Every two years the woodworking nation gathers in Atlanta, Ga., much as a generation did at the Woodstock music festival in 1969.

If Crosby Stills Nash & Young were on stage at IWF you wouldn't be able to hear them, because the Georgia World Congress Center tends to be a busy, loud place during the show. And for both attendees and exhibitors, the busier and louder the better.

Be a man of action, get a plan of action

Develop a plan of who you want to see. Address your most important needs first. If you are buying a specific item, look for that first. It's better to have a plan and change it than to walk in with no plan. And check out the list of seminars during the show to see what is most applicable for your company.

IWF has a new tool to help you plan your visit. Go to www.iwfatlanta.com and click on the link for myIWF Event Planner.

Include someone from your team who has never been to the show before. They will probably consider a trip to be a perk, and you'll gain a fresh perspective from their experience.

After you've completed your plan, allow time to "walk the show," and to look for anything that looks interesting. That's part of the advantage of being there in person. And wear comfortable shoes.

How much is that moulder in the window?

Yes, you can buy that jointer if you want to. Exhibitors are often willing to cut a deal rather than shipping the machine back home. In our visits to woodworking companies we've often been shown a machine and been told, "We bought that off the floor at IWF."

And try to schedule some time for fun. Maybe you won't be up for dancing at a Buckhead dance club or chic ultra-lounge after walking the full length of Halls A, B and C. Here's an alternative: The Atlanta Falcons are playing an NFL preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 22 at the Georgia Dome, right across the street from the show. The Braves are on the road during IWF this year.

There's no excuse for political junkies not to come. The Democratic National Convention is Aug. 25 to 28 in Denver, the following week. (I'd be interested if anyone's going to both IWF and the Democratic convention.)

And come see the FDM and CabinetMaker team. We're in booth B422.

You won't have to walk through muddy fields to hear Sly and the Family Stone. Instead, you'll be walking on colored carpet and listening to the sounds of wood being sawn, chopped and bored. And that's music to the ears of the folks in this industry.

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