Exhibitor Services

The “Wow” Factor Awaits

Events at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center are anything but conventional. Our team has extensive experience to help support the execution of exhibits within our versatile space. From construction to clean up, we’ll ensure a seamless process so you can focus on connecting with your attendees to leave a lasting impression. 

Learn more below.

Hall A

  • Theater: 8,258
  • Classroom: 5,750
  • Banquet: 4,416

Hall B

  • Theater: 811,982
  • Classroom: 6,860
  • Banquet: 7,120

Hall C

  • Theater: 7,466
  • Classroom: 3,800
  • Banquet: 4,176

Hall D

  • Theater: 7,000
  • Classroom: 4,340
  • Banquet: 3,720

Hall E

  • Theater: 6,000
  • Classroom: 2,800
  • Banquet: 2,040

The maximum weight capacity in all exhibit halls is 350 lbs. per square foot.

Transportation Services (TS) manages the operation of the loading dock and schedules officers at the entrances based on the move-in, event day, and move-out requirements submitted by the Event Manager. TS assigns dock usage when two or more events simultaneously occupy the same loading dock level.

In the event the GSC allows traffic to impede the normal traffic flow on the streets surrounding the Convention Center, TS may deploy resources, at the contractor’s expense, to mitigate the traffic impact.

Show Management is responsible for ensuring the presence of a designated dockmaster, located at the exhibit halls dock entrances. Responsibilities include authorized access for trucks and/or Personal Occupancy Vehicles (POV) traffic.

Trucks must enter the loading docks from M Street, entering eastbound.

  • Entrance to Halls A/B/C docks are located at 7th & M Street. Traffic may be temporarily directed to wait on M Street southside curb lane until entrance approved.  
  • Entrance to Halls D/E docks are located at 9th & M Street. Traffic for Halls D or E must wait on northbound 9th Street until entering is approved.
  • Exits must be westbound M Street to 9th Street (right turns from all docks).
  • Standard loading dock access hours are 6:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m., daily. Hours may be adjusted based on the GSC’s receiving schedule and will confirm with Event Management.
  • GSC is required to MPD to facilitate heavy traffic flow on M Street, TS will determine this requirement. 
  • All trucks must enter the docks from the west at 9th and M Streets.
  • There is limited space for truck staging on the loading dock ramps. The GSC must constantly monitor so trucks staged for Hall ABC bays do not extend beyond the entrance to the Convention Center staff parking area; trucks staged for Hall DE bays, must not extend beyond the crossover ramp near the house docks, also referred to as ‘Level 56 Parking’.
  • Event Manager must be notified of all freight delivery schedules and will coordinate with TS.
  • Advise the Event Manager in the planning phase of POV activity.
  • Exhibitors are permitted to deliver and unload booth materials to the exhibit floor, the GSC will designate the loading dock bay and they are responsible for the POV access control.
  • TS will monitor the POV bays with the GSC to assure vehicles are removed expeditiously.
  • No POVs are allowed on exhibit floor.
  • Must manage the flow of vehicles entering and exiting the loading docks.
  • In the absence of a dockmaster, the Convention Center will assign this post and bill to Show Management.

Show Management parking passes are available on Level 56. Allocations will be determined by Event Management.

The Convention Center does not accept event-related freight or materials. All exhibitor materials, booths and other drayage must be consigned to the GSC once the license period has begun.

  • 9th St and Mt. Vernon Place is the designated entrance for exhibitors who wish to hand-carry materials to their booth. Exhibitors may use this entrance to transport materials they can carry in one (1) trip to their booths.
  • Acceptable hand-carry materials include boxes, suitcases or fiberboard shipping cartons, portable displays on wheels and small luggage racks.
  • HVAC will operate at 100% during event hours
  • The Convention Center maintains a comfortable temperature in the exhibit halls one hour prior to the event opening, throughout the event hours for the duration of the show.
  • Show Management will be assessed a utility charge for additional HVAC requirements during move-in and move-out.

