More Trade Shows Succumb to Pandemic

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More forest products industry trade shows have been canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Great Lakes Logging & Heavy Equipment Expo was scheduled to be held Sept. 10-12 in Escanaba, Michigan. It has been postponed until 2021. The decision was announced by the organizer of the event, the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association.

Association executive director Henry Schienebeck said the decision by the board of directors was “not really” difficult to make given the circumstances of the pandemic. “You just weigh out the pluses and the minuses…in this particular (situation), the minuses won out,” he said.

The Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Expo was canceled. The event originally was slated to be held in Essex Junction, Vermont, in May but had been postponed until Oct. 16-17. The event, which is put on by the Northeast Loggers Association, was canceled for 2020.

Joe Phaneuf, executive director of the association, said the decision was made based on “recent developments regarding public gathering guidelines in Vermont, the continued closure of the Canadian border, and the on-going uncertain health/safety situation in multiple states…”

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“We feel that this is not a choice so much as a simple recognition that we’ll not be able to host a safe Expo that aligns anywhere near the type of show our exhibitors and attendees expect,” he said.

The Northeastern Expo, which alternates year to year between venues in Vermont and Maine, will be held next on May 14-15, 2021 in Bangor, Maine.

The Paul Bunyan Show, scheduled to be held Oct. 2-4 in Lore City, Ohio, also was canceled. The decision was made by the Ohio Forestry Association board of directors and the Paul Bunyan Show Committee. The event will return in 2021.

“The safety of our exhibitors, attendees, staff and volunteers is our top concern,” said a statement on the event website, “and we do not feel we can put on a show of this nature and adhere to the COVID-19 safety measures put in place by the state and local health departments.”

“With the uncertainty about the number of people that might be allowed to attend and what events we would be able to hold, we cannot in good faith ask our exhibitors to take the financial risk that would be involved in attempting to have a show this year.”

Another casualty: the Timber Processing & Energy Expo. It was scheduled Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Portland, Oregon. The biennial event will be held next Sept. 27-29, 2021 in Portland.

The Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers canceled its summer conference, which had been scheduled to be held July 25-28 in Asheville, N.C. The organization’s executive committee made the decision after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper extended his state’s phase two recovery rules until mid-July; those rules restrict indoor meetings to 10 people and outdoors to 25. The group’s board was scheduled to meet later to discuss either another date and location or whether to hold webinars with the business session presentations.

Other trade groups and event organizers are continuing to monitor the pandemic, and it is possible more events and meetings will be canceled, postponed, or switched to an alternative ‘virtual’ format.