While the ongoing economic downturn has trimmed its attendee list in recent years, the International Builders’ Show (IBS) is expecting a comeback in 2012. While the event is still more than two months away, pre-registration is almost 25% higher than it was at this time last year, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the show’s sponsor.

The show will be held from Feb. 8 to 11, 2011 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., and NAHB anticipates more than 50,000 attendees and more than 800 exhibitors. The lineup will include close to 200 education programs and more than 400,000 square feet of product exhibits.

As part of the program, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, will speak during a special session of the NAHB Board of Directors meeting on Feb. 10. Registered IBS attendees will be welcome to join the audience on a first come, first served basis.

The show is also retooling to better serve attendees’ needs. To enhance networking, for example, this year’s event will feature "Centrals," or designated areas for specialties, such as custom building, multifamily, and remodeling. Centrals will feature presentations on issues of importance for the given specialty, and will act as a gathering point for attendees who share a common focus. Each central will also offer tours of exhibitors showing products geared for the group’s specialty.

To register for the 2012 IBS, or to get more information about the program and exhibitors, go to www.buildersshow.com.

Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.