LAS VEGAS, NV  Beer Park in this city’s French Quarter was hopping Monday night as hundreds of AHR Expo attendees quaffed brews and tucked into plates of seafood, tacos, and more during Armstrong Fluid Technology’s expo party.

The rooftop restaurant and tavern, which offers more than 60 beers, was an outdoor, pandemic-safer setting for the Armstrong bash; the annual expo made a comeback this year with close to 1,500 exhibitors after a pause in 2021 because of COVID-19.

Beer Park offers a panoramic view of busy South Las Vegas Boulevard and an up-close look at the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower, which is next door.

Armstrong, based in Toronto, had introduced a new line of pumps, ranging in horsepower from 15 hp to 50 hp, during an earlier press conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center, plus announced that it had surpassed its goal of saving customers 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. By the time the company’s social event rolled around, partygoers were likely done talking business.

Tyler Lee, a manufacturers representative with Chesapeake Systems, based in Maryland, said the highlight of the expo for him, so far, was catching up with old friends. Lee said he’s been to about 25 AHR expos.

“The best thing about this industry is the amazing relationships you build from just daily, transactional things,” said Lee. “It’s an old-school relationship-type business, which is wonderful.”

Lee said that, in the increasingly remote work world of videoconferencing and emails, the expo is in some cases his only chance for face-to-face contact with those in his business circle. After the cancellation of last year’s show, he said, it was good to again get together in person.

“We didn’t want (the pandemic) to dictate maintaining relationships with our friends,” Lee said.