Women wearing yellow raincoats and boots, a guy in a shark costume and several home improvement celebrities were among sightings this week at the Las Vegas Convention Center as more than 75,000 hardy home builders, interior designers and others navigated 650,000 square feet of exhibit space.
For the first year, the International Builders' Show and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show located under one roof with some 1,700 exhibitors from around the world displaying wares that included new products, appliances and building materials.
One National Assn. of Home Builders staffer wore a pedometer and clocked 13 miles in a single day.
Schwag items emblazoned with brand names were everywhere -- thermal coffee mugs, hammers, lunchboxes, stuffed ponies, rulers, rubber duckies, pens, reusable shopping bags and first-aid kits.
The Feb. 4-6 event, dubbed Design & Construction Week 2014, also offered more than 100 educational sessions on such subjects as what home buyers want, multi-family housing and design trends.
As with any first-time herculean effort, there were a few glitches to keep things interesting. Among them: A door checker at the KBIS part of the show floor initially declined to admit some press members because she was unfamiliar with the Design & Construction Week credential and did not realize it was the overall name of the show. One exhibitor asked that no photographs be taken at its display. A large exhibit by a major manufacturer had no written materials or zip drive available, telling those with inquiries to go to its website. Attendees had to navigate the showrooms and educational sessions by referencing two separate catalogues, one for IBS and another for KBIS.
But perhaps the biggest faux pas of the show was part of a toilet demonstration. The realistic looking "bulk waste" left little to the imagination and may have discouraged some from partaking in the free samples of chocolate offered nearby.
All in all, the mega-show worked. Onward to next year and the second annual Design & Construction Week.