While the events space has been quiet in recent months due to coronavirus concerns, Outdoor Retailer has announced the official relaunch of its in-person trade show this summer—news likely to be well received by gear-heads and nature enthusiasts alike.
Originally scheduled for June, the outdoor and sporting apparel, footwear and accessories show will take place two months later than planned, OR announced Tuesday. OR will return to the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver on Aug. 10-12, giving organizers ample time to facilitate safety and sanitation measures—and attendees the opportunity to plan for their participation as multiple Covid-19 vaccines are being rolled out across the country.
According to Marisa Nicholson, OR’s senior vice president and show director, the organization has been working with Visit Denver, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, as well as hotel partners and the Colorado Convention Center to implement safety protocols compliant with those recommended by health officials and government agencies. OR released literature detailing the event’s proposed measures this week, from daily temperature screenings to acceptable mask types. Medical personnel will also be stationed on site to assist anyone feeling unwell, it said.
“We recognize the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is dynamic in nature,” Nicholson said, adding that OR will continue to coordinate with officials, health agencies and show partners to adapt preparations based on new information about the virus.
The summer show will also feature a virtual component for those unable to attend in person—or still unsure about how safe they might feel sharing space with hundreds of vendors and thousands of attendees. Educational sessions will be run through webinar-style programming developed in partnership with the Outdoor Industry Association, Nicholson said, while buyers will be able to connect with brands digitally through a platform run by Elastic Suite.
While the fate of many trade shows hangs in the balance, both due to safety concerns and the state of the fashion industry, Nicholson said she is confident that the outdoor sector will continue to see gains. “During this past year we’ve all changed—how we live, the way we work, where we spend our time,” she said. “One of the highlights has been the dramatic boom in outdoor participation.” As shoppers have been sidelined from their daily lives, they’ve been diverting spend into categories like outdoor gear, footwear and apparel, that help facilitate their new or deepening affinity for socially distant hobbies.
Now, Nicholson said, brands have a chance to embrace these consumers with open arms. “They become lifelong outdoorists when we collectively nurture the new pursuits and ensure accessible adventures,” she added.