Academy 2012 Recap & Some Exciting News!
Another Academy is in the books…
We typically do a recap immediately following the Academy but this year we took a couple of weeks to reflect on how things went and where we want them to go in the future. An event the size and scope of the Academy is a big undertaking, especially when you consider that it is done from a 100% voluntary workforce. The 2011 edition was finished in August and we immediately began forming the 2012 edition. Opening registration that early was tough but it allowed folks the opportunity to make plans earlier. There are some things we are particularly proud of this year and we wanted to take a minute to point those out:
There were many, many other outstanding aspects of the Academy this year but those main points above really show the depth and quality of the event. Our annual feedback survey is validating that for us as well. If you would like to see how things went you can check out the photo album here.
- For the first time anywhere an event was held that promoted a true sense of unity among holiday fanatics. This was not a regional event or one that catered to a particular forum or subset of the hobby- the 2012 Academy brought people from all areas of the community, whether they be DIY, Classic Christmas, Haunters and beyond. The spirit of the event has always been about learning, socializing and sharing and in 2012 we certainly achieved that on a grand scale.
- We had over 240 registered attendees. These were folks who paid their hard-earned dollars to attend, not just feet that happened into the building. Those people represented 2 countries, 25 states and countless cities across the country. There is no other annual event that caters to the residential decorator with those numbers or wide-spread demographics. It’s amazing and very humbling to see how things have progressed since we started planning the first event back in 2007.
- There were over a dozen registered vendors there in 2012. Again, not door prize vendors but actual exhibitors on hand with product to sell. In addition there were dozens of people who utilized the Swap Meet area to buy, sell and trade their materials. Add to that the fact that we had the first ever on-site co-op of DIY kits and you have a very successful event in terms of purchasing power at the Academy.
- We utilized over 25,000 square feet of space for the Academy. From vendor space, to areas to socialize, to classroom environments, we saw the latest in products and best practices from all areas of holiday decorating.
- Our educational offerings came in five tracks (Christmas Classics, DIY Expo, Scare Sessions, Software Solutions and Beyond Lighting) and were held in 5 classrooms throughout the convention center. In total, FIFTY THREE different class topics were available for our attendees to enjoy and learn from.
So now it’s time to look to the future…
On Saturday morning at the Academy we announced the details of the 2013 event. That’s right, there’s no waiting to see what might happen for us: The 2013 edition is signed for and ready to go. Work is already underway to include some of the best in the holiday world once again. Lone Star Holidays will, of course, be there and DIY Light Animation is on board officially to run the DIY Expo. Plans are being made to expand the Scare Sessions this coming year and many new ideas are coming rapidly. We’ve proven ourselves for 5 straight years and we’re not ready to rest on our laurels yet. 2013 is going to be an amazing event and one you don’t want to miss. We opened registration on day 2 of the Academy for those in attendance and the response has been overwhelming… over SEVENTY people are already registered (remember that means paid, not just lip service saying they’ll be there) to attend and the Academy is building a head of steam less than 2 weeks after the 2012 edition finished. Simply put: amazing!
Details for next year are at www.theultimateacademy.com so be sure to go check it out and register today for our standard starting price of $60. That covers your attendance for all 3 days and guarantees the lowest price available to you.
We want to thank all of the planners, instructors, vendors and most of all the attendees to the Academy over the past several years. You all have made this a very special event and continue to push us to raise the bar each year. Without the attendees the Academy would just be another event but because of you it has become the premier event in the United States that is held each and every year. We really and truly could not do it all without you.
If you attended this year we loved seeing you and hope you return in 2013. For those of you who were on the fence or simply could not make it this year we certainly hope that you will be able to join us next summer. It’s an amazing time and one you don’t want to miss.
Re: Academy 2012 Recap & Some Exciting News!
In the past 24 hours we have been contacted by some of the 2012 Academy attendees concerning an event of similar size has scheduled their bi-annual gathering on the same dates as the 2013 Academy. These people who contacted us were confused, disappointed and, in some cases, very angry. We wish this was not the case but this was not a decision on our part, as our event was open for registration on June 18th, two months ago. We could be angry about something like this but we at Lone Star Holidays, and everyone involved in the Academy planning, want to accentuate the positive of our event and not focus on the negative of the scheduling situation:
We are, of course, disappointed that attendees and vendors are going to have to choose between 2 events in 2013. Because we opened registration on June 18th and have almost 100 already paid to attend we wouldn't feel right about making a change (not to mention that we have our facility contracted and paid for). All we can do is continue to bring you the most economical and comprehensive decorating event that we can, and we promise we’ll always do that. The Academy is truly the only event that we know of that bridges a lot of the gaps in the decorating community and regardless of geography or forum/group affiliation, everyone is welcome to join us at the 2013 Academy.
- The 2012 Academy hosted 242 people from 24 states. That’s registered attendees, not walk ins, and we're confident that based on our registration numbers so far (nearing 100!) we will exceed that in 2013.
- There were over FIFTY unique class topics taught at the Academy in 2012 covering everything from Christmas to DIY to Halloween to Santa to Pyro to every possible software product available for holiday enthusiasts. There is no other event that even comes close to the educational aspects of our event and we are extremely proud of that. The feedback on our education and quality of instructors over the past 5 years has been nothing short of extraordinary. We are, quite honestly, humbled by the support and kudos we receive on classes every year.
- The cost of the Academy has never exceeded $75 (and is at an Early Bird price of $60 right now). We believe that the cost to the attendees and our vendor partners should be reasonable and should go along with our guiding principles as a non-profit organization. Everyone, from the planners to the instructors to the attendees, pays their registration fee to attend. This is not a money-making venture for us and it never will be.
- The Academy happens every year and has never been cancelled or downgraded to a smaller event. We work within a well-planned out budget and consider the economic climate each and every year. We have made adjustments to our financial model over the past 5 years and will continue to do so. In short, what we say you'll receive is exactly that. We believe in underpromising and over delivering.