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Nearly 7,000 People Attend the Historic NFDA/CANA Convention

For Immediate Release: November 7, 2011

Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) 2011 International Convention & Expo, held October 23-26 in Chicago, Ill., drew 6,949 total attendees – the largest total attendance in 10 years – and 417 exhibiting companies. The convention was held in conjunction with the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), making this the first time two major national funeral service associations came together to co-host a convention.

"NFDA has long been known for hosting the leading and largest funeral service International Convention and Expo in the world, designed to help attendees achieve more and lead the profession to an even brighter future," said NFDA CEO Christine Pepper, CAE. "We appreciate the many workshop presenters who took time to share their expertise on the topics that matter most to our members. We're thankful for our vendor partners who helped attendees discover the products and services they can use to increase profitability, secure their future and better serve the evolving needs of families. Most of all, we're grateful to all the funeral professionals who attended the Convention. This event is strengthened by their presence and their eagerness to learn from and share ideas with their colleagues from around the world."

The breakdown for the 2011 NFDA/CANA Convention attendance is:

  • Preregistered attendees: 3,763
    • The largest number of preregistered attendees in the last 10 years.
  • Non-licensees/spouses/guests: 660
    • A 63.8 percent increase from 2008.
  • International funeral service professionals: 487 registrants; 58 countries/territories
    • A 55.1 percent increase in international registrants from 2010.
  • Mortuary science students/spouses: 237
    • A 152.1 percent increase from 2008.
  • Expo-only registrants: 1,749
    • An 82.8 percent increase from 2010.
  • Total attendee registration: 4,608
    • The largest number of attendees in the last 10 years.
    • The second largest number of attendees in the last 20 years (the 1997 convention in Las Vegas had 4,921 attendees).
  • Exhibitor representatives: 2,341 exhibitor representatives; 417 companies
    • A 14.8 percent increase in exhibitor representatives from 2010.
    • A 20.5 percent increase in companies from 2010.
  • Total Attendance: 6,949
    • The largest total attendance in the last 10 years.
    • The second largest total attendance in the last 20 years. The largest total attendance was the 1997 Convention in Las Vegas with 7,273 attendees.

"This has been a landmark Convention for funeral service," said Pepper. "The partnership between NFDA and CANA to co-host this joint Convention worked better than anyone could have imagined. We look forward to our continued work together, such as the joint CANA & NFDA Cremation Symposium in February 2012, to bring funeral directors and cremationists together to build relationships, learn from one another and solve common challenges."

Anticipation for next year's NFDA International Convention & Expo is already building. More than 225 exhibiting companies took advantage of the opportunity to secure booth space for the 2012 Convention, which will take place October 7-10 in Charlotte, N.C. Suppliers purchased more than 80 percent of the available space – or 77,200 sq. ft. – for next year's gathering in a city that is the second largest banking center in the United States; home to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the NASCAR Hall of Fame; and offers incredible dining, shopping and cultural opportunities to match any taste.

More information about the 2012 NFDA International Convention & Expo in Charlotte, including information for supplier representatives interested in exhibiting at the world's largest annual funeral service exposition and individuals wishing to speak or present workshops, can be found on the NFDA website,

NFDA is the world's leading and largest funeral service association, serving 18,500 individual members who represent nearly 10,000 funeral homes in the United States and 43 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

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Contact: Jessica Koth, 262-814-1536,