Coverings is headed in a new direction: North, to Chicago and McCormick Place Convention Center, April 17-20, 2007. And, whether in spite of or because of the upcoming venue change from Orlando, the tile and stone world's premier international exposition and conference already is showing signs that it is going to be another record-breaking year. Exhibitor space is nearly booked to capacity. The "Call for Papers" for seminar session speakers and presenters triggered a deluge of responses, including many from high-powered names in design and business. And, the Web site, www.coverings.com, has been fielding a record number of inquiries about pre-registration and attendance that usually don't reach such volume this far in advance of the show.

"It's clear that Coverings 2007 is going to be historic," said Tamara Christian, show director and president of National Trade Productions, which manages the show. "What we're hearing from so many of the exhibitors is that no matter where Coverings is held next year, they want ‘in,' because nothing compares; it's the ultimate for tile and stone. The choice of Chicago will likely draw more attendees than ever before, many being fresh faces from the Midwest representing the design world, as well as the distribution and retail end of the business."

Christian also noted that, in heading to Chicago, it actually marks a return for Coverings to the Windy City. The show was last staged there in 1992, and has since evolved into a world-class event. According to a recent online survey conducted among Coverings attendees who've attended any of the past three years, nearly 80 percent said they're planning to go to the Chicago show in 2007.

The educational and instructional programming offered at the show consistently ranks as one of its primary attractions. As in past years, there will be separate seminar tracks to satisfy a variety of interests: distribution and retail; architecture and design; building and remodeling; fabrication and installation. The increasing importance of green building and sustainability is being addressed this year, with an entire track dedicated to the topic. Sessions are free of charge, a rarity when it comes to the trade show circuit. Another plus is that CEU credits from AIA, ASID, IIDA and NKBA are available.

Online registration will be available in October. In the meantime, an exclusive preview of Coverings 2007 appears on the site. Plus, a new "flash" component, which can be emailed to colleagues and friends, provides a taste of what's ahead at the Chicago show. For more information on attending or exhibiting at Coverings, please visit www.coverings.com or contact NTP, Coverings Show Management, at 703-683-8500.