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IWF 2016: Exhibitor wait list sign of ‘pent-up demand’

The International Woodworking Fair has a good problem on its hands — making room for more exhibitors.

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More than 1,000 exhibitors have contracted for space, creating a wait list in the machinery section, while space was added to the supplier section. At more than 500,000 sq. ft., IWF 2016 is the already the biggest fair since 2008.

IWF will take place Aug. 24-27 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

IWF 2016 chairman Tom Onsrud is also expecting a large turnout from attendees, buoyed by a strong economy and interest in new technologies.

“There is a pent-up demand for technology, knowledge, design and production efficiency to match the manufacturing industry capacity and customization needs to supply a global consumer economy,” Onsrud says.

In May, attendee registration was 25 percent ahead of the pace set in 2014. Hotel bookings and interest in the IWF educational sessions have also increased, according to producers.

The fair will feature plenty of CNC machinery, power tools, saws and finishing products, Onsrud says. It will also feature new sections dedicated to cabinets, closets and storage and wood flooring.

The educational program features 59 sessions and six symposiums, focusing on finishing, veneering, closets, composites, wood flooring and countertops.

This is also the show’s 50th anniversary of the Challengers Distinguished Achievement Awards, presented to multiple exhibitors for innovative technology. There are 21 finalists and winners will be announced on opening day.

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This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue.

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