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During the dates that the lighting and ceiling fan industry members would have gathered in Puerto Rico for the annual ALA Conference (September 24 & 25), a new event has been established in the wake of the conference’s cancellation due to the Zika virus outbreak. The informal event was conceived and organized by several independent industry members who wanted to preserve the networking opportunities that a conference typically provides, but on a smaller scale given the time-constraint of organizing such an unprecedented endeavor. 

One of the organizers, Nathan Frampton of Fanimation, explained that Chicago was selected for the venue because its central location makes it easy for travel from anywhere in North America. The Windy City area also provides another benefit: it is within driving distance of three premium lighting showrooms for attendees to tour as a group. Typically, due to the competitive nature of retailing, lighting showroom employees are not able to visit other lighting stores in their respective areas and arranging a visit to showrooms outside of their selling area could be difficult. For this special event, the owners of Hinsdale Lighting, Lightology, and Horton’s Lighting will be opening their doors to their peers and hosting educational seminars — all in the spirit of networking and camaraderie.

The timing of the gathering was deliberately set for the same timeframe as the ALA Conference in order to make it easier on participants who had already blocked off those days ahead of time for the conference. While the Lighting & Ceiling Fan Industry Professionals in Chicago event is not sponsored by the American Lighting Association (ALA), the organization’s executives and board members will be in attendance.

Interested lighting and fan industry members can register for the free event through Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lighting-fans-in-chicago-tickets-27128470987?aff=efbnreg) and book their hotel rooms at Palmer House, located at 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago.

Through individual sponsorships, including Fanimation, Framburg, Hinkley, Lightology, Quoizel, and WAC Lighting, select meals and a chartered bus will bring the participants to each showroom and back to the hotel on Saturday, September 24. The bus tour leaves downtown Chicago at 1 p.m. (lunch is included) and will conclude at Lightology (dinner is included).

The following day – Sunday, September 26 – participants will be the guests of enLIGHTenment Magazine, which is sponsoring an 11:00 a.m. 90-minute trip on the renowned architectural boat tour for 50 people. For that reason, registration is required in advance to get a proper head count.  The rest of the day is open for participants to network or sightsee.

Thanks to the sponsorships, the costs were minimized for lighting and fan industry members who wish to take part in this special event. Participants will only need to cover their airfare and hotel stay.