‘This is definitely our comeback:’ Orange County Convention Center hosts auto show, body building competition this weekend

OCCC one of the only convention centers hosting events, officials say

Orange County Convention Center officials said they’re having their comeback as the site hosts two major events this weekend.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Convention Center officials said they’re having their comeback as the site hosts two major events this weekend.

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Cars and trucks of all shapes and sizes are parked inside the North Concourse at the OCCC. Crews loaded in vehicles and gear on Thursday as they get ready for this weekend’s Central Florida International Auto Show.

Organizers said it’s the only car show happening in the country this year.

Central Florida International Auto Show President Evelyn Cardenas said many people will watch to see how this weekend goes.

“I’ve heard that a lot of people are coming to see how you can put an auto show in the midst of a pandemic,” Cardenas said.

Cardenas said they are taking extra precautions during the show, including requiring temperature checks and wearing face masks. They’re also limiting capacity on the exhibition floor, as well as one direction aisles and one-way entrances and exits.

She said she doesn’t know how many people are attending the auto show, but she said ticket sales are doubled over last year. She adds this is a huge boost to Central Florida’s economy.

“It’s going to be considerable. Just the ticket sales, the entrance, putting people to work and everybody coming in to put on this auto show,” Cardenas said.

In the West Concourse, 3,000 people are expected to attend Olympia Weekend, which is the world’s largest bodybuilding show. The competition is usually held in Las Vegas, but it is in Orlando this year.

Convention center officials said the competition is estimated to have a $7.7 million economic impact.

Clarence McSpadden, a Celsius sponsored athlete, is competing for the first time. He said he’s glad the show found a new home and is excited to be part of the convention center’s comeback.

“The NBA playoffs, they had their show. The Super Bowl, they had their game. Bodybuilding we have to have ours and luckily we’re able to do that here in Orlando,” McSpadden said. “It’s huge for the convention center to have so much life here for Orlando.”

Nadia Vanderhoff with OCCC said Orlando is one of the only convention centers hosting events and this is a sign of good things to come.

“This is definitely our comeback,” Vanderhoff said. “I think we’ve done our due diligence in showing, not only Central Florida but the entire industry that we are safe, we are healthy, we are ready to host shows.”

The convention center has 27 events already rescheduled for next year, including nine events booked through April. Several more events postponed from 2020 have yet to be rescheduled.

About the Author:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!