It’s almost time again for the Everything Under the Sun Expo to come to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. And a good turnout is expected for the event, set for Feb. 24-25, 2023.

There were over 4,300 attendees last year, says Elizabeth McMurray, executive director of the Florida Swimming Pool Association, which hosts the event. “2022 was a banner year, the strongest (turnout) since 2007! And there were over 207 exhibitors.

“This is the show to be at in the Southeast each year,” she adds. “You can see new things; companies bring new and rebranded products; there’s networking; you can get license renewals.”

Still, there’s no getting around the fact that the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t totally disappeared. It’s a factor that convention center personnel and show planners must consider. What does that mean for trade shows? Organizers of FSPA’s 2023 show do not see a need to implement virtual options or special measures at this time. Of course, if recommendations from the convention center management or the Centers for Disease Control were to change, that would necessarily enter into the mix.

Clearly, the coronavirus isn’t dampening pool and spa professionals’ desire to gather and reconnect, share ideas, learn more in the classroom … and have fun! They’re just making sure it’s done safely.

The classroom beckons

As always, a major component of the show is the education segment. It’s easy to see this trade show takes education seriously. An extensive variety of classes are offered, providing information that’s sought by pool and spa newcomers and veterans alike — as even a glimpse of the array of topics shows.

There are 70-plus classes in the 2023 lineup and 25 or more new content offerings, plus 10 or so Learning Labs slated for the exhibit hall. That means Florida pool and spa professionals will have lots of opportunities to add to their skills — and to bring employees new to the industry up to speed.

For starters, there are popular General Sessions running Thursday through Saturday. Included in the mix this year is the new class “Could This Happen to You?” on Thursday, 10-10:50 a.m. It alerts company owners to the consequences of business decisions that can lead to potentially catastrophic incidents and accidents.

Other offerings sure to draw folks include “An In-Depth Look at Swimming Pool/Spa Heating” on Thursday, 1-2:50 p.m. It instructs in everything from how to avoid expensive liability issues to how to size a heater properly. And another is “Chemistry for the New Pool & Advanced Chemistry Issues,” on Friday, 11-11:50 am.

Then there are the Specialty Courses on Wednesday and Thursday. Included is a two-day Florida public pool specialist session, with lunch provided. Other sessions in that time block are the “LP Gas Master Qualifier Endorsed Program;” “LP Gas CE - Florida Laws and Rules;” Genesis classes covering standards, codes and ordinances; advanced pool construction and more.

Once again sessions conducted in Spanish are included in the line-up, such as “VSPS and the DOE” on Friday, 8-9:50 a.m.; and “Chemistry for the New Pool and Other Advanced Chemistry Issues” on Friday, 11-11:50 a.m.

Finally, what might be the most sought-after class of all, based on early sign-ups? McMurray says that Watershape University classes certainly come to mind. That segment includes four all-new workshops: the two-day “Essential Plaster;” the two-day “Electrical Installation;” the “Essential Plumbing” session (lunch included); and “Profiling Outstanding Projects Start to Finish.”

Party time

Attendees have two opportunities to celebrate and let loose: the Welcome Reception and the Friday Night Party.

The 2023 Welcome Reception and Awards Ceremony will be held Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Rosen Plaza Hotel, located at 9700 International Blvd. “Party Mardi with FSPA” is the theme of the gala, which begins at 6:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by Horner Xpress.

Those planning to attend should RSVP by Feb. 17 to Valerie Swika, email [email protected], or call (941) 952-9293.

The Friday Night Party is exactly the way many folks like to start the show. On Feb. 24, old and new industry friends can relax at the popular local hot spot called Howl At The Moon. The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. With free hors d’oeuvres, open bar and dueling pianos — what’s not to love?

Advance tickets are $40; at the door $45. They can be purchased early during registration or at the FSPA booth during exhibit hall hours.