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FEATURE

Washington's Top Trade Shows, Conventions & Meetings 2009

Rep. John Conyers Jr. and Barack Obama at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference.

Photo: Courtesy of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

1. Washington Auto Show
This four-day car showcase took over 750,000 square feet at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in February, when members of Congress were among the many thousands eager to view new models in the Green Car Pavilion. Next year’s show is set for January 27 to 30.

2. NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo
More than 85,000 Washingtonians enjoyed fun attractions like a rock-climbing wall, snowboarding simulator, and golf driving range at this 16th annual health fair in January 2009. Next year’s expo returns to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from January 16 to 17.

3. Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference
In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama was honored at the red-carpet gala portion of this conference, which brought more than 18,000 people to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The 39th annual conference takes place September 23 to 26.

4. Washington Home and Garden Show
More than 20,000 people were expected at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from March 19 to 22 for the 50th anniversary of this largest home and garden show on the East Coast.

5. Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting & Exposition
This members-only professional development forum is expected to bring some 20,000 active, reserve, and guard members to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from October 5 to 7.

6. DC Spring Antiques Show
This inaugural event brought 20,000 people to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in March 2009, an impressive feat considering that the tough economic climate led several prominent antiques shows to take the year off. Presented by the Palm Beach Show Group, next year’s event is slated for March 5 to 8.

7. Adventures in Travel Expo
Travel Channel host Samantha Brown and author/explorer Richard Bangs were among the top draws at this February travel show, which brought more than 9,000 people to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Next year’s expo is set for March 6 and 7.

8. Smithsonian Craft Show
More than 120 artists and 10,000 visitors were expected at the National Building Museum for this April 23 to 26 event, which has raised more than $8 million for the Smithsonian Institute since 1966.

9. Yacht Show at National Harbor
The venerable Washington Boat Show canceled its 2009 outing due to the economy, but local sailing fanatics still had this second annual event to look forward to. About 10,000 people were expected for the May 29 to 30 show, held at the National Harbor complex in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

10. Washington Craft Show
Nearly 200 juried artists will display their wares at this 22nd annual craft show, which takes place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from November 6 to 8. More than 9,600 people attended the 2008 show.

11. Washington Antiques Show
This 54th annual show, which benefits Thrift Shop Charities, moved to a new location—the Katzen Center at American University—in 2009, where it will return January 8 to 10 next year.

12. Washington National Cathedral Flower Mart
This 70-year-old flower fest, which raises funds to support the upkeep of the gardens at the National Cathedral, returns to the site’s grounds this May 1 and 2.