Vendors optimistic as events return to Orange County Convention Center

Center stopped vaccinations to open up to events

It seems life is slowly getting back to normal at Orange County Convention Center.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – About 36% of the state’s total population is now fully protected from COVID-19, and it seems as if life is getting back to normal at the Orange County Convention Center.

Just weeks ago, the county ended vaccine distribution at the site, to make way for the new events.

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This weekend, the Veterinarian Meeting and Expo brought hundreds of people to the area.

Although the Expo is geared toward veterinarians, people News 6 spoke to said it’s still a sign of better days to come.

“It’s so nice,” said Stephanie Montor, adding that it’s been two years since she has been able to see a convention like VMX. “It’s just so nice to see people talk to them. Everybody’s practicing social distancing. ... It’s just nice to be normal again.”

At the event, also called VMX, there were still precautions in place including measures like temperature checks -- to remind people we aren’t out of the woods just yet.

According to officials, the Expo floor with the convention is showing the largest number of exhibits the Convention Center has had all year. People said they largely feel safe to gather and learn again.

“So, the great news about this convention is really to teach veterinarians to improve animal health in a sense that your pet is going to be able to live a lot longer, and, more importantly, (a) better life,” Dana Barble said.

Other vendors at the Convention Center said it was great getting back to work after seven months.

Charles Carson, who runs the shoe shine concession, added, “I love this place. This is part of my life. I’m getting older, but I just love it.”

The Expo will have a start-up pitch Sunday, which is set to run through Wednesday.

About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.