Las Vegas or Orlando?


Cliff Wilson

Well, I've decided I need to go to a trade show for more than a day. (Have driven down to NY the last couple of years.)

I'd like to meet and talk with more of my fellow framers, I want to take some of these great courses people keep talking about, and I'd like see more product first hand than I have been able to get a hold of to date.

January/February seems like a good time for me.

That leaves me with either the WCAF show in Vegas or the PPFA/PMA show in Orlando.

Comments? Suggestions?

Vegas is a blast. Decent show, great classes, Party town.
I have wanted to go to Vegas my whole life. Now it looks like I have an semi-official "reason" to go. I'll likely make it there.
VEGAS!!!!!!!! Reasons: What Dave said + NO HURRICANES!! ;)

Actually, it really isn't fair for me to comment because I've never been to a Fl. show. But, I don't know of a place that offers so much diverse fun in one town other than Vegas. It ranges from classy to cheesy (mostly classy).....from adult fun to kid fun. The choice is yours!

Just my thoughts. It would be great meeting you there, as well as many others!
Vegas is a great show! Lotsa good (always full) classes, great restaurants and shows. Book your show NOW to get good seats.
OBTW what they mean about what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas - its about the money.
Where's the kid fun? A bunch of us went last year and couldn't find the kid fun. For a while they were trying to sell Vegas as a place for a family vacation, but we didn't see it. :confused:
Sorry, guess I should've been a little clearer. In my previous life I flew over 100,000 miles in the air per year. I attended at least 2, sometimes 4, computer shows a year in Vegas. Usually at least one in Orlando. I worked for Kodak, so I went to PMA every year for almost ten years. My question should have been ...
Which show is better for a "framing retailer," the PPFA sponsored event, or the WCAF?

From last years listings I would say the courses were very similar with many of the same instructors, but the exhibitors where more "plentiful" in Vegas. Is that fair? Cost wise I'm thinking Vegas will be less money. (Frequent flyer miles takes care of the flight.)
The WCAF in LV is an excellent educational opportunity. The venue has grown over the years and the trade show is top notch...probably third only to Atlanta and New York (though I've never been to the New York Show).
I have found LV to be a good value. I spend about the same amount for 4 night accommodations in LV as I do for 2 nights in Atlanta, and the plane fare is usually less than the room. Last January I went and spent most every day in classes. The night life is not for me, but there are any number of excellent restaurants within the hotel, and a short taxi ride away is just about everything you can imagine.
I arranged to meet with some other Grumblers in LV at the Hotel bar (seems like a good gathering point). The Hilton has 7 or 8 bars on site. They even have their own in-house "pub crawl". Needless to say, I never did find those other Grumblers.

That being said, I am going to be going to the PMA/PPFA convention in Orlando this year.
The education is on a par with WCAF, and the trade show is growing annually. The chance are that the weather will be a bit warmer in Orlando and there are ample diversions there as well. If they do the same deal they did last year for the education, you will never find a better deal. I think it was $135.00 to attend all the classes you wanted (certain exclusions, but no different than those excluded from the package deal at the WCAF show). I would be remiss if i didn't point out that the show in Orlando is the annual convention for our trade organization, and there's a chance to win $10K at a drawing on the final day.
I think it’s a toss up!

Do you want to ogle Vegas show girls, or just feel Goofy?

Your call.
We've been to both. The Vegas show (WCAF) has excellent classes and a small show.

The PMA/PPFA show (which was in Vegas last year and will be in Orlando this year) has excellent classes on a par with the WCAF show - I think some classes are repeats from that show......and a huge show that you can't even begin to imagine, mostly, but not all, photo related.

If you're going for the education, I would pick the city you'd prefer to visit in February. We're planning on Orlando.
Originally posted by Cliff Wilson:
...I would say the courses were very similar with many of the same instructors...
PMAI/PPFA-Orlando is the annual convention for our industry's trade association, and will include all of the important business & committee meetings.

The PPFA classes are usually diverse and priced right -- a good value. Manufacturer-sponsored classes may be offered in both venues, but in the past there have been fewer classes at the PMAI/PPFA shows. Because both organizers like exclusive classes, only a few of them will be the same as those offered at WCAF.

If you have a photography interest, it's a heavenly convention, but in past shows there have been relatively few framing exhibitors. Of the 30,000 or so attendees, a few hundred are framers; the rest are photography people. The PMAI/PPFA show always offers outstanding peripheral events, receptions, and other planned social activities. If you play golf in a foursome, the other three will probably be friendly photo folks.

