Top shows, meetings, maker faires for inventors

That remote you use to change the channel on your favorite show—somebody or some company invented that (and somebody else improved it). They also likely built a prototype; got a patent; had to decide whether to sell it themselves or license it; and found a manufacturer, distributor and retailer, among other challenges.

The same with the fob that unlocks your car, the bathroom faucet handle you turn to wash your face, the microwave that heats your food, and millions of inventions we take for granted.

Trade shows involving a world of products and services are often instrumental for finding essential contacts to help guide us through the myriad layers of the inventing and entrepreneurial process. They also provide a glimpse into what your competitors are doing and what you may need to succeed.

That’s why Inventors Digest adds more entries to our U.S. trade show list each year—to provide as many highly attended options we can think of to put you in front of the right person or people who can help turn your idea into a slice of the American Dream. This year, we added a significant number of events that are either the largest in the United States in a particular category, or the largest in North America.

 For the rest of 2020, the magazine will list each month’s major show events in the back of that issue. Meanwhile, keep this list for reference throughout the year, or access it at inventorsdigest.com.

Another handy reference point is the short story that regular contributor Don Debelak wrote with the list we ran in the January 2019 issue. “Go, or no? 7 tips to decide if a trade show is right for your product” is a must-read. See inventorsdigest.com/articles/go-or-no/

JANUARY

January 7-10
International Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
World’s largest technology trade show
Las Vegas Convention Center
866-233-7968
ces.tech
Not open to the public. 

January 13-15
A3 Business Forum
Robotics, vision and imaging, motors
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
734-994-6088
a3automate.org

January 16-19
National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM)
Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center
760-438-8001
namm.org

January 19-21
Texworld USA
North America’s largest apparel fabrics show
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York City
678-564-6310
texworld-usa.us.messefrankfurt.com/new-york/en.html
Also July 22-24.

January 21-23
NAHB International Builders’ Show (National Association of Home Builders)
Las Vegas Convention Center
202-266-8610
buildersshow.com

January 21-23
KBIS (Kitchen & Bath Industry Show)
Las Vegas Convention Center
770-291-5434
kbis.com

January 21-24
PGA Merchandise Show
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, Fla.
800-840-5628
pgashow.com

January 21-24
Racquet & Paddle Sports Show
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, Fla.
203-840-5613
racquetpaddlesportsshow.com

FEBRUARY

February 1-6
SPIE Photonics West
(Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers)
Biophotonics for brain research and health care; lasers; core optical components for consumer products
Moscone Convention Center
San Francisco
888-504-8171
spie.org

February 3-5
AHR (International Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigerating Expo)
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, Fla.
203-221-9232
ahrexpo.com

February 4-6
IPC APEX Expo
Printed board electronics manufacturing
San Diego Convention Center
877-472-4724
ipcapexexpo.org

February 4-6
International Roofing Expo
Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center
972-536-6415
theroofingexpo.com

February 4-6
Intersolar North America
San Diego Convention Center
508-743-8536
intersolar.us

February 11-13
Medical Design & Manufacturing West (MD&M West)
Medical technology, from prototyping to full-scale manufacturing
Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center
310-445-4200
mdmwest.mddionline.com

February 11-13
World AG Expo
International Agri-Center
Tulare, Calif.
800-999-9186
worldagexpo.com

February 12-16
Developer Week 2020
Artificial intelligence
Oakland (Calif.) Convention Center
Submit form online
developerweek.com

February 13-17
Miami International Boat Show
Miami (Fla.) Marine Stadium Park & Basin
954-441-3220
miamiboatshow.com

February 22-25
American International Toy Fair
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York City
212-675-1141
toyfairny.com

February 26-28
Global Pet Expo
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, Fla.
Submit form online
globalpetexpo.org

MARCH

March 13-22
South By Southwest Conference & Festival
Technology, start-up ideas, pitch competitions
Austin, Texas
512-467-7979
sxsw.com/attend

March 14-17
The Inspired Home Show
McCormick Place, Chicago
847-292-4200
housewares.org

March 16-20
Game Developers Conference (GDC)
Video games
Moscone Center
San Francisco
866-535-8997
gdconf.com

March 17-20
ISC West (International Security Conference & Exposition)
Physical security industry
Sands Expo & Convention Center
Las Vegas
800-840-5602
iscwest.com

March 30-April 3
International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE)
Las Vegas Convention Center
800-927-5007
iwceexpo.com

