Knifemakers Guild Show Moving to Louisville, Kentucky in 2009

The Knifemakers Guild has just announced that 2008 will be their last show at the Buena Vista Palace in Orlando, Florida. I for one am thrilled with the move. Not only because it is my hometown but I really do think Louisville will make an excellent and much more centrally located home for the Guild Show.

The Guild has had a nice long run in Orlando and I am sure there are some Floridians who will be disappointed but the Guild is trying to move in new directions and I think this is a very positive step. When I heard that the Guild was looking for a new home, I asked "Why not Louisville?". Guild President, Gil Hibben, was reluctant to suggest Louisville as the new home since he lives only about 20 miles outside of Louisville and he feared it would appear to be self-serving.

I did some research comparing Louisville to some of the other cites being considered including Orlando, Atlanta, St Louis, Kansas City, Nashville, Indianapolis, and Denver. The facts kept shining through that Louisville is one of most centrally located cities in the country. That is why numerous conventions and trade shows have moved here from other cities and it is why UPS decided to located their hub here.

See for yourself. I started out by looking at a 500 mile radius of various cities. I figured 500 miles was about the maximum for a good 1-day drive and a reasonable flight. Looking at Louisville compared to Orlando, it is obvious that MANY more people are conveniently located to Louisville.

A 500 mile radius of Orlando includes: ALL of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina; MOST of Alabama; and PART of North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee.

In contrast, a 500 mile radius of Louisville includes: ALL of Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina; MOST of Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas; and PART of Iowa, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Canada.

Numerous major conventions have moved to Louisville from other convention cities such as Las Vegas, Atlanta, St Louis, Kansas City and Indianapolis because of Louisville's great central location, easy traveler access, and plenty of affordable lodging and dining opportunities.

 There are at least 25 cities with populations over 100,000 within 500 miles driving distance of Louisville and 12 of the top 50 cities in the US by population are within that 500 mile range. There are  over 12 million people within a day's drive just counting the city dwellers.    7.5 million are within a 300 mile radius. 

 I don't think there is anyplace outside of New York or Los Angeles that can make that claim. As far as exposure potential, Louisville makes a very good case. There are good population centers in EVERY direction that could be attracted to Louisville.

  

City

State

 Pop (Thousands) 

US Pop Rank

Distance from Louisville (Miles)

Chicago

IL

                       2,833

3

296

Detroit

MI

                          918

11

361

Indianapolis

IN

                          785

13

115

Columbus

OH

                          733

15

206

Memphis

TN

                          670

17

387

Charlotte

NC

                          630

20

490

Milwaukee

WI

                          602

22

390

Louisville

KY

                          554

27

0

Nashville

TN

                          552

29

174

Atlanta

GA

                          486

34

421

Kansas City

KS

                          447

39

509

Cleveland

OH

                          444

40

349

St Louis

MO

                          353

52

261

Cincinnati

OH

                          332

56

99

Pittsburg

PA

                          312

57

388

Toledo

OH

                          298

60

301

Lexington

KY

                          270

68

78

Ft. Wayne

IN

                          248

70

237

Greensboro

NC

                          236

78

492

Birmingham

AL

                          229

81

365

Akron

OH

                          209

92

332

Knoxville

TN

                          182

123

247

Dayton

OH

                          156

144

152

Chatanooga

TN

                          168

145

306

Evansville

IN

                          115

206

118

 

 

 

 

25

 

                     12,762

  

 

Positive points of consideration for Louisville: 

  • International air service at Louisville International Airport only 10 minutes from downtown Louisville.

  • Very good Interstate access from all directions via Interstates I-65, I-71 and I-64.

  • Driving and traffic is not bad compared to Orlando, Atlanta or other big cities.

  • "4th Street Live" within easy walking distance to downtown hotels with numerous restaurants, bars and entertainment.

  • Cruises and dinner cruises available on several Ohio River boats including the Belle of Louisville authentic steamboat.

  • Frazier Historical Arms Museum only a few blocks away. VERY impressive museum with lots of knives and swords.

  • Relatively safe, low-crime city.

  • Ample parking on the street and in numerous downtown parking garages. Free street parking on weekends.

 Other Nearby Local Attractions: Bring the family for a mini vacation.

  • Churchill Downs / KY Derby Museum

  • Hillerich & Bradsby Factory and Museum (Tours available). Where they make "Louisville Slugger" baseball bats and golf clubs.

  • Belle of Louisville. Oldest authentic sternwheel steamboat still operating. Daily public and private cruises.

  • Waterfront Park / Belvedere. Beautiful Ohio riverfront parks. (Walking distance)

  • Muhammad Ali Center. (Walking distance)

  • Louisville Stoneware: Internationally recognized handmade, hand painted pottery and stoneware.

  • Locust Grove: National Historic Landmark on 55 acre farm and home of George Rogers Clark.

  • Louisville Zoo

  • Kentucky Kingdom Six Flags amusement park.

  • Kentucky Center for the Arts: Broadway Series concerts and plays. (Walking distance)

  • Louisville Palace: High-end theatre for concerts and big-name performers. (Walking distance)

  • Caesars Indiana casino boat 20 minutes north.

  • Slugger Field: America's finest minor league baseball park. Downtown Louisville. (Walking distance)

  • Skateboard Park: One of the nations best. Downtown.

  • Historic Frankfort Avenue (Restaurant Row). 15 minutes from downtown. Dozens of unique restaurants and shops.

  • KY Fair and Expo Center: One of the nation's largest indoor expo centers. Multiple shows and attractions every week.

  • KY International Convention Center: Downtown. Shows and conventions.

  • Papa Johns Stadium: Home of University of Louisville football.

So again I ask "Why not Louisville?" It make good sense and is a GREAT location. As a lifelong resident, I can attest that this is a great city. When the NRA held it's national convention here a few weeks ago I heard only good things about this town from everyone I talked to. 

I am very pleased that the Guild listened to my, and others, wishes. The Guild also consulted an experienced professional meeting planner and they came to the same conclusion that Louisville was a very good fit for the Guild Show.

The Guild then sent a party to Louisville to look at some venues. The one they chose will knock your socks off! I will leave it to the Guild to announce the exact location at this year's meeting but I will tell you that it is magnificent! Dripping with luxury, elegance and history. Adjacent to, or close to, outstanding dining, entertainment and attractions. I am confident that the Guild Members and show attendees will be thrilled.

Anyway, that's the scoop. I must say that I never imagined that staging a show like this, or even finding a venue, was so complicated. There is a lot more to consider than I would have imagined. My hat is off to Gil and Linda Hibben, Lowell and Mary Bray, and everyone else who worked so hard to pull this together.

No location is going to please everyone and I am sure there will be some grumblings about leaving Florida but several Guild members had voiced their displeasure with the current location. The Buena Vista Palace isn't really doing the Guild any favors either while the new location is bending over backwards to accommodate them. This is a good move and I applaud it. I hope see you all in my hometown next year!.

 

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