The program from the 1962 May Meetings in Chicago
REALTORS® are gathering in Washington this week for our annual ‘midyear’ meeting, now called the REALTOR® Party Convention and Trade Expo. When did NAR start having these meetings and why?
NAR has held annual meetings in the middle of the year throughout its history. Up until the mid-1930s, May and June was actually the time of our main annual gathering. However, in 1935 with the Depression impacting membership, the annual meeting moved to November with new, more affordable regional conventions stepping into the summer schedule. While the regional conventions lasted only until the end of the decade, the annual national convention has remained a fixture in late fall since that time. However, that was not the end of spring meetings. The Association’s Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and other key committees continued to gather for business meetings in the spring and early summer under various names.
Around 1962, the meetings became more of a coordinated event, officially called the May Meetings, with education sessions and a small vendor expo. From then, it was always held in May in Chicago, the headquarters of the National Association.
White House Chief of Staff James A Baker III at the first Mid-Year/Legislative Meeting in 1983.
In 1980, the meeting was moved to late April, and since the ‘May Meetings’ name no longer applied, the name was changed to the Midyear Meetings for the first time. In 1983, the Midyear Meetings switched locations from Chicago to Washington, DC. The name was updated to Mid-Year/Legislative Meetings as the event absorbed the previously separate March Legislative Meetings. That year over 4,000 REALTORS® attended the combined event.
In 2014 the event became the REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo to better reflect the goals, as explained by President Steve Brown in this video. Over 8,000 attendees are expected this year with over 100 vendors in the trade expo.