New trade show hopes to fill void in Midwest

This year, the inaugural FitFest, an intimate fitness trade show to be held in Chicago’s Swissotel, will kick off. Officials say they expect anywhere between 1,000 and 1,500 attendees at the show aimed to fill the void left by Club Industry moving to Las Vegas.
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With Club Industry leaving Chicago for Vegas this year, a few fitness industry insiders in the area said they felt they needed to step in and offer something in the area.

This year, the inaugural FitFest, an intimate fitness trade show to be held in Chicago’s Swissotel, will kick off in November. Officials said they expect anywhere between 1,000 and 1,500 attendees and so far has about 12 exhibitors.

“FitFest is essentially targeting just the Midwest area and providing all the latest in fitness equipment for the region in one location,” said the show’s spokesperson Traci D. Mitchell. “Right now, as you know, Club Industry is moving to Las Vegas after having been in Chicago for nearly 30 years. It leaves a hole for people looking for continuous education and the latest and greatest in fitness equipment.”

The show, which Mitchell said would have an Oktoberfest theme, is presented by Mundelein, Ill.-based fitness equipment distributor, Direct Fitness Solution. Several manufacturers have signed on for the show, including Tag, Interactive Fitness, Free Motion, Fitness on Request, Stairmaster, Keiser, Schwinn and Precor.

Mitchell said the goal is to make it an annual trade show taking place every fall in Chicago.

"We knew we couldn't replicate Club Industry," Tim Green, DFS co-owner, said in a news release. "Our aim was to create a small, but accommodating show that appealed to fitness professional throughout the region. We're confident we'll be able to accomplish that."

While the future location for Club Industry has not been decided yet, Adam Anderson, Club Industry show director, said even if it does move back to Chicago, it shouldn’t affect FitFest.

“There is always room for more industry-specific shows,” Anderson told SNEWS.

FitFest, like other industry-specific events of late, has an increased focus on fitness instructors and personal trainers. ViPR and WERQ will present several workshops for these professionals to complete their education requirements. While specialty fitness retailers are welcome to attend, Mitchell said, the event is geared toward club owners and property managers who

FitFest, which takes place from Nov. 1-3, 2012, is free for attendees. To register click here. A discounted hotel rate of $199 for the Swissotel will be offered Mitchell said. The deadline to register is Oct. 30.

--Ana Trujillo

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