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Logging Expo canceled for 2020

ESCANABA — Hot on the heels of Tuesday’s announcement that the U.P. State Fair has been canceled for 2020, another major event in Delta County has been officially called off for this year: The Great Lakes Logging & Heavy Equipment Expo.

The expo — one of the forest products industry’s largest events in the Midwest — was scheduled to take place at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba from Sept. 10-12. Organizers on Wednesday evening pushed the event, which would have marked its 75th anniversary in 2020, to 2021.

Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association Executive Director Henry Schienebeck said canceling the expo was “not really” a difficult decision to make, given the circumstances.

“You just weigh out the pluses and the minuses … in this particular (situation), the minuses won out,” Schienebeck said.

The postponement of the 2020 U.P. State Fair was a major factor in the GLTPA board of directors’ decision, as the association viewed that event as an indicator of whether or not it would be safe to hold their own.

“That was one of our criteria,” Schienebeck said.

Schienebeck thanked the Delta County Chamber of Commerce for its cooperation in this matter.

“They have been nothing but absolutely phenomenal to work with,” he said.

For the most part, the GLTPA will not have to refund vendors and exhibitors planning to attend the event.

“We were not accepting payment for booths or anything like that,” Schienebeck said.

Any checks that were sent to the GLTPA to pay for space at the 2020 expo will be mailed back.

About 50 percent of the GLTPA’s funds come from the expo each year. Because of this, Schienebeck said he expects the association to face some financial challenges in the coming months.

“We’ll have to tighten our belt like everybody else, and I’m sure we’re going to get the job done,” he said.

In recent years, the expo has alternated between being in Escanaba — where it has taken place at least 30 times — and at sites in Wisconsin. Though 2019’s expo took place in Escanaba, the event was slated to return to the area this year to celebrate the anniversary.

“We’re looking forward to returning next year and having the same great show we would have had this year,” Schienebeck said.

For more information on the expo and the GLTPA, go to www.gltpa.org.

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