It’s official: Emerald Expositions, the company that runs the Outdoor Retailer trade show every summer and winter, has canceled the summer show scheduled for late June in Denver, Colorado. This comes as no surprise, as Emerald has already altered or canceled 30 other shows in the face of spreading coronavirus, and surveys show that most in the industry wanted it canceled. But still, it was a big decision, and damaging to the bottom line of Emerald, which has lost tens of millions in shuttered shows this year. It also hurts the Outdoor Industry Association, which garners seventy percent of its funding from the OR show.

The full announcement from show director Marisa Nicholson is below and additional reporting from trade magazine SNEWS can be read here.

Experienced outdoorists know when the backcountry is unsafe, a trail insecure, or the season wrong for the adventure. In those times, we focus on different activities to ensure our safety while still fulfilling our connection to the outdoors.


This is one of those times. Amidst growing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and after having extensive conversations with many of you, we made the difficult decision to cancel Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2020, which had been scheduled for June 23-25, 2020 in Denver. Maintaining the health and safety of everyone is paramount to us.

Recent developments have made it impossible to effectively execute a June show that delivers the level of connection, discovery, and value our community expects. This is due to developments regarding COVID-19 that we are all familiar with at this point, including, but not limited to, the declaration of a National State of Emergency; various statewide states of emergency across the nation; the latest federal measures, including travel restrictions placed on foreign nationals traveling to the United States from certain EU member states and other places; the declaration by the WHO of COVID-19 as a pandemic; the accelerating pace of confirmed cases worldwide and domestically; current quarantines, containment areas, stay at home orders, and restrictions on congregating and large gatherings imposed by states and other government and public health authorities; various company-imposed travel restrictions on employees affecting attendees and participating companies; and the resulting cancellations made by several partners.

Life around the world has changed rapidly, and the way we live, interact and do business have all been radically disrupted.

While we did investigate potential alternative dates for the show, due to logistical issues, as well as clear feedback from retailers, reps and brands, we were forced to cancel and not postpone Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2020.

Despite canceling our in-person summer show, we are committed to keeping us all connected because it’s with the help of each other that we move forward. As the largest network of outdoor businesses, we are doing everything we can to leverage that for the health of our industry.

In talking with you, we’ve been gaining a better understanding of the industry’s needs at this time. We’re now working to deliver you tools that will:

Support go-to-market strategy for Spring/Summer 2021;
Reinforce buyer/seller networks;
Offer an ability to discover new brands, products and retailers, and a place to learn; and
Provide media and marketing opportunities to tell stories and drive awareness.
We’ll keep you informed as details come together and plans become actions.


We’re going to come out of this eager to connect on a human level and anxious to celebrate everything we value as a community. We can’t wait to bring everyone together again and see you all in January. And as we’ve said before, this is when we really miss the hugs and high-fives, so make sure and take time to reach out and support each other.

Stay safe and take care of one another. A community together wins.

Marisa Nicholson
Outdoor Retailer | Senior Vice President and Show Director

Photo via Outdoor Retailer

Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal. Follow him on Instagram at @stevecasimiro.

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