To open a show that breaks all previous records, IBIE 2016 Chair Michael Cornelis (left) and Vice-Chair Joe Turano cut a loaf of bread instead of the traditional ribbon.

LAS VEGAS — Rich in new developments, the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) innovated for its opening ceremony, too.  IBIE 2016 chair Michael Cornelis and vice-chair Joe Turano cut a loaf of bread Saturday morning instead of snipping the traditional ribbon.

They and the IBIE Committee welcomed the waiting crowd that packed the Las Vegas Convention Center’s concourse to “a world-class show for all bakers and suppliers in every category of baking,” according to Mr. Cornelis, vice-president of American Pan, a Bundy Baking Solution. “It is the largest, most comprehensive event in the grain-based foods industry and most important baking event in the world,” he said.

“For the first time in our history,” Mr. Cornelis added, “we have sold out our show floor, which means more innovations, more new technologies and more solutions for all of you to experience here with us in the next four days.”

Covering 700,000 square feet with exhibits from more than 800 companies worldwide —340 new to the show — the 2016 event is the largest and most diverse ever. Show organizers filled its halls with many new features and events.

Mr. Turano, president of Turano Baking Co., Berwyn, IL, pointed to the Innovation Showcase nearby in the concourse, describing it as “our center for high-tech innovation (that) displays suppliers that offer leading-edge solutions and services to equip your business for the future.”

Part of that future is to expand the industry’s sustainability performance. “Another gold standard in the industry is actually green,” Mr. Turano said. Such efforts are featured by the Best in Baking (B.E.S.T.) program, also displayed in the concourse. This initiative demonstrates baking industry commitment to becoming environmentally sustainable.

“It’s not just the show floor that’s grown,” Mr. Cornelis told attendees. “Our education program has also expanded and now includes more than 90 sessions, covering just about every aspect of the industry for professionals at every skill and experience level.”

Mr. Turano extended a special welcome to international participants, many brought to the show by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyers Program. “The innovation demonstrated by our industry suppliers will perhaps be especially appreciated by the international visitors who travel thousands of miles to get a first glimpse at the newest products, services and technologies in our industry,” he said. Altogether, more than 100 countries are represented at IBIE by attendees and exhibitors.

Opening day was capped by IBIE’s first-ever opening-night party, the All-American Tailgate Party, held in the back of Central Hall at the end of the exhibit day.

The heads of the show’s management committee thanked several individuals and organizations. Mr. Cornelis spoke of the contributions of the educational task force headed by Andrea Henderson, vice-president, Rondo, and Lynn Shurman, owner, Cold Spring Bakery, Cold Spring, Minn., and education director of the Retail Bakers of America (RBA), calling the educational program “the gold standard in the baking world.” He extended thanks to the show’s sponsors, the American Bakers Association, BEMA and RBA.

Mr. Cornelis also acknowledged the efforts of the entire IBIE Committee and staff. “You have done an amazing job,” he said, “and your hard work is appreciated and important to this baking industry that we all love.” Mr. Turano praised Mr. Cornelis’ leadership and commitment to ensuring IBIE’s success, “evident in its growth and recognized significance to the industry,” he noted.

Finally, Mr. Cornelis sent the eager show-goers off into the halls, telling them, “Your world of opportunity awaits!”