Snaxpo 2005 goes Hollywood!

… Hollywood, Florida, that is.
By Ann Przybyla Wilkes
SFA V.P. of Communications
Nestled between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, Hollywood, Fla., is an ideal location for SNAXPO 2005, which is scheduled for March 12-15. Easily accessible from the U.S. as well as Central and South America, this paradise location will host the compact SNAXPO format that will feature a strong educational emphasis.
In addition to outstanding educational sessions on the issues most-affecting snack manufacturers, the 68th annual SNAXPO will provide a variety of networking opportunities, including premier social events and the exhibit area. Since this year’s convention and expo is the compact format, the exhibits will be smaller without large equipment, providing an ideal setting for meeting with suppliers to learn about the latest in packaging, equipment, ingredients and services for the snack food industry.
On the Docket
Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will be the keynote speaker at SNAXPO 2005. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing 3 million companies, associations, state and local chambers, and American chambers of commerce abroad. Since assuming his position in 1997, Donohue has revitalized the business organization, significantly boosting membership and revenues, strengthening relations with state and local chambers and expanding the Chamber’s clout in Washington, D.C., as well as its international activities around the world. Prior to heading the Chamber, Donohue served for 13 years as the president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the national organization of the trucking industry.
Kim Feil, CEO of Mosaic InfoForce, L.P., a joint venture of The Mosaic Group, Inc. and Information Resources, Inc., again will present the highly anticipated State of the Industry report. Other educational sessions will include presentations on RFID, acrylamide, health and nutrition, selling in Hispanic markets, efficient trade promotions, biotechnology, food safety and allergen labeling.
Hollywood style
Rich in history, The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa will host SNAXPO 2005. On Dec. 31, 1974, Frank Sinatra performed his last show before retirement in front of 3,500 fans in the Regency Ballroom at the Diplomat Hotel. The hotel has hosted U.S. presidents, movie stars and sports icons.
Lawrence Welk, Ted Mack with his Original Amateur Hour, and Arthur Godfrey all broadcasted from the Diplomat’s Tack Room. However, challenges to The Diplomat came in the 1980s with the success of Walt Disney World, competition from Las Vegas and a series of fires in the hotel in ‘87.  The original hotel was demolished in ’98, and in January 2002, it re-emerged as the $800 million Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa.
The City of Hollywood dates back to 1920, when Joseph Wesley Young envisioned a dynamic city rising from the wetlands between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. He built a wide boulevard extending from the ocean westward to the edge of the Everglades and named it Hollywood Boulevard. The city was devastated by a hurricane in 1926 and didn’t experience rapid population growth again until the 1950s and 1960s. That growth has produced a stable population that is changing in composition.
Florida Ambiance
Hollywood itself offers a cozy, charming, seaside paradise that attracts a worldwide audience with its quaint, old-Florida ambiance. Visitors can golf, stroll the beaches, swim to coral reefs, sample international cuisine, take in a show, go to the races or hit the clubs. Average high temperatures in early March are in the low 80s (Fahrenheit).
Florida’s only ocean-front boardwalk, a 27-foot-wide walkway that includes a five-mile bicycling, rollerblading and running path, is located in Hollywood. The city was awarded Florida’s first “Blue Wave” award for clean beaches. In addition to its ocean location, Hollywood is also a nature-lover’s paradise. The city has the largest preserved natural habitat on Florida’s southeast coast. The preserve — connected by city, county and state parks — can be explored via observation towers or biking, jogging and canoe trails. Additionally, the Seminole Okalee Indian Village and the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum offer a view into the world of the Seminole Indians, past and present.
Hollywood’s downtown area and beaches are lively with arts, entertainment and dining districts that offer an international flair. Continental, French, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Greek, Romanian, Italian and Mediterranean blend with family-style and health-food restaurants to create one of south Florida’s most exciting eating experiences. The Diplomat’s premier steakhouse, Hollywood Prime, received rave reviews from Newsweek and Bon Appetit magazines. The dinner-only restaurant has its own butcher shop and 400 labels of wines.
The bottom line: SNAXPO 2005 will be full of opportunity. You can make great business contacts, attend excellent educational sessions, see new developments on the trade show floor and have a great time too.