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I-X Center celebrates 25-year anniversary

The International Exposition Center is celebrating its 25-year anniversary with plans for a multi-million dollar investment in visitor amenities and new events.
Through the next few years, $25 million to $30 million as well as $3 million this year is slated be used to upgrade facilities, including restrooms, parking and traffic flow with a third lane to the main road and additional lighting in parking lots.

Robert Peterson, I-X Center president, said in a press release that these upgrades are expected to help event attendance increase.

The I-X Center, located at 1 Ixcenter Drive, is the eighth largest convention center in the United States with about one million square feet of exhibition or conference space, and annual visitors of about 1.5 million. The changes could double that, Peterson said, and even bring in new visitors from around the nation.

In addition to the upgrades, the I-X Center is adding new annual events and shows.

One of the new events, the International Beer Fest, debuted in May of this year. It featured 200 breweries from around the world and 800 different beers. Almost 9,000 visitors attended, many from across the nation as well as Canada.

Its our hope that the International Beer Fest will eventually become the largest such event east of the Mississippi River, Peterson said.

Another of the newer events is the Fabulous Food Show, which began in 2006 and will take place from Nov. 11 to 13. The event includes exhibits, demonstrations and celebrity chefs, such as Giada De Laurentiis, Paula Deen and Bobby Flay.

Peterson said despite the Fabulous Food Show having existed for only a few years, it has become one of the most popular events at the center. In Spring 2012, the I-X Center will host the first Fabulous Food Show, Spring Edition.

Two shows that premiered last year will also return this fall: The Piston Power Show, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, and Trick or Treat Street, Oct. 22 and 23, and Oct. 28 to 30. The Piston Power Show showcases piston-powered vehicles, including a World War II B-17 bomber.
The International Exposition Center
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