Trade Shows

The Making Of

The Ventura County Coast (VCC) trade show experience—featuring a refurbished VW bus with an immersive sound system and custom plush seats—is so real, so moving, you almost expect it to drive off into the California sunset.

“The VCC experience brings you from the strawberry fields into downtown and onto the beach. It feels like you’re actually taking a trip through Ventura County Coast,” said Garrett Mier, a senior partner at Creative Displays, the Camarillo-based company hired to build the exhibit.

Fun Fact: We created an interactive virtual experience turning our real-life trade show experience into an immersive digital environment that delivers the most realistic experience you can have without being there in-person. See for yourself by exploring our digital environment above.

VCC’s leadership team first came to Creative Displays with a big goal: to represent the organization’s partner cities—Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura and Port Hueneme—in one unified, interactive experience that could travel around the country connecting with and inspiring people to visit Ventura County Coast. 

In years past, representatives from each city traveled to trade shows and other events to promote their individual brands.  While this is still true for some events, a new vision for large events began to take shape.  By combining partner resources under the umbrella of VCC’s brand, the region is now able to shine even brighter with a dynamic experience that inspires people to visit Ventura County Coast.

“[VCC’s] newly formed trade show committee campaigned to all the visitor bureaus to join as one unified, identifiable region and ‘Go Big,’” explained Pearl Fiest, a VCC board member, trade show committee co-chair,  and general manager of the Ventura Beach Marriott. “This led us to revamping our ideas about trade shows and developing a multi-sensory experience to establish positive emotional connections to Ventura County Coast.”

Inspired by Highway 101, which connects all four Ventura County Coast communities, the team reached out to Wes McFarland at Vdub Classics, a local Volkswagen restoration company, to create the experience focal point: the front end of a vintage 1968 VW bus. For finishing touches, the team wanted to add components that highlighted Ventura County Coast’s agriculture and wine industry. So they built a sensory component into the booth that fills the air with a strawberry scent. 

Fun fact: The bus used for the exhibit was severely damaged by fire leaving little more than the framework. Creative Displays was able to see past the charred remains and breath new life into California Classic bus.  They performed extensive body work and layed down a fresh coat of white paint before delivering the bus to Vdub Classics who expertly restored it, adding new retro dashboard components, plush reupholstered seats, and a state-of-the-art sound system. 

What can attendees expect of this unusual feature? “Their senses will be alive!” said Marlyss Auster, VCC board member, trade show committee co-chair and president and CEO of Visit Ventura. “We worked on introducing Ventura County Coast through all senses.”

Creative Displays also created “Cork Hole,” a wine-focused version of the game Corn Hole, by cutting a wine barrel in half and drilling differently sized holes in it. The objective of the game is to sink as many wine corks as possible in the barrel holes.

To top it all off, they reached out to legendary custom surfboard designer Steve Walden of Walden Surfboards to make custom boards that could be strapped to the VW’s roof rack. 

“We literally cut the boards in half and then ‘glassed’ the raw ends so the boards looked finished,” explained Brandy Herrin with Walden Surfboards. “Steve cleaned the boards up, did some cosmetic repairs to them, and added the VCC logos to the rails.”

The finished product represents Ventura County Coast’s classic, “California cool” culture.

To tie everything together, Creative Displays sourced reclaimed barnwood from a local company to build a portable display area.    

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a trade show without a giveaway. Staying with the “Go Big” theme, VCC reach out to Shelley Sund, owner of Ventura Bike Depot, for some classic California beach cruisers. The VCC team gives away a bike to one lucky winner at select trade show/events.

“I hope the winners will have a warm place in their hearts for the bike, Ventura, and the whole experience every time they take a spin on their new bike!,” Sund said.

The reaction VCC representatives receive at trade shows has been overwhelmingly positive, from attendees and competitors alike. One thing’s for sure: VCC is truly heading places together.

“The VCC booth nails it,” Herrin said. “Executive Director Brian Tucker made sure everything was authentic, from a real VW bus to our surfboards, everything was locally sourced and what real locals use.”

Added Vdub Classics owner McFarland, “I just think the experience is just perfect. That’s what Ventura County Coast is to me: a VW bus, with a surfboard on top, driving down the coast.”

“The challenge was to reimagine how we approach trade shows, we wanted an experience not just another exhibit” said Brian Tucker, VCC Executive Director.  “There is a feeling you get when you explore our region, the only way I can explain it is, good vibes. Everything from perfect weather, our beaches, cool downtown areas, diverse shopping options, direct access to the Channel Islands National Park and plenty of accommodations make this the perfect California destination. Thanks to the visionary leadership of our trade show committee, forward thinking board of directors and community partners, we now have a regionally authentic trade show experience and that the once Big Idea is our new normal as we continue heading places together.”   

