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AETA International, trade fair of the American Equestrian Trade Association, has shown substantial growth since the Association’s first trade fair in winter 2008. The Aug. 15 – 17, 2009 AETA International held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa., was billed AETA’s King of Prussia homecoming  — and many “came home.”

Buyer attendance increased 24.5 percent, with a 25 percent increase in the number of stores attending over the most recent show held in Baltimore in January 2009. There also was a 55 percent increase in foreign buyers.

There was much for those buyers to see at the show, where 233 exhibiting companies set up more than 500 booths. Those companies represented hundreds of distinct product lines, including everything equestrian from apparel to giftware to paddock supplies to tack. There was a noticeable increase in Western products consistent with AETA’s mission to unite the entire industry and create a show that is of value to all segments of the industry.

Popular highlights of the show included the new product exhibits and the mannequin fashion parade, opportunities for exhibitors to catch the eye of buyers before walking the show floor. Buyers voted on their favorite creatively “dressed” mannequins in the fashion parade.

AETA again distributed the very popular Trade Fair Survival Bags, filled with valuable products and special offers from exhibitors, to the earliest arrivals. Many of those early arrivals attended special seminars on Sunday and Monday morning before the show floor opened.

Throughout the show, AETA member exhibitors distributed raffle tickets to those who made purchases. Prizes included HD-TVs for both a lucky buyer and a lucky exhibitor. Lucky buyers also took home a Canon digital camera, a Lenovo mini laptop, an iPod Touch, and the grand prize, an Eton Beamer scooter. Another drawing awarded a Garmin GPS to a participant who filled out an education survey. AETA is committed to assisting those in the industry by providing valuable educational programs that respond to their needs.

Buyers and exhibitors should plan ahead for AETA International Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2010 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa.

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Photo courtesy Chris Pfeffer, HwyStar Productions