After having to cancel last year’s venerable Canoecopia consumer tradeshow in Madison, WI, due to the pandemic, organizer Darren Bush is planning a virtual event this year, to be held March 12-14, 2021.While he admits it won’t replace the in-person event held at the 250,000-square-foot Alliance Energy Center, he says it’s a close second, complete with educational forums and presentations, product debuts and more.
Registrants will be able to visit virtual exhibitor booths and showrooms, watch demos (more than 80 presentations and seminars), connect with exhibitors, and more. Enrollment is unlimited and registrants will be able to view the presentations up to two months after the event.
Bush says they started their Canoecopia planning meetings last July, examining printer lead times, the likelihood of attendees wanting to be inside, and more, finally settling on going virtual. After investigating nine different platforms for presentations and virtual booths, they settled on one and began planning the line-up.
“While here is no good thing about COVID-19, the pandemic has made us all adapt and learn, try new things, envision a way to work around this, and try to make the best of a bad situation,” says Bush. “Adopting a virtual platform has its challenges and drawbacks, as nothing replaces face to face, but at the same time, a lot of Canoecopia attendees had to choose between speakers and sometimes not getting in due to room capacity. Now, with virtual speakers, the size of the room is unlimited and no one has to choose.”
And all sessions, he adds, will also be live for two months after the show. “People can watch one every night if they want after the end of Canoecopia,” he says. “This also means that I get to see a Canoecopia presentation for the first time…after 31 years!”
Attendees will also be able to live chat and live stream with manufacturers and exhibitors. “And the carbon footprint of the show is super low,” Bush adds. “Our shop is wind-powered, and we won’t have to drive vehicles around picking up boats, loading and unloading, and there will be no travel by attendees.”
Virtual show-goers get a gear discount with their $15 ticket.