After a long absence caused by a pandemic, trade shows and public events will return this summer to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, the establishment announced on Tuesday.
Events will be held at the multi-venue 840,000 square foot center on River Road starting in July. It has been dormant since March 2020, when the COVID-19 crisis resulted in restrictions on gatherings across the state, nation and world.
“We are delighted to take another step back to normal,” Mayor Brad Stephens said in the announcement. “It’s good for Rosemont and it’s good for Illinois.”
A specific reopening date was not mentioned in the ’s announcement.
An Asian-themed animation festival called Midwest Anime is scheduled to take place July 2-4. Other events scheduled for July include the Exxxotica Adult Entertainment Show and the Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention, both scheduled for July 16-18.
But the final dates for the events are being determined, a spokesperson for the center said.
In all, around thirty events are provisionally scheduled for the center between July and December 31.
Cleaning and disinfection protocols will be adopted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses at the site.
“The health and safety of our attendees is our top priority,” Convention Center Executive Director Chris Stephens said in the statement. “We closely follow and follow all best practices and advice from the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health.”
Before the pandemic, the Donald E. Stephens Convention and Conference Center hosted about 70 trade shows and 250 meetings and social events each year, according to the facility. The events draw around 1.5 million visitors and have an economic impact of $ 800 million in the region, village officials said.
Some attract tens of thousands of people to the site and to nearby hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
The reopening of the center will “considerably” increase traffic to the Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse across the street, said Patrick Houlihan, managing partner of the Gibsons Restaurant Group.
“It has a really big fallout effect for everyone,” Houlihan said.
The last event held at the convention center was the World of Wheels car show in early March 2020.
Other suburban hotels and convention centers are also planning to host events starting this summer. For example, the Original sewing and quilting fair will take place June 3-5 at the Schaumburg Convention Center.
“We’re going to have a full show with great salespeople, fabulous classrooms and teachers, and great quilt displays,” said Liz Fredrick, event sales manager.
And the Chicago Auto Show, Black Women’s Expo and other events are scheduled at McCormick Place in Chicago.
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