Free pie, complimentary refreshments, live music, a pizza aerobatic competition and the Best Raisin Bread Contest all under one roof? Welcome to Baking Expo 2013. This year’s International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) will feature half a dozen shows within the big show in addition to hundreds of exhibitors and dozens of educational seminars.

The buzz of anticipation is undeniable as the industry prepares for the triennial event. The countdown is on for Baking Expo 2013, (check out the clock on The doors open Oct. 6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and the innovation, excitement and energy will be nonstop until Oct. 9.

Checking out the show’s new features and navigating the show will be as easy as pie with IBIE’s fully loaded mobile app. Sponsored by DuPont Health and Nutrition (Booth No. 5821), the mobile app is available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 10 devices as well as via the web for all other mobile devices.

With a quick tap, attendees will have instant access to a searchable exhibitor list and the ability to schedule appointments with exhibitors. An interactive floor plan with GPS navigation will help users get to their desired destinations quickly and easily, while those looking for something to do after hours can explore local information about Las Vegas, with the option of booking a hotel room right from their phone. The app also includes show features, Innovation Showcase submissions, the seminar schedule and logistical information. And everything can be saved to the app’s “My Event” section.

One of the biggest reasons people attend an industry trade show is because they want to see the latest advancements in their industry. This year, the IBIE committee makes it easier to find out what’s new on the show floor. The Innovation Showcase, a new feature at IBIE this year, will highlight cutting-edge developments in Ingredients, Equipment, Packaging and Safety that have hit the industry in the past three years.

Show exhibitors can participate in the Innovation Showcase by submitting up to three paid entries for consideration. Each entry must meet the requirement stipulating that for inclusion in the Showcase their submission(s) must not have been exhibited at any previous IBIE show. This strict requirement ensures attendees experience the latest in industry advancements.

The Innovation Showcase will be located in a prominent area of the convention center’s lobby, allowing expo-goers to explore at their leisure. Exhibitors with Showcase entries can also be identified by the display placards in their booths. Scannable QR codes on the placards will ­instantly provide additional product information.

Need a respite from all the walking and talking? Head to The Great American Pie Festival, another new feature planned for IBIE 2013. The American Pie Council partnered with IBIE to offer “A Never-Ending Pie Buffet” to show-goers. Taste test a wide range of ready-made pies from bakery manufacturers and enjoy live entertainment, merchandise, complimentary refreshments and free prizes. IBIE organizers anticipate that commercial pie buyers from retail and wholesale operations will find something of interest. The red, white and blue arch will make locating The Great American Pie Festival easy.

Desiring a slice of a different nature? Stop by the PMQ Pizza Village, a town-hall-style pizza pavilion created for IBIE 2013. Designed to build networking and business opportunities between pizza manufacturers and bakers, the PMQ Pizza Village will feature pizza-related exhibitors, competitions, demonstrations and the PMQ Pizza Information Center. Pizza experts will be on-site to offer best practices, recipes, food costs, growth rates and consumer trend information to visitors who are either currently in the frozen or fresh pizza business or who are considering adding it to their offerings. The PMQ Pizza Village will also host both the “Pizzathletes” from the US Pizza Team, who will entertain the crowd with a freestyle pizza acrobatics competition and the American Pizza Championships cooking contest.

As if pie and pizza weren’t enough, 36 finalists from the California Raisin Marketing Board’s 6th Annual “America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest” will take over the show floor as they bake their creations in front of a panel of judges from the artisan and commercial baking ­industries. Twelve winners will take home top honors in a variety of categories.

Visitors to IBIE 2013 will notice that traditional show events have undergone makeovers. Competitors in the Retail Bakers Association’s 13th Annual Pillsbury Bakers’ Plus Creative Decorating Competition will flaunt their talents from an elevated show floor platform designed to give the audience a better view of the action. “BOB” (aka Business of Baking for Beginners), hosted by The RPIA Group, provides newcomers to the baking industry with a full day of face time with industry experts. Lastly, the Tortilla Industry Association (TIA) continues its tradition of co-locating its technical conference, Oct. 5-6, with IBIE.

As IBIE 2013 rolls closer, event organizers will ­announce even more exciting features and events. Look for additional coverage in each issue of Baking & Snack as well as at leading up to show time.

Mari Rydings is a former Baking & Snack managing editor. She recently rejoined Sosland Publishing as managing editor of its IBIE publications.