The Precast Show 2021 marked one of the first trade shows to return as an in-person event in North America and the first major trade show at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center facility after more than a year of COVID-19 cancellations and delays. Organized by the National Precast Concrete Association and held May 20-22, The Precast Show is the largest precast concrete-specific trade show in North America.
With almost 3,000 exhibitors, attendees and staff members taking part, The Precast Show is one of the largest trade shows that the conventions and events industry has seen nationwide since March 2020. The Precast Show enjoyed better-than-anticipated attendance with the show’s 240 exhibitors remarking that they were pleasantly surprised with the level of activity on the expanded 450,000-square-foot event space.
“By any measure, The Precast Show 2021 was an enormous success, thanks to the shared vision and team effort of NPCA and the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center,” NPCA President FRED GRUBBE said. “The NPCA Board of Directors never wavered in its decision to hold the show. Moving it back by three months was a logical step based on data trends of where we thought the pandemic would go. Adding in the vaccine rollout and growing herd immunity, the NPCA Board of Directors confidently supported the planning and execution of this annual show.
“Since the Board’s early February decision to proceed with the show, everyone – members; exhibitors; our co-participant, the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI); and the great folks in New Orleans – involved in this event demonstrated the resiliency necessary to create a safe, exciting and rewarding experience for all attendees.”
PCI also successfully held its annual convention, in a hybrid format, concurrent with The Precast Show.
“It was impressive to see everyone gather in New Orleans for The Precast Show,” NPCA Chairman of the Board RON SPARKS said. “We hope that our show demonstrated to the country that large, in-person trade shows can be produced safely and effectively, encouraging others to return to business as normal.”
To prepare for the eventual return to hosting large-scale events, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center assembled an expert COVID-19 response team at the onset of the pandemic that recommended changes to the facilities’ health and safety protocols, including enhanced cleaning and remediation measures and gave a head start on becoming GBAC certified.
Just prior to the show, mask mandates by the city and state were lifted and temperature checks suspended. However, the show floor had been expanded from 200,000 gross square feet to 450,000 gross square feet to allow for social distancing.
“Last week, we celebrated a major milestone for the industry by hosting The Precast Show, the first and largest since restrictions were lifted,” Convention Center President MICHAEL J. SAWAYA said. “I commend the organization for having the courage to conduct the event in such uncertain times, demonstrating that it is time to get back to traveling, showcasing products on a trade show floor and convening in person which plays such an important role in fueling our local, state and national economies. NPCA will always hold a special place in the hearts of our staff, and we hope they will come back soon.”
The Precast Show 2022 is scheduled for March 3-5 in Kansas City, Mo.
ABOUT NPCA: Based in Carmel, Ind., NPCA has represented manufacturers of industrial plant-produced precast concrete products and the suppliers of products and services for the industry since 1965, providing members with the programs and information required to operate a successful precast plant. NPCA operates the industry’s largest and most comprehensive plant certification program, which is accredited by the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB).