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Top 10 Chicago Trade Shows

chicago tradeshows top 10Chicago is one of the biggest Trade Show and Event venues in North America, and Chi-town’s McCormick Place is the largest show hall in the United States.  All of the following events, with the exception of NeoCon, are taking place there!

We have identified the top 10 upcoming Chicago trade shows.  The ranking is based primarily on data of recent attendance and number of exhibitors, with some special consideration for square footage and recent growth.

1.  The top show this year is the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), which is known as “the largest and longest running manufacturing technology trade show in the United States.”  The show takes place every other year.   For 2012, IMTS has teamed up with Deutsche Messe, one of the largest show organizers in Europe, to co-locate the first-ever Industrial Automation North America (IANA) with IMTS.  The show theme for 2012 is “Be There” and is a call to action for the industrial decision makers from all over the world who will attend IMTS to get ideas and find answers to their manufacturing problems and challenges but, most importantly, to stay ahead of their competition.  The show just wrapped up at Chicago’s McCormick Place Sept. 10-15, 2012.  More info can be found at the official IMTS wesbite.

2.  PACK EXPO also takes place at McCormick every other year and has some exciting developments this year.  According to the show, “PACK EXPO International 2012 is the only trade show to offer packaging, processing and integrated packaging-processing solutions all together.”

At the conference at PACK EXPO, leading industry associations offer a variety of workshops, seminars, panel discussions and other opportunities for professional development.  They are also introducing a GREEN logo to help identify suppliers offering sustainable solutions – identifiable before the show in the exhibitor search feature, and during the show by signage with the green PACK EXPO logo at the exhibits.  The show will be held October 28-31, 2012.  More info on exhibits and programs can be found on the Pack Expo website.

international home and housewares tradeshow3.  Our choice for the number three show in Chicago has already occurred this year but will be back in early 2013.  The Home and Housewares Show sold out in 2012 after being extended from 3 to 4 days in 2012 to better meet the needs of their buyers and exhibitors, particularly their international clients.

The exhibition is all about demonstrating their innovative, high-end products as consumers would use them and each category is showcased individually, as a “four shows-within-a-show expo.”  There was also a 5th trade show display, in the Hall of Global Innovation, simply known as Going Green, which allowed for sustainable product and packaging design submissions from all exhibitors.  The upcoming show is set to upstage this year’s success and highlight more homewares products, designed to help industry retailers drive their sales.  The show is scheduled for March 2-5 in 2013.  More info on the 2013 show is available on the Home and Housewares website.

4.   2013 is geared to be a great time for our 4th pick, the National Restaurant Association, because 2 shows will be held in the same event: the NRA show and their International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event.  With estimates of restaurant sales expected to reach a record high of $600 bil in 2012, the NRA anticipates operators will be looking to upgrade equipment, reconfigure menus and connect with suppliers that offer new products and methods, making for an excellent opportunity for exhibitors to engage and network this year.  The NRA Show will take place on May 18-21, 2013 with the International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event making its appearance on May 19-20, 2013.  Visit the official National Restaurant Association website for more information.

5.   The upcoming NeoCon World Trade Fair is THE destination for experts in the contract furnishings industry, connecting over 40,000 industry buyers and sellers to build networks that last.  Catering largely to designers, dealers and purchasing agents, who run the industry gamut from corporate hospitality and healthcare to retail, government and institutional, even residential interiors, there’s something for everyone at this show.  That fact makes it a premier exhibition spot for manufacturers of architectural products, furniture, textiles, lighting and more!  The seminars and keynote speakers offer a valuable information exchange, while the forums and exhibits encourage solid networking opportunities, as well as introduce innovative new products and methods of working from over 700 exhibitors.  The next expo is taking place at Merchandise Mart on June 10-12, 2013 and more information can be found at the official NeoCon website.

radiological society of north america tradeshow6.   Called “The World’s Premier Annual Event in Medical Imaging,” our #6 pick is the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) show.  This show takes place every year and showcases the radiology industry in all its forms, while offering significant networking opportunities.  The RSNA event provides exhibitors an opportunity to get face time with medical imaging professionals, establish their brand by standing out against competitors, generate sales (3/4 of trade show booth attendees say they have a role in purchasing!) and build relevant relationships within the industry.  There will be plenty to see at this year’s RSNA show and we can’t wait to see it.  The event runs from Nov. 25-30, 2012 and more info can be found on the RSNA event website.

FABTECH7.   #7 on our list of top expos , FABTECH is touted as “North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, finishing and welding exposition and conference” and is recognized as a Tradeshow 250 event, ranking 35 among the 250 top U.S. trade shows.  Offering many opportunities for exhibitors to demonstrate new equipment and innovative methods, as they build relationships with dealers and other buyers, this year promises to engage and inform attendees.

