CHICAGO Held in conjunction with TS2—the so-called “trade show about trade shows" that overtook McCormick Place from Monday through Thursday this week—the Trade Show Exhibitors' Association's Foundation Gala took place at the Chicago Illuminating Company on Wednesday night. With decor from Kehoe Designs and tasting stations from local restaurants such as Carnivale and Petterino's, the event served as a platform to announce the winners of the first annual Exhibitors' Choice awards.
Based on votes that about 5,100 industry professionals cast on the associations' Web site, Exhibitgroup/Giltspur took home the award for Best Exhibit House. Freeman won the Favorite General Contractor award, and Nth Degree was voted Favorite Installation and Dismantling Company. TWI claimed the prize for Favorite Transportation and Freight Company, and the National Restaurant Association's Mary Pat Heftman—whom we spoke to in April—received recognition as Favorite Show Manager along with the Consumer Electronics Show's Karen Chupka. Other winners were Exhibit Surveys for the Favorite of the Rest—All Other Types of Suppliers award, and the Consumer Electronics Show for Favorite Show of 2009. Las Vegas was named Favorite Convention City, and McCormick Place won the Best Convention Center award.