Work Hard, Play Hard, Get Dirty at GIE+Expo
Anyone who’s ever attended the Green Industry & Equipment Expo in Louisville, Ky., knows it’s a great opportunity to kick the tires on just about every piece of grounds-maintenance and outdoor power equipment under the sun, from zero-turn mowers to trenchers to skid-steer loaders and a lot of stuff in between.
But it’s also a chance to have some fun.
This year looks like no exception, with classic-rock supergroup Kansas headlining a series of free after-hours concerts for attendees, in downtown Louisville’s hip Fourth Street Live! entertainment district. In past years, GIE+Expo attendees have rocked to Charlie Daniels, 38 Special and other big-name acts.
But the true headliner, of course, is the equipment, and event organizers promise that the ninth-largest tradeshow in North America, which takes place Oct. 25-26, will not disappoint on that front.
Attendees will find 750 product manufacturers, dealers and distributors exhibiting the latest lawn and garden, landscape-maintenance and light-construction equipment in 500,000 square feet of space — and that’s just inside the Kentucky Exposition Center.
The adjacent outdoor demonstration area boasts 19 acres of additional space, where attendees can put products through their paces to find out if they’re up to snuff. Event organizers encourage attendees to wear comfortable shoes and plan to leave with a few grass stains.
Attendees should plan to leave with a few new ideas and best practices, as the agenda includes a hearty menu of multidisciplinary educational offerings.
The Professional Landcare Network’s (PLANET) Green Industry Conference, which runs from Oct. 24-26, is geared toward landscaping professionals, but it has some relevance to grounds-maintenance officials and golf-course superintendents. Highlights include “Irrigation and Water Management: The Application of Smart Irrigation Technologies.”
The Professional Grounds Management Society’s School of Grounds Management runs from Oct. 24-27, and includes a pre-conference field trip to the University of Louisville.
Field-trip participants will tour Patterson Stadium, Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and the Equine Studies addition to the College of Business (the latter of which features a green roof and low-maintenance rain garden). The tour also will include a visit to the Oval in front of the Grawemeyer Hall Administration Building, which was renovated with an infiltration trench that can accommodate stormwater from all buildings and impervious surfaces in the area.
Education sessions on the agenda of the School of Grounds Management include:
• “Maintaining Curb Appeal with Native Plants” – Dr. Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware
• “Dealing with the Aftermath of Natural Disasters: Floods in North Dakota” – Steve Wharton, CGM, Minot Park District
• “Planting with Bio-Diversity in Mind” – Steve Foltz, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
• “Turf in a Sustainable Environment” – Dr. A.J. Powell, University of Kentucky
The co-located Hardscape North America, which takes place Oct. 24-26, is the only national tradeshow devoted to the hardscape industry, according to the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute.
“Its focus is to bring top-notch education, including certification courses, products and technology, to contractors and installers who build segmental pavements and segmental retaining walls,” the institute explains on its website.
Hardscape North America has relevance for hardscape and landscape contractors, facility managers and golf-course professionals, among others.
Demonstration sessions on the agenda include “Beyond Basic Paver Patterns,” “Tools to Go” and “Finishing Touches for Hardscape Projects (More than Just a Pretty Space).”
A touch of country
Back to the fun part. Kansas, best-known for its hit “Dust in the Wind,” takes the Fourth Street Live! stage at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24.
On Thursday, Oct. 25, the rising country stars of the Eli Young Band will perform, and popular country artist Candy Coburn takes the stage on Friday, Oct. 26. All of the concerts are free to GIE+Expo attendees.
For the uninitiated, Fourth Street Live! is Louisville’s premier dining and entertainment district, featuring a mix of leading national and regional restaurants and clubs. A variety of great food and drinks abounds, from pub-type food to more upscale eateries. Grab a martini and dinner at Eddie Merlot’s, have a few beers and a burger at Hard Rock Café or some famous Kentucky bourbon at Maker’s Mark.
The district also is home to the Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theater and the Sports & Social Club, the latter of which offers tremendous sports viewing or a chance to perfect your bowling game.
The fun won’t be limited to after-hours. GIE+Expo organizers promise a number of giveaways, including the $10,000 Friday Giveaway, during which one lucky winner will be drawn each hour from 1 to 4 p.m.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, PLANET and the Professional Grounds Management Society sponsor GIE+Expo.
To register, go here.