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Connecting Communities with Confidence at the Orange County Convention Center

  • 12/14/2020 4:11:00 PM
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American Kennel Club logo on blurred out image of the AKC 2020 National ChampionshipIn December 2020, the OCCC reconnected the dog show community at the AKC National Championships. 

The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) continues to move forward to find innovative ways to embrace its new normal to continue Meeting Safely Today for a Stronger Tomorrow.

Since launching its robust recovery plan in June, all eyes have been on Orlando to lead its clients, community and the convention industry to success.

With its busiest month since the onset of the pandemic in full swing, the OCCC continues to carefully prepare and control its space, to provide a safe and responsible environment for attendees, clients, employees and the surrounding community.

American Kennel Club National Championships | Dec. 8-13, 2020

Returning to the OCCC for its 10th year, the 2020 American Kennel Club (AKC) National Championships presented by Royal Canin celebrated its 20th anniversary at the Center from Dec. 8-13, 2020.

With no spectators and enhanced safety protocols, the event may have looked different from previous years, but the extensive planning put forward by show managers ensured a safe and enjoyable event for attendees, exhibitors and participants.



“We felt very lucky to be back in Orlando hosting the 20th AKC National Championship dog show,” said AKC Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo. “We know how important these events are to our breeders, handlers and owners, and we owe it to our sport to uphold this important annual tradition, even if it’s under modified operations.”

Recognized as the pinnacle of the dog sporting calendar, attendees and vendors alike were delighted to be back on the show floor, sharing memories of years gone by and reconnecting with the dog show community. Several trade and local media outlets also cited the careful planning as a testament of how live events can be held safely and without incident.



“It feels great to be back at the AKC show,” said Kristi Cummer, a participant who has attended the AKC National Championships for 20 years. Cummer went on to praise the show’s organization and planning, mentioning how the event maintained regular, open and transparent communications on safety measures ahead of the event, all of which lived up to her expectations.

Greg Wessel, visiting from Indiana with his Belgian Sheepdog Lizzie, echoed Cummer’s comments, referencing how pre-show communications put him at ease on what to expect at the event.

Wessel continued to outline how the protocols put in place, from the no spectator policy, “Show and Go Rule,” and enhanced check-in process made him feel “very safe and secure.” He stated that he felt that the AKC “implemented all of the correct policies and procedures to ensure a safe and successful event.”

Carol Christensen, owner of Tic Tac Throw, an exhibitor showcasing its array of gifts for dogs, discussed how no spectators would disrupt her weekend sales, but spoke of her excitement to be back at live events, and willingness to “do what needed to be done” to ensure the safe return of events.

Vendors and participants also referenced the safe destination practices they have experienced in Orlando, praising the local restaurants and accommodations for their enhanced efforts. “I feel very safe in Orlando,” said Diane Brooks, owner of Diane’s Dream. “We are staying at a local hotel, and have dined at different restaurants along [I-Drive]. We can’t fault anything!”

Other forthcoming events at the OCCC include: 

Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend | Dec. 15-19, 2020

Recognizing the OCCC’s extended commitment to meeting safety, planners of the Mr. Olympia fitness competition have relocated their renowned bodybuilding event to The Center of Hospitality from Dec. 15-19, 2020.

Central Florida International Auto Show | Dec. 18-20, 2020 

Calling the OCCC home for more than 35 years, the 2020 Central Florida International Auto Show will take place from Dec. 18-20, and will be the first nationwide auto show hosted since the onset of the pandemic. Working diligently with show planners, vendors and manufacturers, the OCCC will execute a plan that prioritizes health and safety to responsibly connect and reunite the auto show industry.

Surf Expo | Jan. 6-8, 2021

With a legacy spanning more than three decades, the Surf Expo is moving forward at the OCCC from Jan. 6-8, following Emerald’s recent success in hosting its first live event under modified operations. The OCCC and Emerald will implement a series of new preventative protocols, following a strategic, data-driven plan, to ensure attendee and exhibitor safety and instill confidence in those participating in the event.

MAGIC Pop Up Orlando, WWIN Orlando Showcase and OFFPRICE | Feb. 9-11, 2021

Continuing to attract new business, Informa Markets Fashion, Clarion Events and Tarsus Group recently announced a new collaboration to create a multi-market live event in Orlando, from Feb. 9-11, 2021. Guided by Informa AllSecure and the OCCC protocols, the event will provide a much-needed physical buying platform to reconnect the fashion and apparel industry and drive commerce.

Moving forward, The Center of Hospitality looks toward the New Year with optimism and confidence, as it continues to make enormous strides in defining the future of live events and Meeting Safely.





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