PORTLAND — The Farwest Show team is working “fast and furious” to create the 2021 edition, which will take place Aug. 18-20.
Last year the annual event — the biggest green industry show in the West — was canceled due to COVID-19, making this year extra special and more important than ever in providing a platform for individuals in the industry to network and enhance their businesses.
Allan Niemi, director of events for the Oregon Association of Nurseries, which produces the Farwest Show, said the industry “is really based on a handshake and seeing your neighbor” and the Farwest team is excited to get back to normalcy and see everyone in person once again.
“Our industry is very close-knit. We’re excited to see our friends and we’ve got 5,000 friends that may be coming to the show,” Niemi said.
The three-day show at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland will also offer nearly 40 hours of industry-leading educational seminars providing insights into topics ranging from environmentally friendly landscaping to connecting with customers through marketing.
The event will have three main showcases following the themes of New Varieties, New Products and Growing Trends.
The New Varieties showcase will highlight the latest plants on the market. The New Products showcase will feature some of the newest advanced machinery and tools that can improve productivity in the industry and soothe labor shortages that many nurseries deal with, Niemi said.
The Growing Trends showcase follows an “Enchanted Wonderland” theme, which will show event-goers how to design their spaces within the themes of “immunity gardens” (gardens with edibles to aid the immune system), “secret gardens” (gardens to promote inner peace and tranquility) and “gardens of joy” (areas that boost happiness, like outdoor play areas).
The keynote speaker this year is Katie Dubow, who will talk about future garden trends. She will speak at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18. Her presentation is free to registered attendees and exhibitors.
The show also includes many networking opportunities, such as on Day 1, when the “Emergent Networking” event will help up-and-comers mingle with veterans in the nursery industry. Later that day, the “Happy Hour” gathering will provide an opportunity for participants to get to know one another away from the show floor.
On Day 2, Rachel Burlington, co-founder of the National Women in Horticulture group, will be a guest speaker for the “Women in Horticulture” event.
That evening, the ninth annual “Pub Crawl” will let individuals experience a slice of Portland’s many pubs.
Niemi said all of the networking events are “giving an opportunity to create bonds, find your support groups and new friends to really strengthen the industry.”
Registration for the event is open, and Niemi said they are on the same track in terms of participants as in previous years — which is “fantastic.”