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WFE plans return to Las Vegas in 2018

The 2017 edition of the World Floral Expo was a big hit in Las Vegas March 22-24, according to show organizer Dick van Raamsdonk, so the event will return to the same location next year.

“I am glad that the choice to move to Las Vegas proved to be a good one,” van Raamsdonk told The Produce News. “The choice was based on the advice given by several members of the California Association of Flower Growers & Shippers, which is a major promoter and supporter of World Floral Expo.”

There were 98 exhibiting companies — more than 90 percent of them were flower growers — and over 760 visitors, including wholesalers, importers, and event planners from many different U.S. states.

“For this reason, this edition can be called a real grower-to-buyer trade event,” a spokesman from exhibition management said. “It was a real opportunity for flower buyers to source fresh-cut flowers from the main flower producing countries, i.e. the USA, Ecuador, Colombia, Kenya and Ethiopia. And the show did what an exhibitor can expect from a flower trade show — it brought sufficient quality buyers from every segment of the fresh-cut flower trade chain.”

Michael LoBue, chief executive officer at CalFlowers in Capitola, CA, told The Produce News, “Everybody said it was worth their while being there — they got business.”

J Schwanke, chief executive officer at in Grand Rapids, MI, gave a flower trends presentation at WFE and said he thought it was a better show than previous years.

“There was really strong attendance all three days,” said Schwanke. “The facility itself was very workable, everyone was very focused, and there were more vendors this year. My trend presentation was full. All the chairs were full and standing room was great, so that was pleasant and well received.”

Schwanke also enjoyed seeing all of the different products at WFE, especially the new varieties of flowers on the market.

“I saw a lot of new things, like glow-in-the-dark flowers,” Schwanke said. “Ball had a new dianthus ball chocolate that has a maroon tint to a green ball, which was fabulous. They had a new dianthus that was red with a white edge, and new varieties of delphinium that were beautiful — a lavender, a yellow and a blue that was stunning. Groflowers [a Miami-based flower grower, importer and distributor] had a line of hydrangeas there that are stellar. People aren’t going to find a better hydrangea on the planet. They were on display in water in Las Vegas for three days and they were stunning on the final day, which is a testament in itself in a dry climate like there. I’m a big fan of WFE. It’s one of my favorite shows. That and Fun ‘N Sun are my two favorite shows to go to. I feel there is more merit, more worthwhile value information I get at those shows than any other shows on the planet.”

Next year the World Floral Expo will be held from March 7-9 in Pavilion 2 of the World Market Center in Las Vegas.