The 2023 Farwest Show celebrated 50 years of bringing nursery professionals together in style August 23–25, with more exhibitors, more attendees — and definitely more fun.
“The nursery and greenhouse industry is Oregon’s leading agricultural sector,” said Allan Niemi, director of events for the Oregon Association of Nurseries, which produces Farwest. “The Farwest Show put that on full display, with many different growers, suppliers, and service providers all there to learn, make connections, do business, and just grow, in every sense.”
The show brought together more than 4,000 attendees from 14 countries and 44 states for two sold-out nursery tours, a diverse array of educational seminars, a full floor of expo booths, four social gatherings, and a bundle of surprises celebrating the show’s five decades of existence.
Those surprises included a 28-piece marching band weaving throughout the show floor (The Beat Goes On), complete with dancers and a baton twirler; a bagpiping unicyclist (the Unipiper) going up and down the aisles, costumed in a kilt and a Darth Vader helmet; a 50th-anniversary cake-cutting ceremony with plenty to go around; and a well-received visit from the one and only Caesar the No-Drama Llama.
“We wanted to make the show fun and memorable, and it was, judging by all the people bringing out their cameras,” Niemi said. “I can’t tell you how many people took videos of the band and Unipiper and selfies with Caesar the No-Drama Llama.”
Others got into the act as well. Longtime exhibitor Pac Fibre Soils of Canby, Oregon, came up with a strategy to bring fun and business connections together. They created a treasure hunt with four other exhibitors on the expo floor, including Western Pulp Products Company, Walla Walla Nursery Co., Blooming Nursery, and OBC Northwest Inc.
Attendees stopped at each booth, putting together their own plant in a container to take home. Returning to Pac Fibre’s booth, they could then claim a bonus prize of a Pac Fibre beverage bottle. This fun treasure hunt brought extra traffic and engagement to all five booths.
“Everyone loved it,” said Nate Marsh, sales manager. “It brought in new contacts. It was that soft opening for people that probably wouldn’t have looked at us.” He went on to say that the 2023 Farwest Show was “probably the best it’s been in five years. Seeing where your network takes you opens up new possibilities.”