For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the city of Indianapolis is hosting a major trade show at the Indiana Convention Center. The 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo kicked off this morning with a ribbon cutting that included Governor Eric Holcomb and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. Approximately 8,000 attendees have converged on Indianapolis for the annual event, which is being held outside of Chicago for the first time in its history.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Sweets & Snacks Expo spokesperson Carly Schildhaus said there was a desire to get back together in person for this year’s event.
“We’re so thrilled to be able to bring everyone together and Indianapolis has been such a welcoming city for us, between the Indiana Convention Center, Visit Indy and of course, the residents of Indianapolis,” said Schildhaus. “We have felt so welcomed and so prepared to have this show in Indianapolis.”
The expo is held each year by the National Confectioners Association. The event features hundreds of vendors from the confectionery and snack industries, and includes new product launches, networking opportunities and merchandising innovations.
Schildhaus says, when organizers were looking for a location for the 2021 event, Indianapolis provided many appealing aspects.
“That has to do with so much of what Indianapolis has been able to do leading up to now. That includes large scale events like the NCAA tournament and the Indy 500 and we’re excited to be another large scale event that will be successfully held here in Indiana,” she said. “Of course, the $7 million of upgrades to the safety protocols here at the Indiana Convention Center were important to us. And of course, the city of Indianapolis offering so much of what people look for when they’re looking for a trade show location: hotel accommodations, great restaurants and of course, a very welcoming community here.”
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Governor Holcomb expressed pride that the city is able to host major conventions safely again.
“You can just tell the pent up appetite and energy to get back at it,” Holcomb said. “We are here and we are here safely. This is just another example of hope is just not out there on the horizon; hope right here here. It’s in our capital city. It’s in the heart of the heartland and this is just proof positive.”
The expo is expected to have a more than $6 million economic impact for the city of Indianapolis.
The Sweets & Snacks Expo is the first of several conventions planned for Indianapolis this year, including FDIC International in August, Gen Con in September, the National FFA Convention & Expo in October, and the Performance Racing Industry Show in December.
Schildhaus says there was a desire to get back together in person for this year’s event.