NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center marked the return of major tradeshows after more than a year of COVID-19 related delays by hosting The Precast Show 2021 -the largest precast concrete-specific tradeshow in North America. With more than 2,500 exhibitors, attendees and National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) members taking part in the activities, The Precast Show 2021 is one of the largest tradeshows that the conventions and events industry has seen since March 2020. The Precast Show, which ran from May 20-22, 2021, enjoyed a better-than-anticipated attendance, with the show’s 240 exhibitors remarking that they were very pleased with the activity on the expansive 450,000-square-foot event space.
“Last week we celebrated a major milestone for the convention and events industry by hosting The Precast Show, the first and largest since restrictions were lifted,” said Michael J. Sawaya, Convention Center President. “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 forever hold a special place in our hearts, and we hope to be their host again in the near future.”
To prepare for an eventual return to hosting the large-scale events that it is known for, 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 were lifted and temperature checks suspended. The trade show floor was expanded from 200,000 gross square feet to 450,000 gross square feet to allow for social distancing.
“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, co-participant organizations 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,” Grubbe concluded.
As post-pandemic recovery and vaccination data continue to improve nationally, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is looking forward to hosting a full slate of events in the months to come.