At this time of year, local hoteliers and restaurants usually would be counting their shekels from the Outdoor Retailer show. Instead, Denver happily took their money and had a wang-dang-doodle of a trade show. The Salt Palace has other meetings coming our way, though. An estimated 2,800 people attended the Western Hunting & Conservation Expo, 2,000 at the Varsity Athletic Championships, 2,800 will come to the Utah Coalition Against Pornography conference, and 6,000 to the International Tattoo Convention. In April, the JAMZ Cheer and Dance will bring 2,000 folks, the SLC Marathon Quality of Life Expo expects 10,000 and the Utah Dental Association should bring in around 6,000 professionals to downtown. FitCon is gearing up for 13,000 people in April and the USA Taekwondo National Championships are here July 1-10.
The folks at the Salt Palace work hard as hell to get conventioneers to Utah, and this year they've also landed the National Funeral Directors Association Annual Convention and Expo in November with 5,400 attendees expected, the Masters Weightlifting American Masters Championships in October, and the National Communication Association annual convention.
Denver doesn't have the multi-level marketing conventions we host in downtown. I know of folks who work in City Creek who say their stores live and breathe off the MLM conventions bringing foreign visitors wanting to buy American products or foreign goods at cheaper prices than they can find in their countries. Melaleuca will have 8,000 folks visit in May, Usana's annual convention in August brings in 11,5000 members, Young Living Essential Oils fall retreat has 3,000 attendees, and doTerra's mega convention will gather a whopping 30,000 people in September.
SLC's biggest convention is Salt Lake Comic Convention's FanX, which attracts more than 120,000 people.
Conventions aren't the only events drawing people to Salt Lake. The Utah Pride Festival starts June 1, the Utah Arts Festival is June 21-24, the Vans Warped Tour passes through on June 30, and the Holi Festival of Colors is June 9.
There are plenty of festivals and fairs in other parts of the state, too. Spanish Fork's Festival of Colors is March 24-25 and the Dirty Dash in Midway is on June 9. Down south, the St. George Art Festival is in April, the Utah Shakespeare Festival starts June 28 in Cedar City, the Moab Folk Festival and the Moab "Scots on the Rocks" Celtic Festival are both set for November.