Convention Secrets REVEALED

Monday March 17 2008

Q: Can you open the exhibits earlier and/or stay open later?

A: We want all of our attendees to have maximum shopping time. There are a few considerations, however. First, we have to accommodate our vendors who may need an hour or more to ready their booths for you. The earlier the hall opens, the earlier they have to be there. As it is, many arrive betweeen 7 and 7:30 am to be open for business by 9. Most of them were setting up for several hours on Thursday after driving who-knows-how-long to get to Oklahoma City, so 9am seems to be the earliest we can ask them to be ready.

As to staying later, remember, the wonderful, informative folks staffing the booths have been there since the early morning, with maybe one or two breaks that day. When the hall closes at 6:30 pm on Friday, they spend another hour closing up shop, then eat and rest and come back at the same early hour on Saturday to do it all again. On Saturday evening, it takes up to 4 hours for some of the vendors to pack up and load out their booths, and then they're back out on the road again.

All this to say that, while we appreciate our attendees wishing for more shopping time, we have to be aware of the needs of our vendors and create an event that they look forward to coming to year after year. They really do give you all the time they have for two very long days. If you think of it, why don't you just give 'em a big ol' hug when you see 'em this year?

Q: Why aren't the vendors in the same place every year?

A: At the close of the conference every year, all of the vendors have the opportunity to register for the next year. The booths are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and the vendors themselves choose, and sometimes opt to change, their locations. While we have many of the same outstanding vendors year after year, there are also those change from year to year, so the layout never looks the same twice.

And now, here's my favorite question. It comes up many times every year, and it cracks me up every time:

Q: Why do the bathrooms have to be so far away?

A: Well, that would be because they were built that way. And, since your Convention Committee is made up of homeschooling parents, we simply don't have time to remodel the Cox Center. Sad but true. We could ask if they'd mind if we brought in a row of Port-a-Johns, I suppose.

Today's great link is to the New York Times article about the National Christian Homeschool Basketball Championships. Go read it! You'll be glad you did.