Vision Expo [Dawn Myrtle]
I always know when an Expo is getting close because of the massive piles of post cards and pamphlets I start getting in the mail, enticing me to stop at booth #RS453 for my FREE LIMITED EDITION KEY RING, or something similar. To be honest, most of the cards go directly into the, ahem, circular file, but they do serve the purpose of reminding me that I should check my continuing ed. To see how many credits I need and when, and if I’m inclined to make the trip this year, secure my free exhibits pass from one of my vendors.
If you’ve never been to an expo on either coast, I strongly urge you to give it a try, and if you can, go to East and West—in my experience, they’re two very different shows. The NY vibe is like one would expect NY to be—fast and big and crowded and exciting, at least the first time. For me, it’s just a short train ride away, too, so it’s really easy to get to, and I’ve gone a number of times over the years. I’ve found the Las Vegas show to be smaller, more intimate, a little more easy- going, and slower paced than East. It’s also always much warmer in Vegas in September than NY is in March, and usually, quite a bit more sunny. I happen to be in love with Las Vegas, and am not above using Expo West as an excuse to get out there for a week. (One year, I even got married while I was there, a decision that was made on the spot after a long day of wandering the convention center, checking out the vendors. True story, which I tell over and over again, and for that, I really deserve Expo West to fly my husband and I out and put us up for our anniversary every year, right?)
If you do make it, be prepared to carry shopping bag that gains a lot of weight throughout the day. The sheer amount of solicita—I mean, information-- handed out is overwhelming, and toting it around is a better workout than TRX. Years ago, you used to be able to get some really cool freebies, too (sunglasses, stuffed animals, screwdrivers, etc.) but I’ve felt in recent years that it’s much harder to find vendors giving away much more than pens. (I’m attaching a picture of my all-time favorite Vison Expo East score, which I got in March of 2002—these weren’t free, but the Vision Council was selling them for, I believe, 10 dollars each and all proceeds went to the VCA Humanitarian Relief Fund.)
All in all, if you do choose to check out an Expo, wear comfortable shoes, use a map so you don’t miss anything cool, and have fun! If you’re at East this year, maybe I’ll see you on the 21st in the exhibit hall!