Crowded classrooms and brisk booth traffic helped the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo complete another successful year in the face of economic uncertainty.

“Overall, it was a very successful show…all I heard were good things about the Expo and the conference,” said Tracy Beaulieu, conference manager for Hanley Wood Exhibitions.

The exhibition portion of the show — held Nov. 16-18 — brought nearly 450 companies and more than 1,000 booths to the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. And although attendee figures were not available by press time, the first day’s numbers were on par with last year’s event, according to show organizers. For their part, exhibitors were quite pleased with the turnout.

“Our [schedule] was literally covered from the start of the show to the end every day,” said Tom Alloway, director of aftermarket products at Newport Controls in Irvine, Calif. “We came out with our notebooks full of contacts, and we’re still very busy trying to follow up with everything.”

Held Nov. 13-18, the show’s conference featured more than 60 seminars spanning levels from beginner to advanced and offering credits for licensing and certification.

“All the classes seemed to be full, even on the last day, which can be a challenge,” said Beaulieu.

Show organizers brought back well-attended live workshops and several full-day classes from the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals .

“The education is always great,” said Debbie LeClerc, co-owner of The Pool Doctor in Coventry, R.I. “We came back with a couple things we already know we’re going to implement into our business.”

Also returning this year was the Genesis 3 program. The renowned educational group held four 20-hour courses that covered a variety of topics from advanced hydraulics to creating naturalistic waterfeatures.

But, in addition to its more established programs, IPSPE also offered new educational opportunities.

“The VGB Educational Pavilion was packed for the presentations and the product area, so people were definitely in tune with learning about compliance to the law,” Beaulieu said. “That was critical for the service people since they’re on the frontline.”

The show’s builder and retailer Power Panels — which replaced a single keynote speech — were also met with enthusiasm and may return again in 2010, Beaulieu added.

IPSPE will return to Mandalay Bay next year on Oct. 31-Nov. 5.

Hanley Wood Exhibitions is owned by Hanley Wood, LLC , which also owns this magazine.