SEMA, Las Vegas’ largest trade show in 2021, opens on Tuesday

When the Specialty Equipment Market Association arrives at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Tuesday, it will be by far the largest convention and trade show the city has hosted since January 2020.

It will also be the biggest show of 2021.

While many large trade shows are characterized as commodity supermarkets, SEMA is more like a giant candy store.

The booths at the show feature car accessories, parts, gadgets and add-ons that attendees can see up close. The added value is that many parts are fitted to a variety of different vehicles so that participants can see them working in their product environment.

Some companies go to great lengths to use finely painted and inflated cars that are as exposed as the products themselves.

And car fans love it.

Long a fixture on the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority calendar over the years, SEMA was canceled in August 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But this year it has come back strong, and Tom Gattuso, vice president of events and shows for the California-based association Diamond Bar, said SEMA 2021 represents a homecoming for car enthusiasts across the country. the country.

“Strong momentum”

“We are seeing that we have a really good momentum as we move into the last week before the opening,” said Gattuso. “I’m encouraged by what we’re seeing and we have every reason to believe the people who signed up will be here and more. It’s really good.”

SEMA reached a milestone on the last day of pre-registration, surpassing 51,000 registered buyers. Gattuso said SEMA will be set to welcome 100,000 industry professionals when the show opens in every hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

By comparison, the largest trade show previously held at the Convention Center, World of Concrete, attracted around 30,000 people to Las Vegas. Because international travel was limited in June and World of Concrete normally meets in January when it’s cooler outside, the show didn’t attract the 60,000 people it typically attracts. LVCVA officials noted that the June date was not particularly favorable for the show as most of the masonry and concrete experts are on the job sites in June.

On the calendar until 2028

The date is not a problem for SEMA.

It was held in Las Vegas the first week of November since 1977, when the show got too big for the Anaheim Convention Center.

Now, SEMA is locked in the Las Vegas calendar until 2028.

SEMA comes with an added bonus for Las Vegas – the co-location of a second automotive aftermarket show, the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo to be held at The Venetian Expo.

Both shows represent Automotive Aftermarket Week in Las Vegas.

AAPEX has virtually the same audience as the larger SEMA show. Co-located shows allow registrants for one event or another to attend the other.


SEMA is also one of the few trade shows in Las Vegas to offer a day for the public – on Friday, SEMA Ignited, a post-show after-party that will take place in the parking lot west of downtown’s new West Hall.

The Friday Night Festival takes place immediately after SEMA closes as hundreds of cars and trucks parade out of the Las Vegas Convention Center and congregate at SEMA Ignited.

Attendees will have the opportunity to view hundreds of custom rides showcasing the show’s latest and most innovative products.

Tickets are available online at for $ 90.

Some of the highlights of the trends at this year’s SEMA show:

– COVID-19 has increased the popularity of recreational vehicles, camping and road trips. SEMA officials have reported an increase in consumer demand for more comfortable cars, trucks and vans, with Yellowstone National Park having the biggest month in park history in July.

– Exhibitors at the Congress Center will present and activate new products in vehicles. Among the activations: Ford Out Front, allowing participants to ride in Ford vehicles driven by professional drivers, including the new Ford Bronco.

– The Hoonigan Burnyard Bash, in its 10th year at SEMA, will feature daily demonstrations of burnouts, donuts and the brand’s signature antics.

Electric car

One of the highlights of this year’s show is electric vehicle development, just like in 2019 when Ford announced an $ 11 billion investment in electric vehicle production, unveiling its electric Mustang prototype.

The push for electric cars is expected to get even stronger this year with President Biden’s announced goal of having half of all vehicles sold in the United States powered by electricity by 2030.

Electric cars will be even more important at SEMA 2021 thanks to the Las Vegas Convention Center’s first loop show, the mile-long underground transport vehicle developed by The Boring Co of Elon Musk.

As the three-stop system using Tesla electric vehicles to transport conventioneers from one end of the convention center to the other, SEMA will be the first major test of the system.

“The ability of the Convention Center Loop to quickly move our guests around campus ranked in our customer surveys as the most favorable part of the convention experience,” said LVCVA spokesperson Lori Nelson Kraft. “Even though the delegates did not need to travel around the campus, they took the opportunity to discover the new must-see attraction and loved it.

“With SEMA being the Convention Center’s first full lounge, using all four halls – Central, North, South and West – we anticipate it will test the capabilities of the system as it will carry the largest number of passengers to date with many people needing to be transported at the same time, ”she said.

Gattuso is also excited about the future of the Loop System as it expands to Las Vegas.

“For me, this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Gattuso said. “We are talking about over 100,000 car enthusiasts using an underground electric car system when they are here. We will have 60 cars running through the system simultaneously.

“I look forward to the years to come when the system is extended to the city,” he said. “We have this solution right now on campus with the potential to extend the basement along the Strip and all the way to the airport. I think in five years we will see the true potential of the self-driving car and how far it can go in the city of Las Vegas.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Dr Miriam Adelson, the majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates The Venetian Expo.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at [email protected] or 702-477-3893. To follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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