When I mention my excitement about the new fall line being introduced in the coming months, I guess I can see where people might be confused. No matter the audience, they automatically assume that I'm talking about clothes. And while I'll be the first to admit that I have a fondness for clothes unmatched by many of my friends, and that I do sometimes talk at length about them with my girls, I have plenty of room for other interests, as well. I can't help but grin when I feign indignation and reveal that I am, in fact, not talking about clothes when I speak of my excitement for seeing what's new this fall. I'm talking about equipment.

When I clarify, it's always fun to see the different reactions. Some of my girlfriends kind of laugh it off while steering the conversation back toward clothes. My guy friends, on the other hand, are full of questions and not just a little envious when they discover that I'm attending shows this fall where not only will I be surrounded by new equipment, but I'll get to try it out, as well.

What Milan and Paris are to the fashion world, Louisville and Charlotte (this year) are to the green industry. In these two cities, manufacturers will come together to show us the latest and greatest at the International Lawn, Garden & Power Equipment Exposition (EXPO 2004) in Louisville, Ken., on Sept. 24-26, and the Green Industry Expo (GIE) in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 4-6. And if you've ever experienced either of these shows, you can appreciate my excitement.

Indoors at these events, you get the chance to see the new equipment polished up and on display while touring what seems like endless rows of booths and learning about the new features being offered with new models. Outside, you get to see the equipment in action. And, with some quick instruction, you get to try it out yourself. Whether you want to dig a hole with a backhoe (my personal favorite), load up in a utility vehicle to test your skills on an obstacle course or try one of hundreds of mowers, the choice is yours. And if you don't feel like choosing, just try out everything. It'll take you a while, but it's not impossible. (And if you do, give me a call. I want to hear about it!)

If you simply can't wait to get to Louisville to get your first glimpse of new equipment, turn to page 10 in this issue of Grounds Maintenance where you'll find the “2005 Truck & Van Preview.” Manufacturers of these light-duty trucks are increasing their productivity while boosting efficiency. Go on and kick some tires.

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