By DOUG GRAVES
LONDON, Ohio — Power Show Ohio, a decades-old show held each January at the Ohio Expo, is closing its doors. This annual show that served the agricultural, landscape and construction industries and drew thousands over that one weekend will be discontinued beginning next year.
“Power Show Ohio no longer drew the crowds that once made it popular, and there was a steady shift away from agricultural equipment, to mostly lawn and garden equipment,” said Show Manager Dennis Alford.
The show, first staged in 1971, was mostly known for the showcase of large farm equipment and many one-hour seminars that served as a teaching tool for farmers and even non-farmers at the show. The show ran for 47 consecutive years.
“It just wasn’t serving the purpose that it was intended to any longer,” Alford explained. “At its peak, the show drew around 20,000 people. The past few years, attendance was between 10,000 and 12,000.”
The decision to halt the show was made by board members of the United Equipment Dealers Assoc. Plans are underway for a new show that will focus on lawn and rural equipment. That show, known as the Lawn and Rural Equipment Expo, is being planned for Dec. 7-8, 2018, at Roberts Centre in Wilmington.
Alford, who had managed Power Show Ohio since the mid-1990s, said his favorite part was seeing it all come together. “Thousands of vendors worked together each year to transform a blank concrete floor into a quality trade show.”
He said the closing of the show is reflective of the changing marketplace. “It was a difficult decision, but it was the right decision,” he said. “It’s difficult to say why the show ended up a lawn and garden event, but part of the reason could be the changes in modern agriculture.”
While Power Show Ohio had a concentration on the rural segment of society, there was something for urban dwellers as well. Arts and crafts were on exhibit,as were cooking demonstrations, educational seminars and the Kiddie Tractor Pull. Hand tools by the thousands were sold in flea market-fashion, and Power Show Ohio also served as a place where amateur vendors could sell their bottle goodies such as barbecue sauces, butters and extracts.
Joe Cox, vice president at R.J. Cox Trailer Sales from Darke County, said today’s farms are fewer and bigger. “These farmers have an eye for bigger equipment,” Cox said. “Many of the farm equipment dealers have moved to the Ohio Farm Science Review and given up on Power Show Ohio.”
R.J. Cox is one of a handful of companies that had exhibited at Power Show Ohio since the start. Others include Kubota Tractor Corp., Hayward Distributing and SISCO.
The 2018 Lawn and Rural Equipment Expo will focus on lawn, landscape and small farm and rural lifestyle equipment. The target audience will be landscapers, commercial cutters, municipalities, cities, parks, large property owners, smallscale farmers and homeowners.