Sunday, September 27, 2009

Review: 2009 New England Dessert Showcase

A few nights before I went to the dessert showcase, I had a dream nightmare that there weren’t that many exhibitors and everyone was giving out cookie samples. My nightmare became quite true I guess…not as drastic but the dessert showcase left me VERY DISAPPOINTED. I guess I had too high expectations when I bought my tickets.

I think overall, the organizers did not put together a great, organized show. In their defense, this was the 1st dessert showcase they organized? Who am I to judge? Please note that in my previous job, I have been to about an average of 12-15 tradeshows a year over the period of 4 years. Some of these events that I’ve attended/exhibited at attracts from hundreds to thousands (over 10K) of attendants. Those events (thankfully) have been all wonderfully organized! DessertHere are my 2 cents on my personal experience/feedback on the 2009 New England Dessert Showcase (and yes, this is considered a trade show). I’m not trying to defame anyone nor am I being bitter (am I?) about the $25 we paid ($50, since we got 2 tickets), just merely trying to vent my disappointment and not-so-wonderful experiences..:

1) Exhibitor List: Referring this back to my previous experience attending and exhibiting at trade shows……Attendants and exhibitors alike will know the list of exhibitors attending/exhibiting. This information can usually be found on their website prior to the show date. For this event, I never knew who was going to exhibit. The website also initially claim “over 100 exhibitors” will be participating in this dessert showcase. NOT TRUE! Only about 30-40 (50 Max) exhibitors were there. At first, I thought I probably had misread or hallucinated that number as I don’t see that information anymore anywhere on their website. I googled and found press releases/entries HERE, HERE and HERE to confirm that I did indeed I saw that information (and firmly believe) from their website. And though the showcase was supposed to be “New England" Dessert Showcase”, it should just be renamed “Boston Dessert Showcase” as most exhibitors were from Massachusetts.

2) Ticketing: There were supposed to be 2 lines for the general admission ticket (according to your last name) to pick up advance tickets; A-M and N-Z. We stood at the respective line and waited to be helped. There were about 3-4 staff behind the table who just a few seconds after we stepped up to the table had to resolve some VIP ticketing issue. And we were ignored. After the discussion has dispersed, the lady who were original in front of us when we arrived remained. And we were still ignored. We had to ask her if this was the “N-Z” line to get tickets, only to have her pointed for us to go to the A-M line (which at this point had line 7-8 ppl waiting). We hinted that we’ve been waiting and the “A-Z” line has already grew since. She helped us in the end. We were giving those color wrist bands as our “tickets”. Usually at “registration”, attendants will also be given a booklet on the event to show you who’s exhibiting. We never got that either….and managed to scoop a copy when we were about to leave.

3) Show Time & Exhibitors: Show time for the public (people like me) are from 11am-4pm. This is only a one day show. The pre-show party or after show party doesn’t really count. I did not go to those parties, but I hope they were worth it for those who went. =). Hubby and I got there at about 1.45pm. Besides finding out that the show was smaller than I had expected, a couple exhibitors had already packed up and left. By 2pm, I think about 5 exhibitors have ran out of samples/stuff and had left. Do you know how many yummy desserts have I missed? I gave them the show the benefit of the doubt that 3pm onwards would be a bad time to visit, as samples will be gone and exhibitors would be anxiously hoping to pack up. In my previous experiences, exhibitors tend to attempt to pack about 1 hour prior to the end of the event. However, with strict supervision and warning from the organizers, the exhibitors are usually not allowed to leave the “hall” early. They can only leave about 30 minutes prior to closing. In this event ( with more than 2 hours before the event ends) some exhibitors are no where to be seen. =( And I still see people coming in at 3pm to buy/redeem their tickets.

4) Booths & Samples: Some booths were very simple, a mere table cloth, samples and information. Some brought in more props (kudos to those), gave samples and information. Unless you could REALLY eat, you get filled up very quickly. Hubby and I literally was sugar high and had dessert poisoning was intoxicated with desserts. I went to this showcase expecting to see/sample cute and intricate gourmet desserts. We got to sample cupcakes (lots of them, nothing really pop out and some I could no a better job decorating!), brownies (ok overall), cookies, chocolates, ice cream(1.45pm the ice cream booth has already packed up!!), pies, coffee, tea, strawberry fondue, etc. There were a couple booths that gave you a full serving of their “samples”, while others only gave you a tiny bite.

Will post pictures in another post……Will I go to the dessert showcase next year (if any)………..we’ll see! It’s too early to make my decision… especially after my bad case of an upset tummy after the event which left me sick and sleepless all day Saturday/Sunday.

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