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AWFS plans hall expansion for 2017 fair

Producers of the 2017 AWFS fair in Las Vegas are expecting a sold-out show floor and more than 15,000 attendees. The biennial show is scheduled for July 19-22 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“It’s definitely going to be a bigger show,” AWFS executive vice president Angelo Gangone said in an interview with Woodshop News. “It’s still extremely early as far as attendance, but so far the early response we’ve gotten has really been very encouraging.”

To accommodate exhibitor demand, the show is expanding to three halls at the convention center.

“The exhibitor count is looking really good,” Gangone says. “I think we surpassed our show in terms of space sold back in November and right now, as of mid-February, we were somewhere around 12 percent higher than we were two years ago in terms of space.”

The fair features the College of Woodworking Knowledge educational program, which will have an emphasis on topics specific to smaller shops, according to Gangone.

“I think small shops are going to be happy with the show because we’re really putting a focus on them with some of the programs that we’re going to be announcing and some of the personalities that are going to be at the show,” he says.

This includes a keynote address from John Ratzenberger, perhaps best known for his role as Cliff on “Cheers.” He will share thoughts on the future of the skilled trades and information about his American Workshop program, which is offering hands-on vocational education to children at libraries nationwide.

This year’s fair will also feature the Closet and Home Organization Pavilion and the Fresh Wood student woodworking competition. It will highlight exhibitors of plastic-related products. The Woodwork Career Alliance will offer onsite skill evaluator training. An “Industry 4.0” showcase will highlight technology that is expected to heavily influence the future of manufacturing.

“We look at this show as trying to reach out to the universe of woodworkers, whether it’s a one-man shop or the biggest company in the United States when it comes to woodworking,” Gangone adds.

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This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue.

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