Why a virtual Expo?
They say human beings are “social animals,” and that deprived of human contact, we wither away. But what are we to do in an age when social distancing can be a matter of life and death?
Fortunately, we humans are also highly creative and resourceful, so there are many answers to that question: We hold FaceTime or Zoom conversations, virtual events, and small-scale, outdoor gatherings as best we can.
If I were to ask you how much these substitutes feel like the real thing, what would you say? Would your answer be, “It’s the best we can do under the circumstances,” “It’s almost as good as it used to be,” or “Actually, in some ways it’s better than it used to be”?
I know I’ve been in situations these last few months where I came away with each of these feelings. Certainly, attending a wedding, anniversary and other family celebrations via a computer screen, without all the hugs and kisses, personal conversations and shared experiences, can be painful. It’s just not the same.
Attending a networking event or business conference can have some of the same downsides, but also saves one the time, expense and aggravation of air travel, staying in hotels and living out of a suitcase. There’s more of a balance there.
So, what’s an example of something that’s actually better virtually? I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m going to say that 50+Expos might be such a situation.
The Beacon has hosted live Expos for our readers and their families for more than 20 years. For me, it almost feels like a family gathering now. There are so many familiar faces I get to see only once a year, and so many lovely conversations I get to have with our readers as well as our exhibitors and wonderful speakers.
So, I certainly wouldn’t have asked for this year to be one where we couldn’t in good conscience hold an in-person expo event.
But the more we at the Beacon thought about it, the more we realized there could really be some huge benefits to having an Expo virtually.
First, there’s the time issue: An in-person Expo event takes place over a day; two at most. If you’re not available at that time, or aren’t feeling your best, you miss it.
Our Virtual Expo lets you visit every class, speaker, performer and exhibitor whenever you want for a full three months! (And we are holding weekly door prizes for each week’s visitors, so you’re not missing out on that nice aspect of live Expos, either. Come back and enter as many weeks as you like.)
Then, there’s the space issue. No matter how big the convention center (or tent), we’re going to have some trouble fitting in all the entertainment, speakers and classes we’d like to offer, while still leaving room for an exhibit hall of any significant size.
With a web-based Expo, there’s nothing stopping us from providing all the interesting subjects and types of entertainment you could possibly want to enjoy.
And if you’ve been accustomed to attending many different 50+Expos around the area, you’ll be glad to know we are partnering with both the Baltimore County Department of Aging and the Howard County Office on Aging & Independence, each of which have held their own popular 50+Expos for decades. Attend the 2020 Virtual 50+Expo, and you’ll find the best of all these events rolled into one.
To enjoy our Expo, you need only an internet connection and a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Come and go as you please, wearing whatever you like!
Just get online and go to beacon50expo.com. There you’ll find a very simple, user-friendly web page with four main choices: Classes, Speakers, Entertainers and Exhibitors.
Click on any one of them and you’ll see a few categories to choose among to help you decide which video to view first. Altogether, there will be literally dozens of programs available to you to start and stop any time of day or night for a full three months.
Okay, you might say, I can surf the internet for three centuries and not see everything there is to offer. What’s the point of that?
The difference is, we have pulled together the information and material you have told us you most want to see. The hundreds of readers who answered our survey back in July gave us direction that we have done our best to follow.
For examples of who our speakers and entertainers are and what classes and exhibitors will be available, see the eight-page pull-out section in the center of this issue.
And please also take note of our many sponsors and exhibitors, particularly our Gold Sponsor Maplewood Park Place, for making this wonderful program possible.
Our hope is that we have done a good enough job to make it worth your while to come once, twice, maybe even many times to beacon50expo.com in the coming weeks and months.
And don’t forget to register each time you visit, as we are having a weekly door prize drawing for that week’s visitors. You could win $100 or more.
Please encourage your friends and family to visit beacon50expo.com. We’re sure you’ll find many things to talk about with them after you’ve “been to” our Expo!