The Farwest Show will remain at the Oregon Convention Center for 2024 and into the foreseeable future, OAN leaders and staff have determined.
“Over the past year, we felt the concerns that some have raised about COVID-era conditions in Portland, and we knew it was important to explore various alternate locations in light of the ongoing needs of the show,” OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. “Ultimately, we found that the Oregon Convention Center is the only event venue in the state of Oregon with the adequate size, scale and services to accommodate the needs of Farwest going forward.”
The 2023 Farwest Show expects to serve more than 4,000 guests when it opens next week, and nearly 350 exhibitors will be there.
“We looked at other venues,” OAN Director of Events Allan Niemi said. “None of them have the room to accommodate all the booths and people that come to Farwest, let alone the educational seminars and other show features that we offer. We even looked at going to a smaller venue. That would require putting some exhibitors outside in tents, and even then, it’s questionable who all would fit. The Oregon Convention Center easily handles all our needs and offers us the space that lets us grow again.”
The OAN did hear concerns from some about the state of Portland.
“We all have watched with sadness has happened with Portland over the pandemic, with the state of houselessness,” OAN President Todd Nelson said. “It’s a problem that takes time to address, and it’s affecting more than Portland but smaller communities as well. That said, we have seen improvement in conditions downtown. Although Portland is not out of the woods, the Convention Center and Lloyd District neighborhood is in better shape, and the city overall is on a more positive trajectory back to pre-COVID conditions.”
The post-COVID recovery and the industry’s strong growth are positive signs for the nursery industry and for Farwest.
“For 50 years, Farwest has been a grand showcase for Oregon growers, who are the best in the country at what they grow,” Stone said. “The industry is growing and the show should grow along with it. Visitors to Farwest will find a celebratory mood, more exhibitors to visit, a compelling lineup of seminars, great networking opportunities, and a whole host of ideas and products to help them grow their businesses.”
“Farwest truly took off when it moved to the then-new Oregon Convention Center in the early 1990s,” Niemi said. “It generated a sense of excitement and allowed new room for growth and interaction. It’s still the best convention and event facility in the state and region, making it a suitable home for Oregon’s largest segment of agriculture and the talented growers who drive the industry forward.”