Event Management will coordinate with GSC on the following:

  • One freight door per exhibit hall for movement of freight and personnel to regulate temperatures
  • High speed doors must remain in use at all times
  • Disabling or tampering with controls/plastic air curtains is prohibited   
  • Escalators are activated during events hours.
  • Escalators are activated based on the Public Safety Crowd Management program and determined solely by Events DC.
  • Escalators are not activated based on sponsorship logos or any other factors.
  • Lighting will operate at 100% during event hours only.
  • Fifty percent (50%) lighting will be maintained during move-in/move-out periods, rehearsals, and similar pre/post event activities. Show Management will be assessed a utility charge for additional lighting during move-in/move-out.
  • One hour prior to daily event opening, lighting will be set at 100% in each hall.
  • Lighting is operated at ten percent (10%), at the Convention Center’s discretion, during evening hours when events have concluded.
  • If multiple functions occur in an exhibit hall other than exhibits, (i.e. registration, poster sessions), additional overhead lighting can be arranged. Special lighting arrangements can be arranged for photo sessions or press coverage, and pre-approved and arranged through The Convention Center.
  • Lighting requests, patterns, and customization requiring the modification of the building Lutron system, requests must be completed a minimum of 12 hours prior to the first move-in day. Fees will be assessed to create special lighting patterns.

Volume levels in booths and events may not infringe on other Convention Center events. Decibel levels must not exceed 55 dB’s, unless specifically approved by the Convention Center.

Each permanent show office provides one complimentary paging microphone. Additional fees are assessed if paging microphones are required in other Center locations.

  • Diagrams and floorplans are required to be signed and approved by the Event Manager and the District of Columbia Fire Department (DCFD) Fire Prevention Bureau, prior to selling exhibit space.
  • All floorplans and diagrams are required to be sent to the Event Manager prior to submission to DCFD.
  • Upon Convention Center floorplans and diagrams approval, Show Management or GSC must submit final drawings to DCFD.    
  • Final approval is granted after an on-site inspection by the District of Columbia Fire Marshal.
  • There is a standard fee for floorplan approval by the Fire Marshal. Floorplans should be submitted a minimum of 31 days out from move-in date, to the Fire Marshal in an effort to avoid an additional expedited fee. Floorplans received less than 30 days from the first day of move-in will be reviewed at an expedited fee. Floorplans are not reviewed without full payment in advance. Additional fees will be assessed for late submission. Floor plans and payment for Fire Marshal review are to be submitted via the link, https://dcwebforms.dc.gov/fems/permit1 .
  • Floor plan revisions after approval granted must be resubmitted as indicated above and required 30 days prior to the first day of move-in. 

The Convention Center’s floor plan safety guidelines follow the following National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Codes:

  • Entrances and exits must maintain a minimum of 15 feet of clean and clear access on all sides of every entry way.
  • Aisles must be a minimum of 10 feet wide.
  • A maximum of 250 feet of aisle travel length is required from any location to the nearest exit.
  • All exits, fire hose connections, extinguishers, cabinets, standpipes, alarm call stations, strobe lights and first aid stations must be visible and accessible at all times.
  • A perimeter of six feet must be maintained around all columns in exhibit halls.
  • Appropriate protection (Visqueen, polyurethane sheeting, etc.) must be placed on the floor and floor ports before sand, dirt, fountains, ponds, hot tubs or other water features are installed. Installations must be performed and monitored by Convention Center personnel. Additional measures of protection may be required.  

