It’s easy to get lost in Long Beach, California. And, when you do, hope you find your way to the area known as “The Pike”.
Several blocks of downtown Long Beach, wedged between the convention center and the aquarium, is a nice little area known as The Pike. What is The Pike? It can easily be described as a large outdoor mall with a Food Court on steroids. Whether you are looking for an old favorite like Chilis or Islands Restaurant, or you are looking for something a little more exotic, it seems to have found its way to the The Pike. Several hotels are nestled into the area and make it a great launching point to visit the Long Beach Scuba Show at the Convention Center.
There is a lot of passion for Scuba diving in this neck of the woods. Californians come from all over the state to visit this great two-day event. However, there are a fair amount of license plates from Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and other surrounding areas as well. This is much more than a local trade show set to inspire diving in the lucky few who live close by.
The Long Beach Scuba Show has a reputation of drawing a good-sized crowd, and 2012 seems to be a year to exceed expectations.
Standing in line around 945am, it wasn’t hard to notice that this year would have great attendance. It was a long line with some very anxious divers. Vendors were rolling by with their last-minute items to put into their booths, and you could tell they were working hard to get everything together before the 10am opening. When the doors to the trade show opened, you can hear the enthusiasm like the starters gun to the Kentucky Derby. As divers funneled in, the vendors were ready to receive them.
As you walked through the turnstile, the show sponsor, California Diving News was the first booth in your sights. A good place to stop and grab your brochure bag. Usually, I am pretty hesitant to grab a bag, hoping to keep my brochure pile low. Trying to stay green this year. However, it wasn’t very long into the show, where I ended up having to go back and find one. Vendors had a lot of high quality information, and I guess there is always recycling when i am done using it.
Crowded? Yes it was. Within one hour of the start of the show, I had already seen a dozen old friends, had my foot stepped on three times and was run into by at least two other people. While many folks would consider this a negative, I found this to be a benchmark to the following two facts: (1) divers were interested in doing business with vendors, (2) diving is becoming more popular. Plus, there were a lot of people looking around. Not necessarily in front of them.
There were over 8 rows which included dozens of dive vendors, manufacturers and destinations in each row. Each one had something special to discuss and often-times would lead into a mini seminar with several people gathering around to hear the lecture. After Sunday’s show, we will highlight many of the vendors and what the new, innovative and favorite products were for everyone at the show.
Have a great Sunday!!!