November 8-11, 2023 | Gatlinburg Convention Center

December 2, 2019


Press contact – Meghan Vitti
203.580.1815 |



KENNESAW, GA (December 2, 2019) – Smoky Mountain Gift Show, Tennessee’s largest selection of top-name souvenirs, resort gift lines, and innovative tourism products, wrapped up its 2019 edition three weeks ago bringing more than 3,500 industry professionals together in Gatlinburg for optimum buying convenience. Preliminary feedback from buyers and exhibitors following the event indicates expanded buying activity across the show.

Commented Andrew Hussman, elope, “We’ve had a great experience here. This our first time to this show in about 10 years and we’re glad to be back! The opportunities are just amazing, the clientele that comes through, the amount of different areas where you can showcase your products is amazing, the staff getting set up are certainly responsive it’s just been a great experience all around and we can’t wait to be back.” 

This year’s event featured more than 300 companies, including more than 50 new to the show. The assortment of both unique and well-known brands showcased gifts, souvenirs and exclusive products based on industry feedback – to top buyers from theme parks, museums, zoos, aquariums, premier tourist destinations, and national, state and local parks. Many of these companies displayed their newest launches in the Product Preview Area – a destination on the show floor, and two were recognized for “Best New Product” and “Best Made in America”. 

“The #1 reason buyers come to Smoky Mountain Gift Show is to see what is NEW! The Product Preview Area is always a busy destination on the show floor and a perfect place to showcase the industry’s newest designs,” commented Christina Bell, Show Director. “We are thrilled to announce that P. Graham Dunn captured the show’s “Best New Product” for its American-made inspirational art, home décor and gifts. And Starz Puzzle, received the “Best Made in America” product for their unique design and highly diverse wooden puzzles, which were a favorite among retailers at the show.”

NEW this year, Clarion Events celebrated the recipients of the “Spotlight Awards” that recognize the souvenir/resort industry’s companies, organizations and individuals who truly stand out in categories of leadership, career achievements, and best practices. The winners were nominated and selected by their industry peers and chosen by the Clarion Events jury panel in the following categories: 
  • The PARTNER SPOTLIGHT AWARD recognizes an individual or company that truly embodies the spirit of partnership as demonstrated through efforts ranging from community involvement to personnel enrichment. Congratulations to our buyer recipient Tommy BrownSt. Louis Zoo, St. Louis, Missouri and our exhibitor recipient American Gift Corporation.
  • The FAMILY SPOTLIGHT AWARD recognizes a family-owned business that exemplifies solid values, business qualities and best practices. The panel recognized The Clark Family for the popular gift/souvenir shops they own throughout Port Aransas, TX, including, Robin & Robert ClarkPadre IslanderWendy & Bruce ClarkIslander, and Cassandra Clarkthe Connoisseur as well as the exhibitor recipients, Mike and Rene GalerPrairie Mountain.
  • The FRIEND SPOTLIGHT AWARD recognizes an individual who embodies the true spirit of friendship. Congratulations to Donna SteaklyFossil Rim Wildlife Center, Dallas/Ft Worth, and Dan ShoemakerKalan LP.
“We are thrilled to celebrate and recognize everyone’s accomplishments at this year’s event” explains Lisa Glosson, Vice President, Gift & Souvenir Portfolio, Clarion Events. “You could truly feel the love and livelihood of the industry at the Spotlight Awards Reception and that continued throughout the whole event.”

To increase the opportunity for new connections among the industry, the MATCH! program was again held at the Smoky Mountain Gift Show. Now in its second year, MATCH! continues to receive favorable feedback as a time-saving way to discover new business partnerships. The MATCH! program generated 235 highly curated meetings for suppliers and retailers. As part of the program format, MATCH! provides participants with pre-scheduled, guaranteed meeting opportunities with new customers, based on mutual categorical interests – further allowing both parties the chance to meet with customers that they may not have met on their own time at the show. 

“This is my first year at Gatlinburg and I’m very excited to be here. This is my first day, and I’ve already had a number of MATCH! appointments and have had a great deal of success with them. It has brought some opportunities that I wouldn’t have considered otherwise so I’m very happy with the range of things that I see and I really feel that this is going to be a good basis for my first half of my year next year. I definitely plan to include MATCH! in my itinerary for next year,” said Stephanie Von Drasek, City Museum.

In conjunction with the exhibit hall and MATCH! appointment setting programs, the Smoky Mountain Gift Show hosted a number of special events and amenities for buyers. On Wednesday and Thursday, the show partnered with the Zoo & Aquarium Buyers Group (ZAG) to host Made in America Buying Tours, led by Terri Scheunemann, Como Zoo and Tommy Brown, St. Louis Zoo. Scheunemann and Brown led participating retailers on show floor tours visiting exhibitors displaying Made in America products. In addition, the event offered a new tour this year, Zootique Buying Tour, also in partnership with Zoo & Aquarium Buyers Group (ZAG), led by Tommy Brown, St. Louis Zoo. Buyers visited vendors on the show floor and learned tips and strategies on how to merchandise and sell animal themed products in their stores.  Buyers were also invited to participate in daily happy hours, popcorn socials and the Mountain Money Madness Giveaway.

Concluded Bell, “There is nothing we enjoy more that working closely with our gift and souvenir family to deliver new experiences and help forge new connections in the industry. We are so excited to begin planning for 2020 and hope to see everyone back in Gatlinburg next year!”

The Smoky Mountain Gift Show will return November 4-7, 2020 to the Gatlinburg Convention Center. For exhibitor information, contact Show Director Christina Bell at 678.370.0335 | or Sales Manager Joseph Lee at 678.831.4576 | For buyer information or to register, attendees can call 800.318.2238 or visit
Founded in 1995, Urban Expositions, now operating as Clarion Events, produces and manages a portfolio of 36 trade and consumer events, serving a range of industry sectors including Gift, Souvenir, Apparel, Art, Auto, Fire and Rescue, Foodservice, Specialty Retail, Gaming, Power & Energy, and Enthusiast Lifestyle, with offices in Kennesaw, GA, Trumbull, CT, Portland, OR, and Boca Raton, FL.