The Southeast Produce Council has just announced that Southern Exposure, which was scheduled to be held Feb. 25-27, 2021, will now take place April 6-8, following Easter Sunday. This strategic decision was carefully made by the SEPC Executive Committee to ensure that retailer and foodservice members are able to join the event.
“When presented with the opportunity to adjust show dates, we recognized the increased potential to host an in-person event with Southern Exposure 2021. Most organizations’ travel restrictions extend through the first quarter of 2021. Moving the dates to April could allow increased SEPC members to gather and maximize the value of in-person interactions, albeit at a socially distant and safe environment,” said SEPC Chairman of the Board Harold Paivarinta of Red Sun Farms. “Overwhelming feedback from our membership strongly supported an in-person event over the current trend of virtual shows. It’s a face-to-face industry built on traditional connections. Screen time is working fine in our daily duties but cannot deliver on the connections the SEPC is renowned for.”
SEPC President & CEO David Sherrod said, “We have already been encouraged by the strong attendance numbers we were seeing for February despite Covid-19, including sold-out exhibit space. Rescheduling is the right decision to better serve our retailers and foodservice members who are currently under travel bans. We were fortunate to experience an extremely successful Southern Exposure 2020 just as Covid-19 was beginning to affect our industry and nation. We are beyond thrilled to host Southern Exposure: The Rise of Produce, and we are committed to making this year better than ever. This Star Wars-themed experience in April will surely be an intergalactic success. Stringent safety measures and social distancing solutions will ensure the force is with us for a reunion that will be out of this world!”
The SEPC’s top priority is the health and safety of Southern Exposure attendees, exhibitors and staff. The SEPC team is actively working with the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort to implement their enhanced health and safety guidelines which are detailed on SEPC’s Southern Exposure webpage.
“We are excited to reunite at a venue that has proven itself as a protected space during the pandemic. These Disney hotels, where Southern Exposure will take place in April, were host to the NBA teams and their families during the reimagined 2020 season. Disney has proven to be effective in operating safely, and we have been working closely with their teams to ensure a safe and successful Southern Exposure 2021,” Sherrod said.
Registration is open for Southern Exposure: The Rise of Produce, and SEPC members are encouraged to register soon at seproducecouncil.com/. A hybrid platform also will be available through the SEPC Virtual Garden for buyers who are still unable to attend in Q2 so that they can connect in real-time with onsite exhibitors.
Based in Millen, Georgia, the SEPC is a member-driven, non-profit association of more than 2,500 leaders from all facets of the produce industry. It was formed more than 20 years ago to promote the value of fresh fruits and vegetables in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Virginia through networking, innovation, community and education.