Upcoming Shows

Arizona State Fair

October 1-30, 2021: Geotargeting

Arizona State Fairgrounds | 1826 W. McDowell Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85007

Travel & Adventure Show SF/Bay Area

October 23-24, 2021: Geotargeting

Santa Clara Convention Center | 5001 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA

Connect California & Connect Southwest

December 9-10, 2021: In-person/Geotargeting

Long Beach, CA Westin Long Beach | 333 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802

CalSAE Seasonal Spectacular

December 15-16, 2021: In-person/Geotargeting

SAFE Credit Union Convention Center | 1400 J St, Sacramento, CA 95814

Go West Summit

February 14-18, 2022: In-person/Geotargeting

Reno, Nevada

Travel & Adventure Show Dallas

April 2-3, 2022: In-person/Geotargeting

Dallas Market Hall | 2200 N Stemmons Fwy, Dallas, TX 75207

Arizona Taco Festival

April 9-10, 2022: Geotargeting

Salt River Fields | 7555 N. Pima Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85258

Travel & Adventure Show Denver

April 30-May 1, 2022: In-person/Geotargeting

Colorado Convention Center | 700 14th St, Denver, CO 80202

IPW

June 4-8, 2022: In-person/Geotargeting

Orlando, Florida

Past Shows

Country Thunder

October 14-17, 2021: Geotargeting

20585 E Water Way, Florence, AZ 85132 |

The Big Fresno Fair

October 6-17, 2021: Geotargeting

1121 S Chance Ave, Fresno, CA 93702

Wedding Salon Los Angeles

October 11, 2021: Geotargeting

Hotel Casa del Mar | 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Live Well Arizona Expo

October 9, 2021: Geotargeting

Glendale Civic Center | 5750 W Glenn Dr. Glendale, AZ 85301

Destination CA

October 7-9, 2021: In-person/Geotargeting

Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa | 2000 Second Street, Coronado, CA, 92118

IPW

September 18-22, 2021: Geotargeting

Las Vegas Convention Center | 3150 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Travel & Adventure Show Dallas

September 11-12, 2021: Geotargeting

Dallas Market Hall | 2200 N Stemmons Fwy, Dallas, TX 75207

HelmsBriscoe Annual Business Conference

June 29-30, 2021: Geotargeting

Hilton Anatole | 2201 N Stemmons Fwy, Dallas, TX 75207

Smart Meetings

June 24, 2021: In-person/Geotargeting

W. Hollywood Hotel | 6250 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028

Connect Meetings

May 24-26, 2021: In-person/Geotargeting

Las Vegas, Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa | 11011 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89135

Super Bowl

February 7, 2021: Geo-fenced

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL

Winter X Games Aspen

January 28-31, 2021: Geo-fenced

Buttermilk Mountain

Connect Midwest

Oct 19 – 21, 2020: Geo-fenced

Orlando World Center Marriott

Concerts in your Car – Phoenix

Oct – Nov 2020: Geo-fenced

Arizona State Fairgrounds

Concerts in your Car – San Diego

Oct – Nov 2020: Geo-fenced

Del Mar Fairgrounds

MPI WEC

Nov 3-6, 2020: Geo-fenced

Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center

Rose Bowl

January 1, 2021: Geo-fenced

Dallas AT&T Stadium

Visit these regions of Ventura County Coast

Camarillo
Oxnard
Ventura
Port Hueneme
Channel Islands National Park

Regions

Ventura County Coast

Ventura County Coast is a string of four communities that radiate warmth from welcoming people and California sunshine. The region embodies the casual and active spirit of classic, where the seafood is fresh, the beer is handcrafted and the weather is the kind you dream about. Spend the day exploring miles of beaches, incredible harbors or lush green golf courses. Hop on a boat for a day trip to the Channel Islands National Park, where you can see breathtaking views of the Southern California coastline. With a bustling culture, high end and vintage shopping, a lively culinary spirit and beautiful outdoor experiences, Ventura County Coast calls on every visitor to find their vibe. From hiking and biking to sailing and snorkeling, from shopping and dining to just plain relaxing, Ventura County Coast will fill your days with a lifetime of memories.

Camarillo

Camarillo

An hour north of Los Angeles, Camarillo is nestled at the base of the Conejo foothills surrounded by verdant green fields and cool ocean breezes. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, enjoy Camarillo alfresco. From outdoor shopping and concerts, to delicious dining and fun events, Camarillo has it all. With small town charm and a rich history, it is the place for romantic weddings and corporate venues. Visit the historical sites and museums during the day, and walk along Old Town for dinner and drinks at night. A great getaway for everyone, Camarillo is the ideal place to Come for the Sun, Stay for the Fun.

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Oxnard

Oxnard

Rally your tribe and head for the Central Coast. California cool, panorama-perfect, culturally authentic and vibrant beyond measure. Oxnard is home to miles of pristine white sand beaches, electric nightlife, some of the best taquerias in the state, historic Victorian era architecture, the California Strawberry Festival, and an expansively picturesque harbor that serves as the closest access point to the Channel Islands National Park. Just sixty miles northwest of LAX and in close proximity to Santa Barbara and other major destinations, Oxnard is one of California’s best kept secrets.

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Ventura

Ventura

A place that embodies a casual soul and unexpected allure, Ventura is a vibrant town that checks stress and pretense at the door.  Its artistic culture, enduring history and privileged locale is crazy-inviting, very much alive, and refreshingly human.

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Port Hueneme

Port Hueneme

Just sixty miles northwest of Los Angeles, in the heart of the Central Coast, you’ll find Port Hueneme, the friendly city by the sea. Port Hueneme is the place for travelers looking to dig their toes in the sand, take a long walk, drop a fishing line off the pier or just kick back and relax. With walking and biking trails winding throughout the city and a perfect climate almost year round, you can revive your soul in Hueneme.

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Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park is an American national park that consists of five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of the U.S. state of California, in the Pacific Ocean.

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