By LAUREN BARRY
Journal & Topics Reporter
Rosemont’s Donald E. Stephens Convention Center has already booked 10 new events for its 2017 season.
The Bridal and Wedding Expo, Fan Fest Chicago, and the Franchise Expo are just some of the new additions to the bustling activities expected for next year.
“We are happy with the fact that we are still booking new events,” said Executive Director Christopher Stephens, “but we are always happy to have all of our returning clients.”
A Rosemont landmark since 1975, the Stephens Convention Center is a 840,000 sq. ft. Mecca of culture that hosts 100 events a year and approximately 1.35 million visitors annually. It is located in the village’s hotel and restaurant district.
Next year will kick-off with one of the center’s new events, the Bridal and Wedding Expo, from Jan. 7-8. At this event, brides and grooms as well as wedding planners and business professionals can research all aspects of weddings. In addition to industry professionals, there will be wedding dresses on display, food samples, flowers and music. Information on reception venues and honeymoon packages will also be featured at the expo.
March 25-26, the Heroes & Villains Fan Fest comes to Rosemont for the first time. Also held in Atlanta, London, Nashville, Portland, and New York, this festival includes both “Heroes & Villians” and “Walker Stalker” events. Both draw panels of television and film stars, as well as crew members, to discuss their work with fans. Most recently, the cast of the CW series “Arrow” was scheduled to perform at the Atlanta Fan Fest in November.
For potential business owners, the Franchise Expo is also in town from March 25-26. This convention brings together potential business owners with opportunities to own their own franchise of national chains such as Benjamin Moore, Sprint, and Subway. Workshops on legal issues, financial strategy and finding ideal businesses will also be part of the two-day event.
Other public events in 2017 include: St. Judes Benefit Meet (Jan. 13-15); Discover the Dinosaurs (Jan. 13-16); Chicago Outdoor Sports Show (Jan. 19-22); Travel and Adventure (Jan. 21-22); Chicago Motorcycle Show (Feb. 10-12); 48th Annual RV Camping & Van Show (Feb. 15-19); 34th Annual Golf Show (Feb. 24-26); Our World Underwater (Feb. 24-26); World of Wheels World of Wheels Tuner Show (March 2-5); CSG Super Nationals & CSG Dance Nationals (March 4); Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention Rosemont (March 11-12); Fanatics (March 17-19); Wekfest Chicago 2017 (April 30); International Quilt Festival (April 5-8), International Gem & Jewelry Show (May 5-7); Chicago Fitness Expo (May 6-7); The Chicagoland, HOA, Co-Op & Art Expo (May 10); Anime Central (May 19-20); Midwest Anime (July 7-9); International Gem & Jewelry Show (Aug. 18-20); Wizard World Chicago Comic Con (Aug. 24-27); Muscle Car Corvette Nationals (Nov. 17-19); and Skokie Valley Kennel Club Dog Show (Dec. 7-9).
A number of new trade expositions are also planned for next year: Face and Body Spa Conference & Expo (Jan. 21-23); Maintenance, Repair and Operating 2017 (June 14-15); and ALOA Security Professional Association Annual Convention expo (July 20-22).
Altogether, 82 public, private and trade shows have been booked for 2017 at the Stephens Convention Center.