With more than 470,000 net square feet of exhibit space already filled, the 2007 AWFS Vegas Fair gears up to be the largest event in the biennial show’s 50-year history.

Tens of thousands of woodworkers are expected to converge on the Las Vegas Convention Center, July 18-21, to see the latest innovations in machinery and supplies for the woodworking industry.



The biennial AWFS Vegas Fair is sponsored by the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers. For more information, visit www.awfsfair.org or phone AWFS at (800) 946-2937.



Registration on the Rise

This is the second time the AWFS Fair will take place in Las Vegas, and show management is already predicting this year’s event will exceed the record-breaking numbers achieved in 2005.



“I cannot offer any predictions, but I will tell you that pre-registration is running ahead for both exhibitors and attendees over our recordbreaking 2005 show, where we broke 30,000 registered participants for the first time in the show’s history,” said Angelo Gangone, AWFS vice president, trade shows.



According to show management, the 2005 AWFS Vegas Fair also saw an increase in attendance from 49 out of 50 states, with 44 states increasing by 100 percent or more. International attendance also rose significantly, by 134 percent.



As part of its efforts to increase awareness of the show as an international event, AWFS Vegas has been designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce as a U.S. Commercial Service’s International Buyer Program (IBP). This designation signifies that AWFS Vegas is an event that connects U.S. companies with foreign customers.

In addition to its promotion to international buyers, plans to attract attendees include the implementation of new events and educational programs and advertising in trade magazines — “the most aggressive marketing campaign ever as a means of helping support our exhibitors,” Gangone said.

The Las Vegas Convention Center will be host to the biennial AWFS Fair, scheduled for July 18-21. The show will be located in the North and Central Halls.

Photo credit: Las Vegas News Bureau/LVCVA
AWFS Vegas Fair At a Glance



Dates: July 18-21



Exhibit Hours: Wednesday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.



Location: Las Vegas Convention Center, North & Central Halls



Transportation: Shuttle service will be available to and from the LVCC from the following hotels: Alexis Park, Aladdin, Bally’s, Caesars Palace, Fairfield Inn, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Hilton Grand Vacation, New York New York, Paris, Sahara, Westin and Wynn. Hours for the buses are: Wednesday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.



Exhibitors: More than 800 domestic and international manufacturers and distributors of woodworking equipment and supplies (as of April 26).



Seminars: Seven education tracks covering a wide range of topics: Business Management, Cabinet/Millwork, Software/Technology, Techniques/Applications, Hand-Crafted Furniture, Safety & Environment and Teacher Track. Part of the 2007 College of Woodworking Knowledge, the 52 seminars include all-day workshops, 1-1/2-, 2-, 3- and 4-hour programs and SMART (Special Machinery and Relevant Technology) sessions. The seminars will take place on the second floor of the North Hall, rooms N253-N264. SMART sessions will be at specific booths in the exhibit hall and begin at 7:30 a.m., prior to the show’s opening. Until June 25, prices are $55 for the 1-1/2- and 2-hour sessions, $75 for the 3- and 4-hour sessions and $150 for the all-day sessions. There is no charge for the SMART sessions, though reservations are required.



Awards Ceremony: Presentations will be made at a special Awards Dinner on Thursday, July 19, to the winners of the Sequoia New Product Awards, The Fresh Wood Student Competition and to those companies in the Wood & Wood Products 2007 WOOD 100. The event will be hosted by Richard Karn, best known as Al Borland on TV’s Home Improvement.



Show Sponsor: Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers



Information: Visit www.awfsfair.org or phone AWFS at (800) 946-2937.



Early indications show the efforts are successful. At press time, the fair was nearing capacity, with an estimated 470,000 square feet of exhibitor space in the North and Central halls already booked by the 842 exhibitors. “We expect both of these numbers to increase,” Gangone added.



“We are confident in saying that AWFS Vegas 2007 will be the largest show in the association’s history,” said Skip Hem, president of AWFS and vice president of Royal Plywood.



“As this exhibition also marks AWFS’ 50th anniversary, our board and association personnel are doing their utmost to make sure this world-class event continues to set new standards for the show — while creating new business opportunities for members and all exhibitors,” he added.



As in previous years, show management is predicting 2007 attendees will represent all segments of the industry, including: residential and commercial cabinetry, furniture, windows and doors, store fixtures, architectural millwork, flooring, moulding and millwork, and component manufacturing.



New Products Showcased

In addition to the products on display at the individual booths, there again will be a designated section for highlighting new products as well as the products of first-time exhibitors. The showcases will be located at the main entry point by registration.



The First-Time Exhibitors Showcase will feature the products and services of more than 200 companies. The New Products Showcase features new-to-market machinery and supplies, which are organized into categories: large machinery, small machinery, power tools, hardware, components, tooling, software and upholstery. These items also are eligible to compete for Sequoia Awards, with separate awards available in the categories of environmental achievement, ergonomics, safety, innovative technology and productivity.



New for 2007: Belt Sander Races

Billed as the first annual World Championship for Belt Sander racers, qualified attendees at AWFS Vegas will have the opportunity to compete for awards on a 12-inch-wide, 75-foot-long wooden track. The event is sponsored by Accuride International and the AWFS Fair trade show committee, in cooperation with the Belt Sander Racing Assn. (BRSA). The BRSA is a new organization formed by Accuride to bring together enthusiasts of this sport.



