• 2019 International Fly Tackle Dealer Show

    POSTED April 9, 2020

The world’s largest fly-fishing industry trade show crushed attendance records with its Denver homecoming in October 2019 after a seven-year run in Orlando. The International Fly Tackle Dealer Show’s (IFTD) registration partner, Experient, verified that 2,251 attendees took part in the event, which is a 97 percent increase over 2017 numbers (1,141) and a 137 percent increase over 2018 (950). 

“The fly-fishing industry showed up and made a statement this year,” says Ben Bulis, president of the Bozeman-based American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), which owns and operates the trade show, the largest of its kind in the world. “The decision to once again make the show a standalone fly-fishing event, schedule it in October and return to our roots in Denver was the result of direct conversations with our membership. We know that there’s no way to please everyone, but the results are loud and clear: IFTD is home.”

Booth space sold out in less than a month (10 months before the event) with 156 exhibitors staking their claim on the show floor, and nearly 300 individual retailers representing 41 different countries were on hand to review and purchase merchandise. In addition, there were 15 educational seminars; a Wednesday morning industry breakfast featuring keynote speaker Steven Rinella, host of the Netflix series “MeatEater;” and a new product showcase with 267 entries vying for best-of recognition in their respective categories.

The event also featured two themes that the fly-fishing industry has been rallying behind: the #kickplastic initiative and promoting diversity on the water. IFTD was entirely single-use plastic-free, using eco-board signage and compostable plates, cups and eating utensils, reusable water bottles and filling stations, evergreen badge lanyards and more. 

Event planners often prepare for the worst, but one thing they likely didn’t anticipate was a global pandemic when selecting event cancellation insurance policies for their 2020 gatherings. Panicked planners began contacting Marcia McKinney, owner of Northeast Insurance Advisors, in late February and early March, but as meetings and events ground to a halt, they were already out of luck.

“It’s kind of like trying to buy homeowner’s insurance as your house is starting to catch fire... it’s too late,” says McKinney.


Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth is one of six recipients of the James Beard Foundation’s 2020 America’s Classics Award, which is given to locally owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are beloved regionally for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Per the foundation, “Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, a chicken dinner behemoth positioned between Detroit and Michigan’s summer lake destination, is decidedly on the beaten path. William Zehnder Sr. and his wife, Emilie, bought a former hotel in 1928.


Located in Oregon’s wine country, The Allison Inn and Spa is offering some new team-building options for meeting planners. Experiences include:

» Smith Teas Tasting: Claire Boyer, Smith Teamaker’s head of education, offers a hands-on class uncovering the exotic world of tea.

» Lotion Blending: Awaken the senses and heighten creativity with a hands-on lotion and essential oil-blending workshop.