Pacific Marine Expo is one of the industry’s oldest and most popular trade shows. A few months ago, organizers were scrambling when the traditional dates were spiked this year by a football game scheduled at Seattle’s CenturyLink center where the annual event is held.

That pushed the marine trade show into Thanksgiving week amid worries that it would cut into Expo participation.

“We’ve had a bit of a mixed response but overwhelmingly people are saying that the shift is not too dramatic and that the show is just too important and they are going to be there.”

Denielle Christensen is Expo director. The date change isn’t working for some exhibitors, but she says early visitor registrations are already ahead of last year.

“For some folks, especially coming from away, they are already traveling around Thanksgiving time, so there are indicators that this is actually a good schedule for them. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. No down time – you can go right from Expo to family and your turkey dinner.”

Dominating the show floor again is an even bigger Alaska Hall which will house 52 Alaska companies, daily happy hours and the main stage for educational sessions.

“We expect this is something that is going to grow over time. Over one-third of the folks who came last year said they were specifically looking for products from Alaska.”

A new focus this year is a Young Fishermen’s Track.  Christensen said Expo realized that group was overlooked. The National Fisherman booth will feature information and mentors for those just starting out.

“Financing, vessel options and information about permits, mentors to speak with them. So we’re hoping they can find what they need and meet with mentors in the industry who can also help them get started in this industry. We know they need assistance and we’re hoping we can be a bigger part of that for them.”

Also in the Expo line up:  a public hearing on the Pebble Mine.

“Pebble Mine comes up every year and it is such an important topic. We think it is a really important topic to have in our educational program. As long as it is affecting the folks in our industry we will be there to cover and support it.”

Pacific Marine Expo, now in its 52nd year, is set for Sunday through Tuesday, November 18-20 in Seattle.