Bryan Haraway  

January always marks the end of one season and the beginning of another. Many of us just spent the holiday season eating more than we should have, spending too much money, and enjoying a couple of extra days off work.

The first month of the year also marks another season for many of us at Hanley Wood and for many of our readers. And that’s trade show season. Specifically, it’s time for World of Concrete. Of course, the show does not just magically come together a few weeks before the first seminar is held. It’s a year-long enterprise. No sooner does one show end, then planning starts on making the next year’s even better.

I was thinking about how the event has grown since my first World of Concrete, when I started reminiscing about the first trade show I attended. I had to go way back to the late 1980s. Chicago was sweltering in the middle of an August heat wave and thousands of people grumbled about waiting in the heat and humidity in incredibly long lines for taxis to take them to and from their downtown hotels and the convention center a couple of miles away.

That show was for the hardware and home center industry. I remember walking up and down hundreds of aisles. After taking a break for lunch, I would continue my journey. There were many more aisles yet to traverse.

I was not alone. That is pretty much what all of the thousands of other people did: walk up and down aisle after aisle, probably wondering how long they had to wait to get a taxi back to their hotels later in the afternoon.

Fast forward

When I think about that show in Chicago 20-some years ago, I am thankful for World of Concrete. Visiting the exhibitors is very important and educational, and I strongly recommend taking time to see them. But maybe you won’t be thinking about making your escape when you learn about the incredible array of other activities in which you can participate. Many of these are geared for people just like you.

Where do I begin? How about the Concrete Surfaces & Decorative Pavilion, which will be home to Concrete Construction’s How-to Zone.

This will be the 10th year decorative concrete contractors will create and display their projects at Artistry in Decorative Concrete. Contractor Clinics bring concrete contractors face-to-face with suppliers, manufacturers, and service providers through live, interactive demonstrations. Polished concrete contractors can spend time at the Concrete Polishing Demonstration area to learn about polishing basics, maintenance, and creating a safe floor. Of course, the Concrete Polishing Luncheon & Forum returns on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

I’ve just scratched the surface. Visit for updates. I make no promises about the cab lines. See you at the show!