The world’s largest fly-fishing industry trade show crushed attendance records with its Denver homecoming in October 2019 after a seven-year run in Orlando. The International Fly Tackle Dealer Show’s (IFTD) registration partner, Experient, verified that 2,251 attendees took part in the event, which is a 97 percent increase over 2017 numbers (1,141) and a 137 percent increase over 2018 (950).
“The fly-fishing industry showed up and made a statement this year,” says Ben Bulis, president of the Bozeman-based American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), which owns and operates the trade show, the largest of its kind in the world. “The decision to once again make the show a standalone fly-fishing event, schedule it in October and return to our roots in Denver was the result of direct conversations with our membership. We know that there’s no way to please everyone, but the results are loud and clear: IFTD is home.”
Booth space sold out in less than a month (10 months before the event) with 156 exhibitors staking their claim on the show floor, and nearly 300 individual retailers representing 41 different countries were on hand to review and purchase merchandise. In addition, there were 15 educational seminars; a Wednesday morning industry breakfast featuring keynote speaker Steven Rinella, host of the Netflix series “MeatEater;” and a new product showcase with 267 entries vying for best-of recognition in their respective categories.
The event also featured two themes that the fly-fishing industry has been rallying behind: the #kickplastic initiative and promoting diversity on the water. IFTD was entirely single-use plastic-free, using eco-board signage and compostable plates, cups and eating utensils, reusable water bottles and filling stations, evergreen badge lanyards and more.