They come in search of the formula to successful investing – such as the big stocks to watch in 2011, building a blue-chip share portfolio or understanding the rudiments of Gann theory or Fibonacci. And they’re even willing to give up their weekend to do it.

It’s expo season, and this Friday the Trading & Investing Seminars & Expo kicks off at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour, with thousands of investors and traders set to walk through the door. It takes a year to organise, and plays out in two days for each expo across three cities – Sydney, Melbourne & Perth – in August, October and March next year respectively. Novice and seasoned investors alike come to meet and greet their favourite authors or investing gurus, try out software and trading platforms, and attend a range of free and fee-based seminars concurrently held across the Exhibition Centre.

Since the Expo started back in 2001, CEO Jason Humphris has seen a huge increase in attendee numbers – last year there was a 54% year on year increase in Sydney visitors to 6,729. There has also been a change in the makeup of attendees, with the number of female attendees up from 3% a few years ago to more than 24% last year. The far majority, however, are men over 45 earning more than $100,000.

While most of us would struggle to put on an event a tenth of the size, the intense activity leading up to the Expo is just part and parcel of the business of exhibitions. Like most exhibition organisers the staff is lean, which means long hours – particularly leading up to the big day. The last days involve finalising all the logistics, staffing, stand construction and operational details so it can certainly be an intense time.

Humphris highlights the fact that unlike many other seminars and investment days, the company behind the Trading & Investing Seminars & Expo is independent and impartial. “Event Management International is a professional exhibition organiser and our Directors have been responsible for running some of the largest and most successful events ever held in Australia over the last 40 years,” says Humphris.

All the ingredients are in place for active investor participation this year. Following on from yet another tumultuous year on the sharemarket, and the ongoing China and commodities boom to boot, many investors are looking for answers to what the future holds. Glenyse Ford, Group Show Director points out that it is a “timely opportunity in these challenging conditions to gain an informed perspective on the numerous local and global issues impacting the markets.”

The expo includes not only a major exhibition where you can talk to a range of experts at dozens of stalls, but also more than 30 seminars and workshops each day. Top seminar topics this year include how to survive the stock market – an essential guide for beginners to avoid mistakes, how to effectively manage your exposure in bull & bear markets, forex trading tactics: how successfully pick tops and bottoms, how to pick A1 stocks and insights of a successful full time CFD trader.

60 exhibitors will be together under one roof, including the Australian Investors Association, the leading share trading, CFD and forex brokers, software providers and even more esoteric investing options such as via The Rare Coin Company and Art Equity.

So early on Friday morning, when professional traders, authors, investing gurus, mums & dads, retirees and the up-and-coming traders of the future begin tumbling through the doors for the 10am start (or 8.00am for seminars), it’s day one for the Trading & Investing Seminars & Expo team.

FREE TICKET OFFER: If you’d like to go along, TheBull has negotiated a free ticket offer for all TheBull subscribers, saving you $18, and also grants you entrance to the Home Buyers’ Expo next door, saving you a further $18. Simply click on this link and follow the instructions, you’ll need to enter “thebull” in the promo code box.