readers could best prepare for their trips to Utah and Colorado. Here’s what they shared.
The Big Gear Show
Originally scheduled for 2020, The Big Gear Show makes its long-awaited debut this week in Park City. The nascent trade show has the distinct advantage of being held entirely outside, noted show director Kenji Haroutunian.
Still, the show’s organizers want a safe trade show for everyone. Last week, Haroutunian sent a list of Covid expectations and housekeeping items to let attendees know what they can expect at the inaugural event. The note said that show-goers will encounter the following at registration:
- Two screening questions: 1) Have you had any of the following symptoms in the past two weeks, even if they were mild? And 2) Have you had close contact with a person who tested positive for or is under investigation for possible COVID-19 in the last two weeks?
- A temperature check (no testing 100 degrees will be allowed to enter).
- A complimentary Outdoor Research mask—though masks will be requested, not mandated throughout the show.
- Sanitizing stations.
- Liability waivers, which will be required for everyone attending.
The Big Gear Show will also incorporate a lanyard system that will allow attendees to alert others to their comfort level regarding contact.
- Red means: “Please keep six feet and masks on, I have vulnerables in my circle.”
- Yellow means: “Nervous about transmission, but OK with elbows and fist bumps and short close contact sessions.”
- And Green means: “Come in for the hug, I’m confident I won’t get or spread anything.”
“The show is set to go off and I’ve had dozens of conversations with exhibitors about the safety measures we’ve put in place,” Haroutunian said. “The feeling of being in a wild mountain environment, all outside, with all of us able to easily convey personal comfort levels is a next-level solution that came from listening closely to trusted industry friends.”
Outdoor Retailer Summer
The outdoor industry’s signature trade show might be smaller than normal and later in the calendar, but it will have many of its usual hallmarks, including being held inside Colorado Convention Center and offering a full lineup of education and networking sessions. One big difference this year is the lack of a demo day.
Per CDC guidelines, OR leadership has confirmed the following safety guidelines for the show:
- Attendees who are not fully vaccinated must wear a face mask at all times.
- Attendees who are fully vaccinated are encouraged but not required to wear masks.
Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer senior vice president and show director, said that with a week to go, the OR team is mindful of the recent changes in Covid infections and is monitoring the situation closely.
She stressed that the “current safety plan is available on our website and complies with the latest Colorado and Denver health policies and CDC guidelines.”
“As we plan for Outdoor Retailer Summer, we are working diligently with show partners to ensure the health and safety of all attendees, exhibitors, workforce, and staff at the show,” she said. “We are monitoring the virus and variant cases, and we’re tracking updates in COVID-19 protocols both nationally and in Denver. If mandates change within the state of Colorado or city of Denver, or if guidelines change with the CDC, we will modify our health and safety protocol accordingly. The Outdoor Retailer team is committed to creating an event experience where everyone can safely and effectively conduct business.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story cited outdated safety requirements at Outdoor Retailer’s summer show, including mask and temperature-check requirements. The article has been updated to reflect the show’s current safety standards.