Southern California's Top Trade Shows & Conventions 2010

By Alesandra Dubin August 19, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT


Photo: Nadine Froger

1. Los Angeles Auto Show
This well-established event has been on the scene for more than a century. It ran from December 4 to 13 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. During press days on December 2 and 3, automakers hosted 24 press conferences and unveiled more than 30 world and North American debuts, including a dozen concept vehicles.

2. Comic-Con International
This four-decade-old show has a rabid fan following and a growing tendency to attract mainstream Hollywood celebrities. Memberships for the 2010 show sold out in November 2009, months before the previous year’s record-breaking March sellout. The 2010 show runs from July 22 through 25, with a preview night on July 21 at the San Diego Convention Center.

3. The Women’s Conference
California’s first lady, Maria Shriver, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Women’s Conference once again drew masses of women to join a packed roster of about 70 high-level speakers and participants at the Long Beach Convention Center in 2009. The program ballooned from a single day to two full days to accommodate the increasing number of would-be attendees. The 2010 conference is set for October 25 and 26.

4. The NAMM Show
The National Association of Music Merchants puts the final registration and exhibitor numbers for the 2010 NAMM Show, the longest-running trade show in the United States, at 87,569 registrants. There were 1,373 exhibitors this year, including nearly 250 new exhibitors—a new record for the 108-year-old event. The show ran January 14 through 17 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

5. TED Conference
Presenters ranging from Bill Gates to James Cameron gathered at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center for the 26th annual Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) Conference, an intellectual powwow held February 9 to 13. TED gives participating speakers, billed by the nonprofit as “the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers,” a forum to present 18-minute talks to an invitation-only audience of more than 1,000.

6. D: All Things Digital Conference
The Wall Street Journal’s conference has been bringing big news and discussions with top names in media and technology since its debut in 2003. Creators and executive producers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher presented D8, the eighth annual conference, June 1 to 3. The program, which took over the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, had been sold out since January.

7. American Film Market
The 30th annual film market ran from November 4 to 11 in Santa Monica. The event screened 445 films, including 73 world premieres and 311 market premieres, to 8,000-plus film buyers and industry professionals from more than 70 countries. The trade association Independent Film & Television Alliance produces the market.

8. Los Angeles Boat Show
Produced by the Southern California Marine Association, the 54th annual show took to the Los Angeles Convention Center from February 18 to 21. Billing itself as the largest of its kind on the West Coast, the event occupies acres of exhibits and shows hundreds of new boats from 6 to 60 feet.

9. E3
The global computer and video game trade show, owned and operated by the Entertainment Software Association, took to the Los Angeles Convention Center June 15 through 17. The expo draws tens of thousands of industry professionals to its sprawl of high-tech exhibits.

10. California Gift Show
L.A. Mart owner MMPI announced in 2009 the acquisition of the California Gift Show from DMG World Media, and the newly integrated show ran under MMPI’s ownership and management. The next show will be July 16 to 19 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, with a chance to shop early at the L.A. Mart beginning on July 13.

11. The Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show
Billed as the largest travel show in the United States, this event was held February 13 and 14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It attracts hundreds of destination exhibitors and offers a scuba pool, cultural performances on the Global Beat Stage, and the World Culinary Stage. 

12. Milken Institute’s Global Conference
This annual conference ran April 26 through 28 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. With 560 speakers on 140 panels, the event brought discussions among top-level decision makers and thinkers on topics like education, energy, finance, government, health, media, and philanthropy. T. Boone Pickens, Maria Shriver, and Eli Broad were among the participants in the program, which drew more than 3,000 attendees.

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