Before you go thinking that all trade shows are a complete snore, think again. The ASAE Tech Conference last week was no eye roller! For starters, the exhibitor hall was a panoply of colors, lights, and hi-tech whiz-bang. Directly across from my booth was a gorgeous Airstream trailer, complete with a vintage 70s orange and green interior. Kitty-corner was a towering, rotating green lighthouse with a giant, adorable Pug looming over the hall. Attendees viewed demos on vast screens sitting on stools that resembled large ice cubes. (Too bad that wasn’t a tchotchke and we could literally have the hot-headed people we encounter sit on ice!)
Speaking of giveaways, there wasn’t a drink cuff in the house. Fidget cubes, Cookie Monster-lookalike phone holders, and colorful socks were among an array of fun stuff for booth visitors. It was irresistible – I had to grab some cool shades and movie-style popcorn and stroll through the latest in high technology, Disney-style.
Conference food typically has people skipping out and taking their rumbling stomachs to the nearest alternative at first opportunity. Hats off to the Gaylord and ASAE for standing this on its head! The cuisine was delish and actually healthy: locally grown vegetables, fresh salads, and tender steak strips had people heading for second trips. The dining atmosphere was lovely, and the wait staff was beyond accommodating.
The festivities continued after the floor closed…have you ever attended an “ugly Christmas sweater” happy hour?! Again, hats off to ASAE for this imaginative concept that got people chatting it up! Tasty Pinot and fashionistas sporting spikey garlands or colorfully lit, wearable Christmas bulbs snuffed out any yawns. I found myself disappointed that the party broke up!
Last but not least, I’ve got high praise for the learning seminars. A special posse of speakers wearing “I (heart) Failure!” stickers begged a lot of questions and provided a forum to discuss some of the ways failure can benefit projects. This ingenious meeting allowed attendees to collaborate and share