With a record attendance of more than 23,000 individuals, Lightfair 2009 did not disappoint. A full lineup of seminars and workshops, along with a packed exhibit floor featuring 475 manufacturers, kept this 20th anniversary edition of the annual lighting trade show abuzz with new products and innovations.

Environmentalism was the focus of the first keynote speech on May 3, delivered by actor/green advocate Ed Begley Jr. The following day, artist James Turrell spoke about light as art and about how far lighting has come as an industry and profession since he started working in the field during the late 1960s.

With the event's theme of anniversary in mind, two highlights included special master classes—a 20-year historical look at lighting presented by David DiLaura, and a discussion about the independent lighting designer by elder statesmen Howard Brandston, Ray Grenald, David Mintz, Sonny Sonnenfeld, and Bill Warfel. The collective wisdom and lighting experience represented by this gathering of panelists did not go unnoticed by audience members.

On the product front, LEDs were prevalent throughout. Philips asserted its presence as a new North American conglomerate by exhibiting at a Light+Building–style booth in the main entrance to the exhibit floor, and the Lightfair Innovation Awards lived up to its name by honoring Lightolier/Philips' new Calculite Solid-State Downlights with the Most Innovative Product of the Year. Although the challenges of the current economic crisis remained on everyone's mind, based on attendance and energy one would have been hard pressed to know that we are in a recession. It's reassuring to know that even in these down times the lighting community supports its industry events.