Belt sander races generally include two classes: Stock and Modified. The Stock class requires that the belt sander be a standard product manufactured by a conventional power tool manufacturer. The Modified class allows for creative enhancements to improve the sander’s speed and performance. Entrants in these races are encouraged to decorate their sanders.



“I was asked to be on the trade show committee, and they asked me if I could come up with something new that would create some excitement for the show,” said Jamie Goodwin, western regional manager for Accuride.



“They probably expected me to come back with a turning demonstration or something fairly conventional, but I thought this would really be a fun event for people from both the hardware and equipment sides of the fair, and the committee really got excited by the idea and got behind it.”



First, second and third place awards will be presented during AWFS, along with special recognition given to entrants for Best Design Theme and Greatest Wipe Out.

There are currently around 15 racers entered, but Goodwin said he believes the final total will be between 25 and 50. “We would like to invite all cabinet shops to build a racer and enter in this event,” he said.



Based on interest already generated, “We believe that it is going to become a major AWFS Fair attraction for years to come,” said Goodwin.



WOOD 100 Reps Honored at AWFS Dinner

The Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers plans to honor representatives of this year’s WOOD 100 firms during a banquet ceremony at the AWFS Vegas Fair. The dinner gala is scheduled for Thursday, July 19, at the Las Vegas Hilton. The evening’s festivities will be emceed by Richard Karn, best known as Al Borland, Tim “The Toolman” Taylor’s sidekick on Home Improvement.



WOOD 100 executives also qualified for two free room nights at one of four Caesars Entertainment Hotels during the fair, compliments of AWFS. To accommodate the AWFS Fair schedule, publication of the WOOD 100 Report is moved up to July.



About the WOOD 100: W&WP launched the WOOD 100 in 1990 to pay homage to fast-growing North American woodworking companies. The slogan, “Not the biggest, the best,” underscores the fact that the WOOD 100 is open to companies of all sizes, from $100,000 in annual sales on up. This year’s WOOD 100 Report will rank and profile companies based on annual sales growth achieved between 2005 and 2006. For the past few years, all of the qualifying companies have achieved double-digit growth.



Award-Winning Opportunities

There’s more than one way to win big while in Las Vegas.



In addition to WOOD 100 representatives, winners of the Fresh Wood Student Competition and Sequoia New Product Awards will be recognized at this year’s AWFS Fair Awards Dinner on Thursday, July 19, at the Las Vegas Hilton. Tickets are available for $100 and can be purchased online at www.awfsfair.org.



Fresh Wood Student Competition

An AWFS Fair tradition since 1999, the student design competition features projects from high school and post-secondary school students in North America. Prizes are awarded in each of the following categories: chairs, tables, casegoods, reproduction and production/contract. There is also a category for “class” projects, as well as a new “open” category for original, functional projects that do not fit in other category designations.



High school and post-secondary schools are judged separately, with first place winners and honorable mentions earning recognition. First place and best of show winners receive a $1,000 cash award, and a $2,500 prize will go to the student’s school. The Sam Maloof trophy is also awarded to the Best of Show recipient. Second place winners receive $500 and honorable mentions are awarded a $250 prize. In addition, a $500 “People’s Choice” award will be given to the finalist whose piece receives the most votes by fair attendees and exhibitors.



Sequoia Awards

According to AWFS, the Sequoia New Product Awards have become coveted prizes for environmental innovation in the industry over the past decade. Separate awards are available in: environmental achievement, ergonomics, safety, innovative technology and productivity. The Sequoia Awards were expanded in 2005 and now encompass nine categories of new products: machinery under $50,000, machinery over $50,000, power tools, hardware-decorative, hardware-functional, components, tooling, software and other.



Others to Earn Recognition

In addition to the Fresh Wood student design and Sequoia Awards competitions, AWFS also will award Show Stopper and Top Gun Awards to qualifying exhibitors.

Several Show Stopper Awards will be presented for the best booth displays, given to suppliers and machinery exhibitors that demonstrate good design elements in their booths, together with good presentation of the company identity and product display. Top Gun Awards go to exhibitors who achieved the most pre-registrations from their mailings to customers of VIP and Valued Customer invitations.



WOOD 100 Members Lead Lean: Continuous Improvement (CI) Seminar

On Friday morning, July 20, Rich Christianson, W&WP associate publisher, will be joined by lean expert John Kim, and three members from W&WP’s 2006 WOOD 100 list of the fastest growing companies: Mark Loberg, PremierGarage; James Love, Rosewood Industries Inc.; and Randy Roark, Impressions Marketing, in a session on Continuous Improvement (CI).



This session is appropriate for all sizes of business. Key points to be featured include learning the scope of CI, how to get it started, and the impact on profit and loss. Targeted questioning will focus on such topics as the essential steps to prepare for lean; unexpected areas in a plant that can yield savings through lean; getting over the employee “fear of change,” inadequate training challenges and how lean is articulated to customers from a sales perspective.


New products, as well as those from first-time exhibitors, will be showcased in a designated area near registration. AWFS Vegas connects U.S. companies with foreign customers. The show has been designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce as a U.S. Commercial Service’s International Buyer Program event.
In 2005, Rockingham Community College student Joshua Nickolds Williams swept the top awards with his Newport Block Front Desk, winning Best of Show, People’s Choice and Fine Woodworking’s Craftsmanship awards. This new event is sponsored by Accuride International and the AWFS Fair trade show committee, in cooperation with the Belt Sander Racing Assn. (BRSA).


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