Floor plans must be drawn to scale (1/4”) and indicate the following:

  • Name and date of the event
  • Name of the leased space (i.e., Hall A, Hall B)
  • All leased spaced being set must be shown on the diagrams, regardless if only a portion of the space is being set by the client
  • GSC including name, phone number and email address
  • Date of initial drawings and/or revisions
  • All exits
  • All aisle and temporary exit dimensions
  • Boneyards and proposed on-site crate storage areas
  • Service desk locations
  • Occupancy/expected attendance
  • Minimum six feet clearance on all sides of each column
  • All proposed perimeter draping or wall treatments
  • Multi-story booths will be permitted based on specific requirements (please see specifics below)
  • Exhibitor Service Center: The locations of exhibitor services, such as plumbing/electrical, or technology services, must be allocated a minimum of two locations in the leased space. The Convention Center may, at its discretion, allow only one location to exist depending on the client’s specific needs.
  • Defining retail food cart and equipment locations

Ten hard-copy sets of plans must be submitted to the Event Manager.

Exhibit booths that are multi-story, covered assembly areas (i.e., conference areas or theatres), or storage closets, are permitted in the exhibit halls, provided the following regulations are met:

  • Enclosed areas must be protected by audible smoke detectors.
  • Enclosed areas must contain a porous roof or cover, in order for The Convention Center’s sprinkler system to activate, in case of an emergency.
  • Enclosed areas must display a charged fire extinguisher, minimum rating of 3A40BC. A fire prevention attendant must be on duty at all times that the exhibit hall is closed, from move-in to move-out.
  • Maximum occupancy of the second floor, load-bearing areas:
  1. One person per 15 sq. ft. of floor space, not to exceed 25 persons.
  2. Maximum occupancy numbers must be visibly posted.
  • Two means of egress are required from each load bearing area, covered or uncovered assembly, in excess of 400 sq. ft., unless otherwise approved by The Convention Center.
  • Copies of exhibit plans must be submitted to The Convention Center at least 90 days prior to installation, certified and sealed by a licensed structural engineer or licensed architect. Plans will be reviewed and by The Convention Center and subsequently the DCFD Fire Prevention Division for approval. If the compliance regulations are not met, The Convention Center has the authority to end the work and prohibit occupancy. 

Liquid or gas-fueled vehicles, equipment, boats or other motorcycles must adhere to the following regulations when displayed or stored inside The Convention Center:

  • Batteries must be disconnected.
  • Maximum fuel allowed: not to exceed one-quarter tank or five gallons (19L), whichever is less.
  • Fuel tanks and fill openings must be closed and sealed to prevent tampering (duct tape is a viable option).
  • Vehicles on display may not be fueled or defueled in The Convention Center.
  • Show Management is responsible for obtaining a Vehicles on Display permit from DCFD and accountable for the enforcement action of this regulation. Failure to comply with any of the above requirements is the sole responsibility of Show Management.

Exhibitor lists should be sent to the Event Manager when the exhibit booth sales have begun. The exhibitor list should include:

  • Contact information must include: company name, contact, phone, email, and exhibit booth number.
  • Exhibitor list will be distributed to the Service Partners who provide electrical, plumbing, technology, and catering services to the exhibitors.
  • The Convention Center may periodically survey the exhibitors about their experiences at The Convention Center in order improve the quality of our customer service. The list is for internal use only, and never resold or distributed to other entities.
  • Exhibitor kit links should be forwarded to the Event Manager for reference.

Crate Storage and Boneyards are permitted in exhibit hall’s leased space, and on loading docks with advance written approval by the Event Manager and The Convention Center. Crate storage and boneyards must be identified on exhibit hall floor plans submitted for approval. Note: Audio/Visual (AV) equipment may not be stored adjacent to walls or doors.

Designated storage areas must be configured as follows:

  • Not to exceed 20’ W x 20’L x 12’H.
  • A minimum distance of a 20’ wide continuous aisle, is required from the exhibit hall entryway, to the crate storage or boneyard area.
  • A 10 ft. clear aisle (minimum) is required around all the sides of the storage area, not including the side positioned against a wall.
  • Exits, fire emergency and mechanical equipment may not be blocked or partially obstructed at any time.
  • Fire extinguishers must be available at the inception of developing the storage area.
  • As with every, non-cooking storage area, the following requirements must be met with respect to fire extinguishers:
  1. Must contain one fully charged 3A40BC fire extinguisher for every 200 square feet of storage.
  2. In the instance of any storage area that is 20' x 20' crate island requires a minimum of two fire extinguishers.  No single crate storage area may exceed 20’ x 20’.
  3. Must be mounted securely and its location clearly labeled and indicated so it may be used in an emergency.

