Virtual Expo virtues
I am partial to fall weather. Because I grew up in Texas, where there is no clear change in season this time of year, I have come to love the sudden crisp morning air with the bright blue skies of fall.
But I also have a warm spot for cool autumns because, for more than 20 years, we have hosted annual Expos for our readers at this time. There’s something especially wonderful about meeting some of the Beacon’s biggest fans in person.
In the print business, we feel we know our readers indirectly, sometimes from your letters or phone calls, sometimes from your replies to surveys. But we seldom get to personally interact with you — except at our Expos.
It always gives me a lift to meet new people, see familiar faces, and share mutual admiration: You love us, and we love you!
Naturally, it was a big disappointment last year when COVID-19 kept us from having an in-person event. But our team managed to pull together a rather impressive virtual Expo that, in some ways, offered more than our in-person events ever could.
We had not only a keynote speaker, as usual, but 16 other speakers on a variety of topics. Not only did we have an impressive singing group, as always, but we were able to offer more than a dozen entertaining videos, ranging from classical music to rock to stand-up comedy.
We not only offered exercise demonstrations, as we traditionally have done, but were able to provide 18 classes, including exercise, dance, cooking and more.
More than 9,000 people visited our Virtual 50+Expo site last year — about four times as many people as we host in our usual one-day Expos in person. So, all in all, we consider last year’s Virtual 50+Expo a big success.
Still, back in July, we were very excited to announce we would return to offering in-person Expos this fall, along with a virtual Expo to address the needs of those who would or could not personally show up.
As the summer progressed, however, we realized the delta variant and continued spread of COVID, along with the apparent desirability of getting boosters to protect from breakthrough infections, made it unwise to host in-person events this fall.
So, once again, we find ourselves falling back on the virtues of a virtual event instead.
Thankfully, we aren’t alone in making this decision. Like last year, we are partnering with the Baltimore County Department of Aging and the Howard County Office on Aging & Independence. Both of those county offices also decided against hosting in-person events this year, and have been very supportive of the joint 2021 Virtual 50+Expo we will soon open to the public.
So, mark your calendars: on November 1 our website will go live, and from then through January 31, 2022, you will be able to watch a host of top-notch speakers, classes and entertainers at your leisure, 24/7, as often as you like.
Also, you will have access to useful information from exhibitors in all the usual subject areas you’ve come to expect at past Expos: housing communities and options, home care, healthcare, financial and insurance advice, travel, the arts, home remodeling and more.
Each of our exhibitors and sponsors will have a unique “landing page” where you can learn about their offerings, view a video presentation, and contact them directly via email or through their website.
And you won’t want to miss our keynote speakers: Diane Rehm, the beloved host of the daily Diane Rehm Show on NPR for nearly 40 years, and Dr. Mark Warshawsky, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and more recently Deputy Commissioner for Social Security.
We owe special thanks to our Gold Sponsor AARP, as well as Silver Sponsors CIGNA and Holy Cross Health for helping make this year’s event possible.
Let’s hope 2022 makes crowds safe and enjoyable once again, but in the meantime, please help us make the most of this year’s Virtual 50+Expo.
Please join us at beacon50expo.com as often as you like, starting November 1, and recommend it to your friends as well.
I look forward to “seeing” you there.