The annual International Floriculture Expo (IFE) will take place June 25-27 this year at McCormick Place in Chicago and will showcase the latest and greatest products and services from more than 225 exhibitors, education programs, networking opportunities and fun events.

IFE will again be co-located with United FreshTEC Expo, United FreshMKT Expo, SmartFood Expo and the Global Cold Chain Expo, offering attendees the opportunity to attend five powerful trade shows in a single venue.

Here is a rundown of a just a few of the special events awaiting attendees at this year’s IFE show.

EDUCATION DAY
In addition to the trade fair and the special events listed below, IFE also offers Education Day, on Monday, June 25. Sponsored by Super Floral and burton + BURTON, this year’s event will comprise five dynamic programs plus a Keynote Lunch presentation by Ken Schmidt, former director of communications for Harley-Davidson, who will share strategies for dominating your marketplace. Other Education Day sessions will include:

  • “American Floral Trends Forecast,” presented by Keith White, AIFD, and sponsored by Florists’ Review and Super Floral magazines
  • The art and science of experiential balloon merchandising
  • Global floral industry statistics – mass market, traditional florist, e-commerce and consumer buying behaviors
  • Building efficiency, collaboration and revenue with the latest technology – new marketing, retail and commerce platforms
  • Creating a culture of employee community, to recruit, motivate and retain staff members

TOAST TO THE INDUSTRY RECEPTION
The opening champagne toast for all attendees and exhibitors, this event features the “Merchandising Award of Excellence” presentation by Syndicate Sales and Super Floral, and the “Flower Naming Ceremony.” This reception takes place at the close of IFE’s Education Day, at 5 p.m. on Monday, June 25.

MERCHANDISING AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
Since 1998, the “Merchandising Award of Excellence,” sponsored by Syndicate Sales and Super Floral, has recognized North America’s best in-store floral merchandising. The top three winners will receive airfare and hotel accommodations to attend IFE 2018 where the grand-prize winner will be announced during the Toast to the Industry Reception.

Interested supermarket floral departments can enter their displays through April 30. Visit superfloral.com/mae to get more information and/or to submit entries.

FLOWER-NAMING CEREMONY
This ninth-annual flower-naming ceremony will honor a floral industry luminary who has made a significant impact over the course of his or her career, and it will take place during the Toast to the Industry Reception. The winner is kept a secret until the ceremony, when the flower and its new name are revealed, followed by a ceremonial champagne pour over the new flower.

IRON DESIGNER COMPETITION
IFE’s Iron Designer Competition is an “Iron Chef”-style floral design competition where participants don’t know what materials they will be working with until just before the clock starts, giving them only 20 minutes to create a design.

The competition often sees competitors from all aspects of the industry, from mass-market retailers to smaller boutique design firms. The fun event takes place during IFE’s Happy Hour in front of a cheering crowd, and the panel of judges comprises AIFD accredited floral designers and other industry floral design experts.

You can enter to compete in this event until April 13 at floriexpo.com/iron-designer.

FLOWER FIELD CHATS
In addition to Education Day on Monday, June 25, IFE offers Flower Field Chats – 30-minute design and trend sessions on the show floor delivering brief but powerful concepts so that attendees can learn and quickly get back to working the trade show. These will occur on Tuesday, June 26 and Wednesday, June 27. The full lineup of topics and presenters will be announced soon.

FLASH FLORAL SPEED NETWORKING
Spots for this two-hour event, which begins at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, June 26, are limited, but it will provide opportunities for new exhibitors to meet with some of the top buyers in attendance, in a “speed networking” setting.

INNOVATION BATTLEFIELD
This is a live demonstration of the most innovative products and services from IFE suppliers. Exhibitors will pitch their products or services in front of a live audience of buyers/ attendees, who then can vote for their favorites using the event app. It will take place at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 27. n

To register to attend this event, and to view a full list of exhibitors, events and education programs, visit floriexpo.com – and keep checking the website for updated information and additions.