By Nick Longworth, Contributing writer
For the past two decades, the Big East Powersports Show has been viewed by snowmobile consumers in upstate New York as the unofficial opener of their season. Promoted as the premier indoor snowmobile show in the Northeast, the show offers a one-stop shop for enthusiasts looking for apparel from various dealers, information on new adventure destinations from tourism groups, feedback from OEM reps and displays, new products, informal seminars and more.
But it’s about to get bigger and better, with more room for vendors and exhibits.
For its upcoming 26th year, the Big East Powersports Show, set for Sept. 27-29, 2019, will move from its home in the Oncenter in Syracuse, New York, to the Exposition Center at the New York State Fairgrounds, also in Syracuse. The switch is a natural progression of growth, and one that has been contemplated for some time now.
“The Oncenter had limited space in the main auditorium, so we’ve had exhibitors on two levels. Plus being in a downtown area resulted in challenges related to move-in and move-out for our vendors as well as parking expenses and hassles for our vendors and consumer customers alike,” explained John Prusak, Vice President/Snowmobile for EPG Media, the parent company of Powersports Business that also produces the Big East Powersports Show and Snow Goer magazine. “Those issues all get solved with the move to the expansive new Exposition Center on the New York State Fairgrounds, plus the new building is located just 5 miles from the Oncenter facility, so it will be an easy transition for both vendors and consumers.”
“One of the important goals of a show like this is to create excitement for the sport. We are always looking for ways for people to have a great experience and leave more excited than when they arrived,” said Big East Powersports Show National Sales Director Mark Rosacker. “We all have a vested interest in the growth of snowmobiling and powersports in general, and shows are a great way to help fuel that excitement.”
Snow Goer had a display at national-level indoor snowmobile shows held throughout the Upper Midwest, but noticed a lack of similar shows in the Northeast upon creating the Big East Powersports Show in 1994.
“Indoor shows have always had a different atmosphere than outdoor events like grass drags and swap meets, thanks to the booths from manufacturers, professional displays from countless vendors, the ability to shop for gear and accessories in a comfortable setting and the ability to bring the whole industry together in one climate-controlled, refined environment. We wanted to bring that experience to the Northeast,” Prusak said.
The move will result in 110,000 square feet of additional space to allow for a 30 percent expansion of all vendors and consumers on one floor level. Previously unavailable outdoor space for possible powersports demonstrations or displays will also be available.
“In recent years we’ve had several current vendors ask for more exhibit space, and other vendors contact us each year looking for large chunks of show floor,” Prusak said. “We’ll now be able to accommodate their needs. In addition, we’ll have more room to invite in other powersports-related products, from ATVs and side-by-sides/UTVs to an expanded presence for trailers, performance parts and accessories.”
“The move is a great opportunity to expand the show with some more UTV/ATV elements as well as more consumer attractions,” Rosacker said. “We hope to give consumers more reasons to attend as well as more reasons to spend more time at the show.”
The logistics of vendor move-in and out will also be eased given the large onsite parking lot that will also provide free parking for consumers (an issue that has long fielded complaints).
“As exciting as the new indoor space is, we’re also excited about the opportunities that present themselves by being on the New York State Fairgrounds lands. There are opportunities for related outdoor facilities outside the front door — from competitive events and exhibits to displays or large groomers, race trailers, RVs and more,” Prusak said.
The idea of moving to the fairgrounds was something that consumers directly familiar with the area had suggested for several seasons. In short, customers spoke about what they wanted from the show, and the Big East Powersports Show listened.
“The move to the new facility is an incredible opportunity to grow the show and create a better experience for everybody involved. Vendors will find move-in, setup and move-out to be significantly easier, and the high ceiling and expanded space will allow them to be more creative with their displays,” Prusak said. “Also beneficial to the vendors is we’re confident we can grow overall attendance at the new facility — as hassles related to parking, traffic and the general aura of being downtown are alleviated by moving.”
The show has had a very loyal vendor following, and seeing them have a good show every year is very rewarding,” Rosacker said. “We know the vendors are an integral part of the show’s success each year and we certainly appreciate their involvement and loyalty.”
Although every idea involved in the expansion process might not be implemented during its inaugural season at the fairgrounds, it’s safe to say the sky is the limit for the show in its new space — something that consumers have seemingly taken note of.
The show has a lot of momentum, but for 2019 it gets renewed with this larger, brand new facility that is sure to bring in larger crowds and more vendors.
“At the end of the day, the Big East Powersports Show is about bringing together businesses in the snowmobile and powersports industries with passionate consumers who want to spend money on their favorite sport, in a fun, festive atmosphere that builds enthusiasm,” Prusak said.
Let the countdown to the fall snow show season begin.