WCAF is all about framing, plus some art. It has more framing education than any other trade show, especially new classes, and they are all top notch. The range of exhibitors is good; better than any of the other trade shows, except Atlanta (still #1) and New York (still #2).

Both shows are good investments.
Thanks for the plug, Jerry.

"The Complete Guide to Shadowboxes and Object Framing" lecture-half will be at WCAF the day before the trade show opens. I think the workshop-half will be next day. (We're also planning to have a discussion panel 6-8 pm Sunday evening, about everyone's framing standards. And it'll be a doozy.)

It's not confirmed yet, but for Orlando we're talking about presenting "Design and Construction of Shadowboxes", which is a normal-duration class about shadowbox structures. It's roughly half of the "Complete Guide..." class, and object mounting is the other half.

Y'all come.
"the trade show opens. "

Does that mean the 23rd? The Trade show is 24-26 and the National Conference (courses) are 23 - 26. So, is your class the 23rd?

My flight will be free if I can book it while there are still Frequent Flyer seats available.

I thought NY was disappointing this year from a show floor point of view. It's a bit disconcerting to hear NY is bigger than the WCAF show. oh well.

I was thinking that the Orlando show might have a bigger framing showing this year being away from Vegas? Too early to tell, but I can't wait too long or there won't be any flight seats left for my free ticket.

Thanks for the replys!!
NY seemed smaller this year than the year before. The Atlanta show was HUGE. I think this will be our yearly tradition from now on.
I travelled to Las Vegas for the PMA show this year and found it to be well worth my while for the retail and photographic aspects of the business. The Framing education on offer was fantastic and also very beneficial.

However, I would not travel to the PMA show expecting to source or locate vendors, amongst the enormous show they were lost, in fact I do not recall coming across a single framing dedicated stall within the show (I wasn't looking specifically though).
If you are looking for framing vendors head to New York or Atlanta. Although I am told that there will be more framing related vendors at the PMAI / PPFA show this year.

If you are looking for education go to the Las Vegas WCAF show or if you are looking for great education from industry leaders in framing and other bussinesses as well as some very nice perks go to the Orlando PMAI / PPFA show. It was great to hear Bill McCurry speak last year, he is not a framer. I think he might best be described as a marketing Guru.

Some of the perks at the PMAI / PPFA show. Last year there were lunch discussions with other framers and industry leaders. There were early evening cocktail gatherings, another chance to network and learn from others. As has been said there was a one price gets you into most classes deal. There was an opportunity to see vendors for things that we don't see at other shows but could use in our bussiness. There were show floor tours to point out many of these vendors. There is the display of the international framing competition. An opportunity to see a wealth of creative framing ideas in the flesh. I suspect that the framing competition may occupy a more prominent location this year. All of this is included in the price of admission. Then there are bonus activities like a reception and show, these do cost extra.

This year we attended four shows the PMAI / PPFA show in Las Vegas, New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. Keeping abreast of trends, taking great classes, and networking with other framers gives us a competitive edge that makes us more profitable.
The WCAF in Vegas is 1/23 - 1/26.
see here:
The PPFA Convention in Orlando is 2/19 - 2/23.
see here:

I've actually been discouraged by these postings.

I was grossly disappointed in the NY show this year and was expecting one of these to have a better exhibit that I get the feeling they have. Third to Atlanta and NY!

Too bad Atlanta is such a bad time for me.

Well, I was going to book early, but now I'm going to think an this some more.
Originally posted by Cliff Wilson:
...I've actually been discouraged by these postings. I was grossly disappointed in the NY show this year and was expecting one of these to have a better exhibit that I get the feeling they have. Third to Atlanta and NY!

Too bad Atlanta is such a bad time for me.
Well, I was going to book early, but now I'm going to think an this some more.
WCAF's first show was in 2000, and it has grown by leaps & bounds every year. The NY show has been in decline for longer than that, but is still the second largest show in the country.

NY was largest some years ago, until Atlanta overtook it. Don't be surprised if WCAF overtakes NY in attendance in the next couple of years, and becomes the second largest show.

Rather than focusing on size by attendance, consider which show has what you need. If it's educational classes, then WCAF is the best. If it's equipment exhibitors, then Atlanta is best. If it's art exhibitors, then NY is best. If it's trade news and events, then PPFA/PMAI is best.

Each show has its specialty.

Booking early is a good idea, regardless of which show you plan to attend.