Two big annual trade shows canceled — again — at McCormick Place

Two large industry events that typically bring a combined 126,000 people to Chicago’s McCormick Place have been canceled for the second straight year because of COVID-19.

On Friday, the National Restaurant Association said its show, which was to take place May 22-25, has been called off and rescheduled to May 21-24, 2022.

On Monday, the International Housewares Association announced that The Inspired Home Show, which was to take place Aug. 7-10, has been canceled. The group said its decision was based on state restrictions related to large gatherings as well as government restrictions that are affecting domestic and international travel.

The housewares trade event is set to return to McCormick Place March 5-8, 2022.

Combined, the two events were estimated to attract 126,000 exhibitors and attendees, and generate a regional economic impact of almost $210 million, said Cynthia McCafferty, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the agency that owns McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

As recently as a month ago, Chicago’s convention and tourism industry was hoping for a second-half rebound in events, a sense of cautious optimism tied to the rollout of several vaccines for COVID-19.

The Inspired Home Show was one of 59 events scheduled at the convention center from June 1 through Dec. 31, including 39 major events that could draw as many as 878,000 visitors and account for about 880,000 hotel room nights, according to estimates from McPier.

Since the pandemic began a year ago, 214 events — that accounted for an estimated $2.9 billion in economic impact — have been canceled at McCormick Place, McCafferty said.