The top 100 events in the United States and the top 100 events in Canada represent a diverse array of industries and interests, but this select group does share many things in common. These are events so powerful and prominent that they cause planners to schedule other events around them. They make news simply by changing a format, venue, or host. They dominate the conversation on Twitter and Facebook. And for events not already at maximum capacity, they continue to grow, adding more attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors.
Their popularity proves why events still matter—and now more than ever. People are eager to connect with one another, with brands, and with causes, and top events provide the forum that brings them together.
Top events also have staying power. For our second annual lists, we highlighted events that are at least 25 years old, such as Comic-Con International, which has grown from a gathering of 300 people to 130,000, and Toronto Pride, which this year hosted the international WorldPride festival. The endurance of such gatherings speaks to their ability to adapt to the changing needs of attendees and their industries.
As with all lists, these are subjective. To choose and rank the annual events, we considered several factors, including economic impact, buzz, innovation, and an event’s prominence within the communities it serves. The selections also were vetted by insiders in each category.