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MANTS’ 50th anniversary draws biggest crowd in more than a decade

by | Feb 7, 2020

During one of his popular presentations at The Perennial Farm’s MANTS booth, Dr. Allan Armitage, center, tells stories from his two newest books, “Of Naked Ladies and Forget-me-nots” and “Legends in the Garden: Who in the World is Nellie Stevens,” both of which focus on the tales behind names of garden plants. (Photo by Joan M. Kasura)

BALTIMORE — The 50th anniversary of the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show held at the Baltimore Convention Center was marked with record attendance numbers, the highest in the past 12 years.
MANTS 2020 brought over 12,000 total registrants (including exhibitors) through the doors of the Baltimore Convention Center, organizers said. Attendees from 44 states and 15 countries, including the United States, had the opportunity to visit 968 exhibiting companies, spread out over 1,550 booths, to do business, network and learn about the latest green industry trends they will see in 2020.
“It was an incredible experience to see MANTS turn 50,” said Vanessa Finney, executive vice president of MANTS. “One person can’t do it alone and I am so thankful to the team that helps us put on the best show possible year after year. I know the show’s founders would be proud of where we are today, and we look forward to the next 50 years.”
In addition to the increased registration in 2020, business was thriving at the premier green industry marketplace once again this year. More than 88% of MANTS attendees were designated as the representatives in their companies that make or influence final purchasing decisions. 3,830 non-exhibiting/buying companies were represented on the show floor, and commerce reigned supreme for both exhibitors and attendees:
“MANTS was a wonderful whirlwind in the best possible way,” said Heather Zindash, CPH, The Soulful Gardener. “This important event provides opportunities to source products and materials, network with industry related professionals and maintain and increase business opportunities. Because of MANTS, I have plenty of leads to create a full book of business in 2020 and beyond.”
While all of the participating companies were busy buying and selling, MANTS volunteers were busy giving away a donated prize every 15 minutes through their special 50th anniversary raffle. Some 77 prizes were distributed across the three days of the show, including three grand prizes provided by Turf Equipment and Supply Co., Security Equipment Co. and Atlantic Tractor.
MANTS will return to the Baltimore Convention Center in 2021, the event is scheduled for January 6 – 8.
In 1970, the Mid-Atlantic Nurserymen’s Trade Show, Inc. was established by the Maryland and Virginia Nurserymen’s Associations.
Two years later, the West Virginia Nurserymen’s Association joined in as the third and equal sponsor of the show.
The first trade show was held in Williamsburg, Virginia in January 1971 with 64 exhibitors and the second in 1972 at the Hunt Valley Inn in Cockeysville, Md., with 79 exhibitors. During the ensuing years, the show continued to grow and move between venues in Maryland and Virginia before finding its home in the Baltimore Convention Center in January 1981 where it has stayed for 40 years.

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