Additional Crate and Boneyard Storage Guidelines

  • Storage of loose scrap, waste, debris, or packing materials, is only permitted in sealed crates.
  • Storage of flammable or combustible materials, mixtures, liquids, gases, hazardous or medical waste is not permitted in any location in the Convention Center.
  • Storage of carpet rolls is permitted in boneyard approved areas.
  • Gas cylinders (empty or full) must be stored in approved temporary cages. The location must be confirmed, in advance, by the Convention Center’s Transportation Services Department.
  • The official GSC is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness and safety of the crate and boneyard storage areas.
  • Crates and AV equipment must move throughout the facility, via back of house service doors, unless otherwise approved. No large AV or “gang” boxes may enter through the front decorative wooden doors.
  • Crate storage locations are permitted in exhibit halls A/B/C/D/E, based on availability, and at the discretion of the Convention Center.
  • Storage is not permitted in bays which contain trash compactors, open-top trash containers or other building equipment.
  • Storage is prohibited exhibit halls A/B/C, bays 4, 5 and 6, reserved for Ballroom access
  • Dimensions must be contained within the footprint of the bay, not to exceed 8' H from loading dock platform.
  • Halls D and E dock bays may not extend beyond the overhang of the hard ceiling. 
  • For every 200 sq. ft. of storage, one fully charged 3A30BC fire extinguisher must be visible and accessible.  This is in addition to the one ABC fire extinguisher, mounted for every two bays throughout the facility. 
  • Access to fire exits and fire extinguishers must never be blocked.
  • Storage must not block access for emergency or trash removal vehicles, or Center equipment.
  • Crates may not be stored in bays containing load leveling systems, or trash/recycling receptacles.
  • Propane powered equipment must be stored on loading docks and other approved areas by the Convention Center Public Safety Division.
  • Fiber cases, cartons, and boneyard storage are permitted, if stored within the painted yellow lines on the floor and walls. They must comply with the Fire Extinguisher Requirements guidelines indicated in Exhibit Hall Storage section.
  • Storage must not block life safety equipment, doors, mechanical, electrical, ventilation, or vending areas.
  • Crate and boneyard storage is not permitted in the following areas:  against the perimeter walls of the loading dock roadway, or on the exhibit hall drive-in ramps
  • Slurry wall storage against the wall, is permitted with prior approval of The Convention Center’s Transportation Services Department.

Dedicated fire watch attendants are trained to operate fire extinguishers and staffing is required during non-show hours for all crate storage locations inside exhibit halls and loading docks. Event Security officers may serve as fire watch attendants. Attendants must be briefed on these locations:

  • Nearest standpipe or fire hose connection
  • Nearest fire hose cabinet
  • Nearest house telephone station
  • Location of fire extinguishers in the crate and boneyard storage area


Event Security officers, who have obtained the necessary training to react in a fire emergency, may serve as fire watch attendants.  

Aramark Facility Services is the exclusive provider of all cleaning services, including meeting rooms, ballroom, exhibit halls and common space. Services include vacuuming, porter services and mopping.

Our professional, efficient and courteous Housekeeping staff takes great pride in maintaining an immaculate facility inside and out. Certain cleaning services are complimentary, and others can be customized to fit your event's specific needs.

