I once had a contributor on DesignCon Community who wrote about how he dislikes the gimmicks and that's why he likes DesignCon. Solid, practical technical content without the gimmicks. IEEE-sponsored conferences are generally free of gimmicks. In fact, the same people would come if there were no exhibits at all. They come for the conference.
@Sheepdoll: The show staff really knew their stuff.
They were great, weren't they. My one big regret is that I didn't get pictures of each Gadget Smackdown participant presenting -- your Victorian dress was incredible -- I so wish I could share those talks with everyone -- I'll remember to take pictures next year.