Due to COVID-19 concerns, ongoing restrictions on large indoor gatherings and unforeseen unavailability at the Baltimore Convention Center, the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS) announced that the 2021 show, initially scheduled for Jan. 6 – 8, is unable to take place as an in-person event. MANTS organizers are working to provide an online platform where exhibitors and attendees can conduct business.
Organizers had been optimistic about the possibility of continuing the 50-year tradition of MANTS in January 2021 but recently confirmed that the Baltimore Convention Center is not available for the scheduled dates due to its ongoing role as a State of Maryland field hospital. The convention center has served as a 250-bed COVID-19 field hospital since April and will continue to serve in that capacity through the end of December. When factoring in additional time required to break down the field hospital and sanitize, it is impractical to assume proper access to the building even if the state should change its restrictions on large-scale indoor gatherings.
“The health and safety of our exhibitors and attendees is our primary focus,” said MANTS Executive Vice President Vanessa Finney. “We’ve exhausted all other alternative dates for an in-person show, and while we are disappointed that we can’t meet in person, we are committed to keeping commerce within our industry alive and healthy. MANTS’s continued support of our show sponsors, the State Nursery and Landscape Associations of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, is critical despite the pandemic.”
The horticulture industry has remained strong with interest in home gardening especially on the rise across the country due to quarantine. With many industry shows canceled in 2020, MANTS stands uniquely positioned to ensure exhibitors and buyers remain connected even though they cannot meet face-to-face.
“MANTS has meant business for the green industry for 50 years, and we plan to continue this tradition into 2021,” added Finney. “We have long said that MANTS means business, and that has traditionally meant in-person and face-to-face, but over the next few weeks, we are working on an alternate way to keep that business relationship between exhibitor and buyer healthy and available through 2021.”
In 2020, MANTS welcomed over 12,000 total registrants (including exhibitors) to do business, network and learn about the latest green industry trends generating an economic impact of $5.6 million for Baltimore. In addition to the increased registration in 2020, business thrived at the premier green industry marketplace, with more than 88% of MANTS attendees designated as the representatives in their companies that make or influence final purchasing decisions.
Additional details on MANTS 2021 plans will be shared in the weeks to come.