The 2018 International Woodworking Fair (IWF) returns to the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) in Atlanta, August 22 – 25. Attendees will not only see cosmetic changes at the convention center but also the inside of Hall C for the first time since 2008.
 
For the last 10 years, IWF exhibitors have filled Halls A and B but demand for more space has prompted officials to move the event to Halls B and C to accommodate more exhibitors and their requests for larger booths. 
 
“The reason we went back to Building C, is that it has a larger footprint than Building A and we needed more space for current exhibitors and new exhibitors requesting more booth space,” says Roberto Ghizzoni, IWF chairman. “We will now have two shuttle bus drop-offs and two registration area, to better accommodate all attendees.”
With more than 1,000 exhibitors including 200 first-time exhibitors, the 2018 IWF should exceed the 2016 event by 5-10 percent in number of exhibitors. Also, the footprint of 1 million square feet will be up double digits.
 
The move back into Hall C will not only increase the show’s footprint but also for the first time since 2008, there will be exhibitors outside the halls and in the B-C connector. Also, it will provide a clear separation of what products are in each building, making IWF 2018 easier to navigate for attendees, Ghizzoni adds.
 

New look at GWCC

The entire GWCC campus is going through a transformation as part of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority’s (GWCCA) 2020 Vision. The first phase of the plan was the construction of the Mercedes Benz stadium. The plan also calls for contiguous exhibit space between buildings B and C at GWCC that will attract groups which have previously outgrown Atlanta.
Centennial Olympic Park will see a series of renovations to enhance its multi-use event capability as well as make it more pedestrian friendly. A brand-new space at Baker Street and Park Place will feature a restaurant and further expand the array of events the park can host.
 
“Our 2020 Vision plan is all about aligning the GWCCA campus with the future needs of our customers, partners, stakeholders and surrounding community while ensuring the continued economic growth of downtown Atlanta’s thriving hospitality district,” says Frank Poe, Executive Director of the GWCCA. “Our campus – and organization – continues to evolve as we expect to remain the No. 1 convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world and a major economic driver for the State of Georgia.”
 
The convention center itself also underwent subtle cosmetic changes with the opening of Social Table, a new flexible dining concept, and replacement of high foot-traffic area carpeting throughout the center with terrazzo, a more durable hard surface.
 
Many of the changes happening at and around GWCC will have a long-term positive impact on IWF and its current and future attendees. For instance, Terraces restaurant, which was located inside GWCC, was replaced with Social Table and Ghizzoni says that the new, award-winning spot “allows for more comfortable seating and the ability to address our exhibitors and attendees dining needs.” Additional GWCC improvements include new digital upgrades to the building and new parking lots. Also, Mercedes Benz stadium will be open for tours or private events during IWF and show attendees can catch a concert at Olympic Centennial Park.
 
“The hotel, I believe, will be usable for IWF in 2022 but will be another incredible growth to the campus. All of this will lead to more rooms, more parking, more green space, more available exhibit and better logistics, which in turn will improve IWF, Ghizzoni notes. “The city of Atlanta continues to grow. It has become the top place for television and movie production. More attractions have been added and the destination is currently one of the top in the nation.”
 

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