After two successful runs, third WEQ Fair being planned for October
More stops for the Wastewater Equipment Fair are in the works after the event’s second run earlier this month in Dallas.
The two-day fair showcased 35 exhibitors running equipment and performing demos on everything wastewater related, from pipe lining systems to vacuum trucks. The fair drew 232 attendees from 110 different companies and municipalities, but significantly higher registration numbers showed growing interest in the event’s format.
“There were over 400 people registered that had never attended a COLE Publishing event in the past, so our attempt to reach new people with the WEQ Fair is working,” says fair coordinator Brad Bisnette. “Some people don’t need a big national event. But host a regional event, put something in their backyards, and they’ll at least show intent on coming.”
Bisnette says many of the registrants who did not attend were from area municipalities.
“Things come up for them that they have to deal with,” he says. “We made registration free to help municipalities, but we knew in the end that could hurt or help us attendance-wise.”
But exhibiting companies remained satisfied, he says.
“The exhibitors like having a regional-type show. If they can get even 20 new people seeing their equipment who have never seen it before, it’s worth it. And some exhibitors are finding ways to make a road trip out of these fairs. They take the opportunity to visit other distributors they may have in the area.”
There were 35 exhibitors in Dallas, the same number as the first fair in Milwaukee, though only about half those companies were repeats from Milwaukee. Bisnette says he expects that will remain the trend for future fairs. Some exhibitors may attend every WEQ Fair because their equipment travels well and they have a large distribution network. Others may only be interested when it’s close to home.
“There were some exhibitors in Dallas specifically there because they’re Texas-based,” Bisnette says. “The plan is to move the fair where exhibitors want it to go. Where they see their potential customers is where we’ll take it.”
A late October date is being targeted for the next WEQ Fair to avoid conflicts with other trade shows. In 2018, the plan is for a three-city rotation with spring, summer and fall fairs.
“We have ideas on how to continue tweaking it. I think each one we do will be better,” Bisnette says. “We’re surveying exhibitors and attendees to find the best day patterns and show hours. We’re trying to not create scenarios where we pull people away from their work. We understand that they’re busy, but at the same time they need to see this equipment because stuff wears out and new technology comes out that can help them. We’re trying to make something as convenient as possible for their schedule.”