For Immediate Release
WHITE HOUSE CHEF, JOE GARDENER TO JOIN 10,000 HORTICULTURAL INDUSTRY REPS AT OFA SHORT COURSE TO BE HELD AT FROM JULY 14-17
“This is our 84th OFA Short Course and attendance is on pace with last year, with 578 companies exhibiting and a sold-out trade show with quite a few international exhibiting companies,” said OFA – Manager Education & Events Margaret McGuire. “Garden Center Live! will be in Ballroom 1 this year. It’s our pride and joy.”
“We’ll have our grower solutions in the concourse with seven different greenhouses represented,” added OFA Director - Communication & Marketing Laura Kunkle. “Also new this year is the show-stopper coupon book with exhibitors offering show specials. We’ll also have our ‘office hours,’ with high-level speakers giving opportunities for
one-on-one time to attendees. It’s a free consultation essentially. OFA will also have its own 20’ x 40’ booth with an ANLA (American Nursery & Landscape Association) joint venture, and there will be food trucks on Monday afternoon outside the Convention Center.”
More than 1,500 trade show booths, 120 speakers, 140 sessions and a variety of special displays, programs and events are part of the 2012 OFA Short Course.
Last year, representatives from more than 30 countries attended the event.
Joe Lamp’l, also known as joe gardener®, will offer a keynote presentation, “Can You Hear Me Now? Voices from Beyond the Greenhouse,” at 8 a.m. Sunday, July 15. He will examine the products and services offered by the horticulture industry and how to influence consumer behavior. On a number of television programs, he shares his ability to assist homeowners with a variety of home garden projects.
“Gardening’s Positive Impact on Our Communities & Our Lives” will be the keynote presentation of White House Assistant Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass, at 8 a.m. on Monday, July 16. Kass is a proponent of the utilization of sustainable and nutritious ingredients and assisted First Lady Michelle Obama in creating the White House’s first major vegetable garden since 1890. The garden has already produced nearly a ton of fresh vegetables enjoyed by the Obama family, event guests, White House staff and area food pantries.
Garden Center Live! retailers will focus upon retail trends, short cuts, the 10% Project: Increasing Plant Sales by 10 percent, and the Merchandising Contest & Concepts.
Small-group trade show interactive sessions will be held on the trade show floor and include topics ranging from “Fairy Gardens” to “Gardening in Unique Shapes and Directions.”
Trade show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 15 and Monday, July 16, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 17.
The OFA Designer of the Year Contest will feature a home improvement theme, with Home as a Haven, Home for the Holiday and Home DIY as the categories.
The Sustainability Showcase will focus upon the companies with a particular emphasis on environmental responsibility.
Grower Solutions Quick Bites is a series of 15-minute sessions designed to help growers discover the solutions to production questions and examine seven structures ranging from polycarbonate to shade cloth, and learn more about a variety of possibilities from more than 10 experts.
The latest genetic characteristics will be showcased in the New Varieties area, while the industry’s new technological advances and equipment will be at the forefront in the New Products section.
The ANLA Annual Meeting will be conducted concurrently with the OFA Short Course.
OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals is locally based and the leading horticulture association in the United States. The OFA Short Course was named the 150th largest trade show in the United States by Trade Show News Network.
“Trade Show News Network announced the OFA Short Course was among the top 25 fastest-growing trade shows in terms of attendance over the past three years,” said SMG Regional General Manager Craig M. Liston.
The Greater Columbus Convention Center, located in downtown Columbus, hosted an estimated 2.5 million visitors in 2011. The facility is owned by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority and is managed by SMG.
Since 1977, SMG has provided management services to more than 220 public assembly facilities including arenas, stadiums, theatres and performing arts centers, equestrian facilities and convention, congress and exhibition centers. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 11 million square feet of exhibition space. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides construction and design consulting, pre-opening services, venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through an in-house catering company, Savor, currently servicing more than 100 accounts worldwide.
Visit www.columbusconventions.com and www.smgworld.com for more information.
Jennifer B. Davis
Marketing & Communications Manager
Greater Columbus Convention Center