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AWFS fair gains international stature with move to Vegas: with its move to Las Vegas, the biennial AWFS Fair has grown in size and stature, garnering a reputation as an international industry event.

The largest woodworking show in North America this year, the AWFS[R] Vegas Fair grabs the spotlight with a show-stopping array of new technology and supplies. Sponsored by the Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers[R], the AWFS Vegas Fair will be held July 27-30 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Already, the success of this year's show exceeds one of the goals previously set by the board of AWFS[R]--to strengthen the value of the AWFS Fair for both exhibitors and attendees. As of late June, the show was at 99 percent capacity, with 879 exhibitors. While part of the increase can be attributed to an improved economy, the association also credits the move to Las Vegas for spurring interest in the event.

"Las Vegas is the number one U.S. destination for trade shows, with almost every show that moves there experiencing major growth in attendance. To date, the pre-registration figures continue to run about 50 percent larger than ever before. Furthermore, the growth has been from states--and countries--from which we had little or no attendees previously," says Dale Silverman, AWFS executive director.

"It will be our largest show ever, and the opportunity for future growth is limitless. The future for this show is very bright and we will continue to expand what it can do for the industry," adds Barry Howerton, AWES president.

According to Angelo Gangone, AWFS trade show director, talks are already in the works to expand the show in 2001. While this year's show takes place in the South Halls of the convention center, plans call for the majority of the 2007 exhibits to be located in the North and Central halls. The next AWFS Vegas Fair is scheduled to take place July 18-21. 2007.


The AWFS Vegas Fair is a springboard for many of the association's interests, including education and charitable efforts. Inherent to the trade show is the College of Woodworking Knowledge, 44 information-packed seminars spanning seven tracks: Business Management, Software/Technology, Cabinet/Millwork, Hand-Crafted Furniture, Sanding/Finishing, Safety & Environment and Techniques & Applications. (For more on AWFS educational efforts, see "Education a priority for AWFS".)

The show also serves as a platform for charitable work, specifically the Woodworks for Children program, developed by AWFS in 1999. Exhibitors contribute materials, machining time and manpower to manufacture products at the show for donation to children's charities. This year, Las Vegas-based The Shade Tree Shelter for Homeless and Abused Women and Children will benefit from the program, which involves the manufacturing of various furniture and storage pieces for the shelter's HOPE (Hope, Opportunities and Personal Development through Education) Center.

Other show highlights include:

* "Passport to Prizes:" a booklet passed out to each attendee and stamped at designated booths. Drawings will be conducted throughout the show for a variety of prizes, including: laptops with DVD drives, digital cameras, iPods, flatscreen monitors, etc.

* Expanded First-Time Exhibitor and New Products showcases. These showcases will be located at the main entry point near registration. The First-Time Exhibitors Showcase will feature the products and services of more than 250 companies. The New Products Showcase features new-to-market machinery and supplies, which are organized into seven categories: large machinery, small machinery, power tools, hardware, components, upholstery, tooling and software. These items are also eligible to compete for Sequoia Awards in four categories: Environmental Achievement, Ergonomics/Safety, Product Innovation and Productivity.

AWFS Fair Timeline

The following is a retrospective of AWFS Fair highlights from the past 48 years.

1957: The Suppliers Chapter of the California Furniture Manufacturers Assn. creates a woodworking fair in the basement of the Los Angeles Ambassador Hotel An estimated 200 people attend the event.

1963: Show moves to Anaheim.

1977: Show moves back to Los Angeles

1979: Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers is formed. AWFS[R] takes over sponsorship of the show

1981: First seminar program held in conjunction with the show.

1987: Show returns to the Anaheim Convention Center

2003: AWFS staff takes over management of the show. The decision is made to move the show to Las Vegas. This dovetails with the goal of the board to change the perception of the AWFS Fair horn one of being a very large regional show to that of being a top national and international industry event' says Dale Silverman executive director,

2005: AWFS Vegas Fair makes its debut Early attendance and exhibit figures show it to be the largest event in the shows history.

Student Designs Take Center Stage at Vegas Fair

Fifty-eight student designs finalists will have their work prominently displayed at AWFS[R] Vegas, the largest woodworking trade show in North America this year. The 2005 contest drew 160 entries from across the United States and Canada, including 10 high schools and 23 post secondary schools.

The winners will be announced at the AWFS Awards Reception on July 28 at the Hilton Hotel Scott Phillips, host of "The American Woodshop," will emcee the event.

"The contest has truly arrived as a national event." says Duane Griffiths, chair of the Student Design Committee "Entries were submitted horn border to border, and coast to coast. Only the best have entered."

Prizes are awarded in each of four categories for two styles: traditional, which features entries that follow a known design style, with emphasis on workmanship: and creative which emphasizes uniqueness and functionality. The four categories are chairs, tables, casework/cabinets and upholstered furniture. New to the 2005 competition is the "team project" category, which will feature one project completed by multiple students from one class. 2005's theme, "Special Needs Furnishings," will round out the contest categories.

Both first place winners and honorable mentions will be recognized. First place winners will receive a $1,000 cash award. Chosen from among the first place winners, the Best of Show will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a sculpture designed by Sam Maloof; a $2,500 prize will go to the students school. Those receiving honorable mentions will be awarded $250. In addition, a $500 People's Choice" award will be given to the finalist whose piece receives the most votes by fair attendees and exhibitors. Winners of the 2005 Student Design Contest will be featured in the book. Fresh Wood: New Designers, Volume 2, a photographic compilation showcasing the students' designs, woods used and joinery techniques, as well as insights into the conception and construction process.
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Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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