The Florida Swimming Pool Association’s Everything Under the Sun Expo celebrated its 45th anniversary with above-average attendance and a really big slide.

The carnival-style fiberglass chute that attendees raced down on burlap sacks at the back of the exhibit hall served as a reminder that this is an industry that sells one thing above all else — fun. That was the theme of the Florida Swimming Pool Association’s tradeshow and it was felt throughout South Hall B at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando last month.

This year’s features included a “celebration lawn” inside the convention, where folks could relax with snacks and watch classic movies, and a swingin’ members’ lounge. Plastic pink flamingos and tacky lawn furniture gave it a decidedly 1970s flavor.

All told, more than 4,200 people attended, including exhibitors and event personnel. Attendance increased 10 percent over last year, and the show saw its highest pre-registration in years, said FSPA Executive Director Wendy Parker Barsell.

More than 950 people registered for classes and seminars — another bump over 2016. Classes are free for FSPA members and are approved by the state for continuing education credits, helping satisfy license requirements.

Fueling growth is a spirit of optimism amid improving market conditions and the show’s reputation as a major regional event.

“Everything that we get from the show goes right back into the Florida pool industry in some way or another,” Parker Barsell said.

As it does every year, FSPA honored several members who’ve made laudable contributions to the industry. The association’s Person of the Year designation went to David Pruette, an electrical contractor who is helping the organization combat a proposal that would restrict the scope of work for pool professionals. Kenneth Parker has been inducted into FSPA’s Hall of Fame. Parker, a retired builder, has served on the state board for more than 26 years.