(May 7) Las Vegas will lend its glowing aura to the United Fresh Produce Association in 2008.

The association’s FreshTech and Fresh Marketplace shows will be together for the first time May 4-7, 2008, in Las Vegas.

Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh is looking forward to what the new format can do for the industry.

United Fresh executive vice president of business development Jerry Welcome believes having the shows at the same time and place makes it easier on members and attendees — particularly compared with the two back-to-back shows in Palm Springs and Chicago this year.

Welcome said co-location makes sense for both FreshTech and Fresh Marketplace, but they’ll be kept separate on the show floor to allow attendees to focus on their interests.

The FMI Show and Marketechnics trade shows also will also be at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino at the same time in 2008, Welcome said.

Las Vegas is a tremendous trade show venue, he said. Although trade show hours tend to be somewhat shorter, attendance during a weekday trade show is typically strong.

The exposition floor is scheduled to be open Monday through Wednesday. An educational program, scheduled on a Sunday, includes attendees of both shows.

The educational component of the event is likely to feature at least two tracks — such as marketing and business operations, for example — to account for the varied interests of attendees.

The combined show floor has 77,000 square feet, probably enough for about 270 exhibitors, he said. That is a little higher than current totals for both shows, which together total about 74,000 square feet.