  • Common areas, as defined in the License Agreement, are maintained on a complimentary basis.
    • Customer registration, display, exhibit or ancillary service areas, approved to be placed in common space, will incur a fee for daily trash removal and vacuuming.
  • Meeting Rooms receive one mid-day room refresh. Any additional room refresh requests will be billed at prevailing rates
  • General Session/Meetings in Exhibit Hall and Ballroom
    • Move-In/Move-out – A team of staff will be required during move-in and move out to provide cleaning services. Please contact ARAMARK Facility Services to discuss requirements.
    • On event days one complimentary refresh will be scheduled during the day and one complimentary refresh (including vacuuming) will be scheduled overnight.  Cleaning and vacuuming for production set ups, green rooms and backstage services occur at the end of each day, complimentary. Additional are billed at the prevailing rates.
  • All exhibit halls, meeting rooms and common space utilized as exhibits or tabletop displays will be subject to “Booth Cleaning” fees. Please arrange this service through ARAMARK Facility Services.

ARAMARK Facility Services is the exclusive provider of all cleaning services, including removing trash, vacuuming aisle and booths, porter services and mopping. Exhibitor Appointed Contractors, General Service Contractors and decorators are prohibited from providing cleaning services.

  • The Convention Center provides recycling and trash compactors for general waste removal during move-in, event days, and move-out.
  • Open top requests including coordination, delivery, and pick-up for bulk items and booth disposals are the responsibility of Show Management or the GSC.

There is one complimentary trash haul per event of a single compactor. Additional trash hauls are $500.00 plus tonnage fees.

Show management is required to hire an independent company to provide event security and crowd management services throughout the licensed period including move-in, events days and move out.  The following criteria must be met:

  • Security service providers must be licensed, bonded and insured in the District of Columbia.
    • Individual officers must be licensed.
  • The event security deployment plan must be submitted 60 days prior to the first day of move-in. The plan must include dates, times, assigned posts, and number of supervisors. Upon review of the plan, additional security personnel may be required.  
  • Security personnel must be posted inside exhibit halls, throughout the licensed period.
  • Prompt notification of all incidents is required by The Convention Center’s Public Safety Division.
  • Proper uniforms, identification, and a professional demeanor is required.
  • Security personnel hired must be trained in the schematics and logistics of the facility.
  • Security must be equipped to deploy additional personnel as required.
  • Security personnel must attend scheduled briefings and operational meetings.
  • Security personnel must abide by The Convention Center’s rules of professional conduct.
  • Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer(s) are required to be stationed at active cash handling locations including box offices, registration areas, on-site stores, exhibit halls and kiosks, etc.
  • Uniformed, District of Columbia MPD officers are the primary source for armed security services. These services must be approved in writing by the Center’s Vice President of Public Safety.
  • Upon request, a list of preferred security providers may be obtained from your Sales Manager or Event Manager        

To promote safe and orderly conduct during events, contracted independent security companies must meet the following criteria: 

  • MPD officers are required to be stationed at active cash handling locations including box offices, registration areas, on-site stores and kiosks, etc. The Convention Center’s Public Safety Division will coordinate with Show Management for the hiring and billing of MPD services.
  • Uniformed, MPD officers are the primary source for armed security services. These services must be approved in writing by The Convention Center’s Vice President, Public Safety.

Show Management is required to hire medical services, from an exclusive list of medical providers that will be supplied by Events DC, throughout the license period including move-in, event days and move out. The medical providers, are licensed, bonded and insured in the District of Columbia and are knowledgeable on the processes and policies as listed in the Events DC License Agreement and Event Planning Guide.

  • Permanent First Aid rooms are in Exhibit Hall A and Exhibit Hall D
  • Both rooms are accessible from inside the halls and the loading docks 
  • Each first aid location contains standard equipment; exam table, refrigerator, wheelchair, water cooler, private restroom, and telephone
  • Customers without access to Hall A or Hall D first aid room, should designate a temporary location on the show floor or near the event.

Medical testing is permitted with advance written approval from The Convention Center in conjunction with an event.

  • Medical tests must be performed by licensed practitioners.
  • The use of animal or human organs or body parts must conform to federal and local regulations.
  • All medical waste must be removed by Show Management at the end of the event according to federal and local regulations.