APRIL

April 8-10
National Academy of Inventors (NAI)
Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass
Phoenix
813-974-4438
academyofinventors.org

April 20-23
RAPID + TCT
3D manufacturing
Anaheim Convention Center
800-733-4763
rapid3devent.com

MAY

May 4-7
IBM Think 2020
Technology
Moscone Center
San Francisco
888-426-4409
ibm.com/events/think

May 4-7
WasteExpo
Solid waste, recycling
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
New Orleans
203-358-9900
wasteexpo.com

May 5-7
National Hardware Show
Las Vegas Convention Center
888-425-9377
nationalhardwareshow.com

May 15-17
Maker Faire Bay Area
San Mateo (Calif.) Event Center
No phone contact for show
makerfaire.com/bay-area/

May 19-21
Sweets & Snacks Expo
McCormick Place
Chicago
833-336-3206
sweetsandsnacks.com

May 19-21
Licensing International Expo
World’s largest licensing trade show
Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Las Vegas
888-644-2022
licensingexpo.com

May 28-30
International Franchise Expo
More than 400 proven franchise opportunities
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York City
201-226-1130
ifeinfo.com

May 31-June 4
Cisco Live
Technology
Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Las Vegas
866-405-2508
ciscolive.com

JUNE

June 8-11
BIO International Convention
Biotechnology
San Diego Convention Center
No phone contact for show
[email protected]
convention.bio.org

June 9-11
E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo)
Computer and video games
Los Angeles Convention Center
Submit form online
e3expo.com

June 9-11
International Floriculture Expo
Floral industry
Miami Beach Convention Center
207-842-5508
floriexpo.com

June 9-11
Medical Design & Manufacturing East (MD&M East)
Medical technology, from prototyping to full-scale manufacturing
Jacob J. Javits Convention Center
New York City
No general phone number
advancedmanufacturingnewyork.com

June 13-19
InfoComm 2020
Largest professional audio-visual trade show in North America
Las Vegas Convention Center
703-273-7200
infocommshow.org

June 23-25
FIME
Largest international medical trade fair in the U.S.
Miami Beach (Fla.) Convention Center
877-394-9749
fimeshow.com

June 28-30
Summer Fancy Food Show
Largest specialty food industry event in North America
Jacob J. Javits Convention Center
New York City
212-482-6440
specialtyfood.com/shows-events/summer-fancy-food-show/

June 29-July 1
TechConnect World Innovation
Commercializing lab innovation
Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center
National Harbor, Md.
925-353-5004
techconnectworld.com

June 29-July 1
Cosmoprof North America
Leading business-to-business beauty trade show event in the Americas
Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Las Vegas
800-468-2274
cosmoprofnorthamerica.com

JULY

July 12-15
IFT20 Annual Event & Food Expo
(Institute of Food Technologists)
McCormick Place
Chicago
800-438-3663
iftevent.org

July 14-17
ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades)
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, Fla.
703-519-9691
icastfishing.org

July 17-20
AWFS Fair (Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers)
Las Vegas Convention Center
800-946-2937
awfsfair.org

July 26-30
AACC Clinical Lab Expo (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
Laboratory medicine, technology
McCormick Place
Chicago
800-892-1400
aacc.org

AUGUST

August 11-13
Independent Garden Center Show
McCormick Place
Chicago
[email protected]
igcshow.com

August 31-September 3
SuperZoo Show
Pet industry
Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Las Vegas
626-447-2222
superzoo.org

SEPTEMBER

September 9-11
ABC Kids Expo
Products for juveniles
Las Vegas Convention Center
210-691-4848
theabcshow.com

September 14-17
Solar Power International (SPI)
Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center
703-738-9460
solarpowerinternational.com

OCTOBER

October 3-7
WEFTEC (Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition & Conference)
Morial Convention Center
New Orleans
800-666-0206
weftec.org

October 28-30
MWC Los Angeles (Mobile World Congress)
Core mobile technologies, IoT-related applications, more
Los Angeles Convention Center
Submit form online
mwcamericas.com

NOVEMBER

November 8-11
PACK EXPO
North America’s largest packing and processing show
McCormick Place
Chicago
Submit form online
packexpointernational.com

November 18-19
ISC East (International Security Conference & Exposition)
Physical security industry
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York City
800-840-5602
isceast.com

DECEMBER

December 8-10
POWER-GEN International
All forms of energy
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, Fla.
Submit form online
power-gen.com

Note: Contact shows to ensure those events are open to the public.