The 2020 Great Lakes Expo has added its name to the growing list of virtual shows. Greg Bird, executive director of the Michigan Vegetable Council, has been hard at work for months to provide the best online experience to producers.
“The Expo is so important to the specialty crop industry in the Great Lakes area that we’ve got to make sure it provides value to people,” he said.
Typically, the event brings in more than 500 vendors. To be conducive to an online format, Bird said one of the biggest changes will be fewer booths.
“This year, we couldn’t manage 400 to 500 online booths—it would just bee too many,” said Bird.
Networking and education will still be valuable components of the online expo. Instead of having specific time slots for education sessions, Bird said they’ll utilize more of the day for these events.
“Later afternoon, into the evening to give people options,” he said. “Normally if we have 10 sessions happening at 9 a.m Tuesday and you want to see three of them, you don’t get a choice. If you’re interested in education, you can hit more sessions [online].”
The Great Lakes Expo will still distribute scholarships and recognize award winners. As for the Farmers Market Vendors, Bird said details are still being worked out.
“We’ve got a great management team and trade show team, we’ve got a platform picked out, and we’ve got vendors signing up, and we’re getting education sessions ready,” said Bird. “Things are coming together. I still plan on being live, in-person at the Amway and DeVos Center in 2021.”
The Great Lakes Expo will still be held December 8 through 10.