weather icon Clear

Cashman Center closing a blow to smaller Las Vegas trade shows

Laura Covington has been going to the bridal show her mother started at Cashman Center since she was a toddler.

Now, the 28-year-old co-producer of the Bridal Spectacular is getting ready for this weekend’s final showing at Cashman. The exhibition space will be mothballed at the end of the year.

“It’s like losing a piece of us,” Covington said. “It’s a big part of our family.”

The news this year that Cashman’s convention areas will close left the trade and consumer show organizers surprised and scrambling to find space for the events they often book over a year in advance.

Limited options

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority transferred the Cashman space to the city of Las Vegas in June, but the authority will continue to operate the exhibition facilities through the end of the year. The LVCVA was losing money on the convention space at Cashman, and the city doesn’t have the staff in place to operate convention facilities, city spokesman Jace Radke said.

The LVCVA has been working with convention and trade show organizers to find alternative locations, while the city is working to find alternative theater venues, Radke said.

The options for consumer shows catering to locals are limited when it comes to affordability and accessibility. On top of a substantially heftier price tag, convention centers at casinos and resorts often come with the expectation of a couple hundred hotel room bookings, show organizers said.

The Bridal Spectacular has found venues for its 2018 shows, but not all of the trade show organizers can afford a cost hike. Others are looking frantically for new space. And the large, long-running Craft Festival will leave Las Vegas entirely.

The Craft Festival will hold its the “grand finale” at Cashman this fall, ending a run that began in 1983, before Cashman’s facilities were even finished, organizer Steve Powers said.

Without a comparable facility when it comes to accessibility and affordability, the November show will be Powers’ last in the region. The show typically draws 13,000 people over three days, and 90 percent are locals, he said.

“I’m not looking to throw my show in a tent behind World Market Center,” Powers said. “It’s not the same.”

Meanwhile, the stadium portion of Cashman will get busier in 2018, when a new United Soccer League team begins to share the field with the Las Vegas 51s.

Finding a venue

The Bridal Spectacular has called Cashman home for all 26 years of its existence, save for 2009, when the venue was booked solid for a monthslong bowling tournament, Covington said.

The shows will be held at the Rio in January and the Las Vegas Convention Center next August, but the spaces for the bridal show will either be significantly smaller than Cashman’s 98,000 square feet of exhibition space, or double the price for a similar area, Covington said.

Organizers submitted 30 requests for proposals for venues, and were either ignored or told no from most, Covington said.

The shows draw 700 to 1,000 brides, depending on the season, and up to 2,500 total attendees. Debbie Hansen, who has grown the twice-yearly bridal show significantly in the past two and a half decades, said she doesn’t think local officials put enough thought into the economic effect of closing Cashman’s convention side.

Harry Sleight, who’s been putting on shows at Cashman since 1988, has a fall Home Expo slated for September. Sleight is hoping he can get into the Rio or another space in the valley for the spring home and garden show he puts together every year, but nothing has come through yet.

“In the city and county, there’s no place that’s taking care of the constituency,” Sleight said. “Cashman was designed to support the locals.”

Sleight pays $4,000 per day, per hall at Cashman, and he estimates other venues would cost $15,000 to $20,000. With Cashman Field still in use, Sleight questioned why the exhibition space can’t continue to operate, too. Sleight supplies the security staff for his events, he said.

“If they wanted $6,000 or $7,000, we’d go for that in a heartbeat,” Sleight said.

Contact Jamie Munks at jmunks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @JamieMunksRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Small businesses not high-profile, but a target for violence

Although mass shootings do happen in places like the Walmart in El Paso, where 22 people were killed this month, small businesses are more likely to be the setting for gun violence.