Pacific Marine Expo is among the top trade shows in the U.S. and it continues to grow.

This month Expo will top the half century mark when the doors open later this month in Seattle.

“51 years and still growing – we are looking at having 550 exhibitors this year, which is 30 more companies. “

Denielle Christensen is Event Director for Diversified Communications, which produces marine events and publications around the world.

She says the Pacific Expo is her favorite because it has such a strong community feel.

 “Especially at this show – A lot of folks don’t see each other as often as they’d like and sometimes only once a year and it’s at this event. There is a real community feel, I find. 4 It’s just one of the happiest, great groups of people I see in the trade show industry and I’ve been to a lot. “

The show has broadened over the years to include maritime trades but commercial fishing is where it got its roots and still drives the events.

 “And we’ve never forgotten that that’s where we came from and that the group that really helped the show become what it is.”

An all new Alaska Hall is getting some of the biggest buzz this year. Christensen says the Alaska aisle is always one of the most popular spots and they’ve outgrown the space.

“So we finally decided this year we’re going to expand it. We’re going to let all of the Alaska companies in and give them their own hall. We’ve gone from 29 companies to 49 companies in the Alaska Hall.”

The Alaska Hall also will house the Fishermen of the Year competition, the Highliner Awards, daily Happy Hours, and the main stage where longtime Alaskan Chris Oliver, now the top man at NOAA Fisheries, will give the keynote address.

Also new this year – the Alaska Symphony of Seafood competition will hold the products judging and tasting at Expo.

“We’re really excited to have them at the event. Brand new for us this year, brand new for them to be changing their schedule around.

There’s a full lineup of industry forums and workshops. Pacific Marine Expo runs November 16 through 18 at the Century Link Center.

All events are free if you register before the show.

“Before the show opens on Thursday and if you use the code FISH they will be guaranteed free registration and that includes educational programs, key note and everything happening on the floor.”