The AWFS Fair hits the big stage of the Las Vegas Convention Center next week, which for four days will be transformed into an oasis of woodworking technology amid the mirage of kitsch casino architecture, kaleidoscope of bright lights, and blasting desert heat that uniquely personifies the Vegas strip in July.

I'm very much looking forward to being there along with my colleagues of Woodworking Network, helping bring our newsletter subscribers a daily dose of headlines, photos and videos from the show that runs from July 20-23.

Among the story lines we will be following, include:

* The mood of the industry. The Great Recession has had an almost debilitating effect on the U.S. woodworking industry and trade shows the past couple of years with steep attendance drops witnessed at the 2009 AWFS Fair and IWF 2010. Now that the business climate has begun to stabilize, it will be interesting to see how woodworking industry responds, not only in terms of numbers of attendees, but level of engagement and enthusiasm. In other words, will more woodworker come to Vegas ready to return to investing in their businesses?

* The returns of Stiles Machinery, Biesse America and Weinig USA to a major U.S. woodworking trade show for the first time since the 2008 International Woodworking Macinery & Supply Fair in Atlanta. For good measure, SCM Group USA, recently bolstered by the merger of Delmac, will return to the AWFS Fair after joining the other big iron companies on the sidelines of IWF 2010. Collectively, Stiles, Biesse, Weinig and SCM represent the largest historical exhibitors of woodworking machineries at both AWFS Fair and IWF.  

* Laser edgebanding. Speaking of Stiles, it will be interesting to observe the reaction of AWFS Fair attendees checking out the Homag laserTec edgebander that will be featured at Stiles' booth.  I had an opportunity to see the latest laser edgebanding technology last month at Ligna in Hannover, Germany. Dozens of woodworker got to see the technology during an event held in spring at Stiles' Grand Rapids, MI, headquarters. Now, the technology will be brought before the masses at a major U.S. trade show for the first time.

* Who will win the Sequoia Awards? The AWFS Sequoia product leadership awards will recognize product outstanding developments in several categories including Green/Environmental, Ergonomics/Safety, Innovative Technology and Productivity. We'll also report on the winners of the Fresh Wood Student Design Competition, and other awards programs administered by AWFS Fair organizers.

Needless to say, I can't wait to totally immerse myself in four days of woodworking machinery and supplies and most of all the opportunity to swap information and stories with attendees and exhibitors at the AWFS Fair in Las Vegas next week.

Hope to see you there either at the Wood & Wood Products/CWB/CLOSETS booth #2139 or on the show floor.

Learn more and register to attend the AWFS Fair.

Catch all of Woodworking Network's AWFS Fair coverage.

Check out Woodworking Network's AWFS Fair Products Guide.

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