Wood Trade Shows Caught in Turmoil
March 23, 2012 | 3:47 pm UTC
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Wood Trade Shows Caught in TurmoilLost in the trauma of the escalating Syrian crisis is the fact that WoodShow Syria is not being held this week as scheduled.

While no official announcement was ever made, as one of my sources with ties to the show told me via email, it’s been “obvious” for several months that the third edition of this annual woodworking show, March 22-25, would be a no-go. He also noted that the same holds true for other trade events that had been scheduled to take place at the 1.2-million-square-meter Damascus New International Fairground.

According to WoodShow Syria’s website, the show was expected to attract 8,000 visitors and more than 200 exhibiting companies. Biesse, Cefla and Weinig are among 60 “participants” listed on the site, which judging by the amount of missing content – seminars, sponsors and most importantly registration – has been in a state of neglect for some time.

The loss of a woodworking trade show pales in comparison to the pain and suffering of the Syrian populace.  It is believed that more than 7,500 civilians have died since the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad began almost a year ago.

Eye on Cairo
Meanwhile, plans for a second Cairo WoodShow, October 18-22, appear to be on course despite the nation’s recent history of protests and street clashes, even since the ousting last year of President Hosni Mubarak. The first Cairo WoodShow opened on October 9, 2011, the same day that some two dozen people were killed and more than 100 injured by security forces fighting Christian protesters demonstrating in Cairo against the burning of a church.

In a bid to alleviate any concerns someone might have about participating in this year’s event, the Cairo WoodShow’s website includes a tab labeled, “The Post Revolution Situation.” Information includes:

* “Egypt is now ruled by the honorable "Supreme Council of Armed Forces", and the new council of ministers, headed by Dr. Essam Sharaf, that enjoys all respect and popularity among all Egyptians until electing a civilian president.”

* “Egyptian police get back to 100% full active duty. The thing that means getting back to normal and regular security and peace of mind.”

* “All International Exhibitions and conferences have been resumed as per actual plans with no problems.”

Incidentally, the Cairo WoodShow is organized by the same group that runs the Abu Dhabi WoodShow and Dubai WoodShow, the latter is set for April 3-5 in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. With three editions under its belt, the Dubai WoodShow is the most established woodworking show in the Middle East, which reflects the newness of organized industrial woodworking trade events are to the region.

Closer to Home: KBIS
Organizers of the annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show worked with the City of Chicago to move the show up a few weeks after Chicago landed both the G-8 Economic Summit and NATO Summit this May.

That's a good thing because KBIS and its participants would have found it extremely uncomfortable sharing the same dates and city with the G-8 Summit, the thousands of protesters it attracts and the inevitable street clashes that ensue.

In a surprise announcement earlier this month, the Obama Administration said the G-8 Summit was being moved to Camp David but that the NATO meeting would stay. As a Chicagoan, that suits me just fine.

Recent blogs by Rich Christianson

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Read more of Rich Christianson's blogs.

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