Due to COVID-19 concerns, ongoing restrictions on large indoor gatherings, and unforeseen unavailability at the Baltimore Convention Center, the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show announced on Aug. 4 that the 2021 show, initially scheduled for Jan. 6-8, is unable to take place as an in-person event. MANTS organizers are, instead, working to provide an online platform where exhibitors and attendees can conduct business.
MANTS Executive Vice President Vanessa Finney giving a speech at the 50th anniversary celebration evening during MANTS 2020 edition.
Organizers had been optimistic about the possibility of continuing the 50-year tradition of MANTS in January 2021 but recently confirmed that the Baltimore Convention Center is not available for the scheduled dates due to its ongoing role as a State of Maryland field hospital.
The Baltimore Convention Center has served as a 250-bed COVID-19 field hospital since April and will continue to serve in that capacity through the end of December.
When factoring in additional time required to break down the field hospital and sanitize, organizers said it is impractical to assume proper access to the building even if the state should change its restrictions on large-scale indoor gatherings.
“The health and safety of our exhibitors and attendees is our primary focus,” said MANTS Executive Vice President Vanessa Finney. “We’ve exhausted all other alternative dates for an in-person show, and while we are disappointed that we can’t meet in person, we are committed to keeping commerce within our industry alive and healthy. MANTS’ continued support of our show sponsors, the state nursery and landscape associations of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia is critical despite the pandemic.”
The horticulture industry has remained strong with interest in home gardening especially on the rise across the country due to quarantine. With many industry shows canceled in 2020 due to coronavirus, MANTS stands uniquely positioned to ensure exhibitors and buyers remain connected even though they cannot meet face-to-face.
“MANTS has meant business for the green industry for 50 years, and we plan to continue this tradition into 2021,” added Finney. “We have long said that MANTS means business, and that has traditionally meant in-person and face-to-face, but over the next few weeks, we are working on an alternate way to keep that business relationship between exhibitor and buyer healthy and available through 2021.”
In 2020, MANTS welcomed over 12,000 total registrants (including exhibitors) to do business, network, and learn about the latest green industry trends generating an economic impact of $5.6 million for Baltimore. In addition to the increased registration in 2020, business thrived at the premier green industry marketplace, with more than 88% of MANTS attendees designated as the representatives in their companies that make or influence final purchasing decisions.
“The first week of January in Baltimore has always been celebrated by welcoming the attendees and exhibitors of the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show, a dedicated partner with the Baltimore Convention Center since 1980,” said Peggy Daidakis, Executive Director of the Baltimore Convention Center. “It has been a privilege to see MANTS expand over the years and we appreciate the impact the event has had on the City of Baltimore and our entire region. We look forward to MANTS returning.”
“Visit Baltimore and the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS) have been longtime partners with the show meeting in Baltimore for 40 consecutive years,” said Al Hutchinson, President & CEO of Visit Baltimore. “Although the 2021 show is being reimagined due to the pandemic, we look forward to welcoming MANTS back to Baltimore in-person when the time is right and continuing our great partnership.”
Additional details on MANTS 2021 plans will be shared in the weeks to come