The upcoming show features exhibits and seminars, professional programs include keynote speakers, and the AWS Skills Competition.  With the 2013 expo starting on Nov. 18th and running to the 21st, there’s quite a lot to see at this year’s FABTECH show and we can’t wait!  More information on seminars, conferences and exhibits is available on the FABTECH Expo site.  (FABTECH 2012 will be in Chicago this year, November 12 to 14.)

material handling international trade show8.   No event showcases the material handling, supply chain and logistics industry quite like Promat, our #8 pick.  Promat 2013 is set to offer the industry’s best solutions in cost-cutting, increased efficiency and streamlined processes. In addition to the opportunity to demonstrate products and services while connecting  with qualified decision-makers who possess buying power, exhibitors can develop partnerships and strengthen brand image.  This event will offer 100 educational seminars and will feature expert keynote speakers such as Steve Forbes.  The Promat event will be running alongside a second show, known as Automate 2013, which highlights automation technologies and is expected to achieve a reciprocal turnout with attendees coming to visit both areas.  Promat 2013 runs from Jan. 21-24, 2013 and more info can be found on their official events site.

9.   The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) dedicates itself to continually improving cancer care and prevention.   Their annual ASCO events demonstrate this dedication to the industry by offering advanced scientific presentations, enhanced educational programs and incredible networking opportunities for physicians and patients alike.  With over 30,000 attendees from around the globe, this show is THE place to network and exhibit products and information that could change the course of cancer research and treatment.  The 2012 event introduced new features, such as core education sessions, networking cafes, a virtual mobile meeting, and pre-annual meeting seminars.  The 2013 event, themed “Building Bridges to Conquer Cancer,” is gearing up to deliver the most advanced oncology information, typically releasing thousands of scientific abstracts each year on the subject, and takes place from May 31-June 4,2013.  More information can be found on the ASCO event site.

10.  Offering the largest cleaning shows in the industry, ISSA connects suppliers, customers and key trade decision makers in a networking forum that also provides comprehensive educational materials, industry news, regulatory services and managing standards.  Averaging nearly 16,000 attendees in 2011, the ISSA/Interclean events are billed as “the one week when all associations and the commercial and institutional cleaning industry come together to do business, network and learn.”  Offering a broad range of convention seminars, from carpet care and food service safety/sanitation to strategic business planning and industry HR, there’s a lot going on in 2012!  The ISSA/Interclean event runs from Oct. 16-19, 2012 and we can’t wait to see it.   Additional information on the featured sessions and programs can be found on the ISSA website.

Click on the image below to see the full size Top 10 Chicago Trade Shows List

chicago tradeshows top ten


Skyline Exhibits is ready to help you exhibit in Chicago!

The upcoming schedule of Chicago trade shows is an exciting thing to see.  Whether exhibitors are exhibiting at one of the events featured in this list or any of the hundreds of other Chicago shows each year, they’ve got more help on their side.  Skyline Exhibits has opened up a new Regional Service Center in Chicago and, like our Service Centers in Las Vegas and Orlando, it houses an extensive inventory of Skyline products and custom modular components for exhibit rental.

Local or regional fulfillment reduces shipping costs and shortens the rental period, which serves to lower your overall exhibiting expenses.  The Chicago Service Center helps support the world-renowned network of Skyline Dealers that offer great local service in over 130 cities around the world.  The Service Center also features a sales office for purchased exhibits, a showroom, areas for pre-staging and exhibit storage, as well as online asset management.  Additionally, it serves as a base for the Skyline Chicago Certified Installation (I&D) crew.  Everything you need to get your trade show exhibit up and running is here at Skyline and we’re excited about supporting your trade event efforts from our new location!

Value of Trade Shows White PaperThese Top 10 trade shows prove how important exhibiting is in the marketing world today.  For more information on what trade shows can do for your company, read The Value Of Trade Shows white paper.  Click here to request your free copy. 

About the Author

Mary Rita Crowe is a Chicago native and the Managing Director at Skyline Exhibits Chicago. She has been in the trade show industry for 15 years working with companies to provide Chicago trade show displays and solutions.

4 responses to “Top 10 Chicago Trade Shows

  1. Our product is in the truest sense unique. UNIQUE means we have a very different marketing challenge than any other company.
    One maybe two out of the 10 shows featured will be a possible fit for out product. We are always on the lookout for new venues.
    Thank you for your top 10.

  2. Hi, Mary:

    It is very good information.
    Do you know any show in Chicage/north Ohio area for small-mid size manufacturers? It can be just regional, for local companies.


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