A look at some peculiar events and exhibits
While rummaging around the interwebs, as one does, I came across an unusual festival taking place in the USA. It's the Turkey Testicles Festival - yes, you read that right! The 30th annual one, no less, this is no flash in the pan (sorry!). Turkey testicles are fried in batter and served to "an eager crowd of 4000 people". Well, I guess Thanksgiving provides a lot of leftovers, and someone came up with an inventive spin-off.
It got me thinking... is it the strangest event, or are there other contenders for that title?
Spain is pretty good at strange festivals... with a nod to the Running of the Bulls, there's also La Tomatino (tomato festival), where participants throw squishy tomatoes at each other. Uh huh. And another that involves throwing flour.
Japan has an event dedicated to fingernails - the Tokoyo Nail Art Expo.
And Finland boasts the annual worldwide Air Guitar champs, a hotly contested event to determine who plays the best imaginary guitar (remember practicising in front of the mirror when you were a teenager?)
Of course, there's an abundance of sci-fi weirdness every year... if you thought the 4-day Star Trek Convention was just one event, think again! Here's a list of what the Trekkies are up to around the world. There is some serious money and organisation behind all that.
And there's the Roswell UFO Festival if you need a break from the Trekkies (although I suspect a good few of them will show up in Roswell too).
Not to be left out, the Australians give us "Tunarama", Home of the World Championship Tuna Toss!
What's the weirdest annual event you know of? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page :)
A 2012 forecast on trends in the exhibition and event industry has proved to be uncannily accurate, and makes for some very interesting reading.
The research undertaken by Chicago-based L!ve Marketing, pointed to 12 emerging trends.
And the vast majority involve technology and social media (we're not surprised, are you?)
More people will be connected to events because of social media, websites and online communities. Rather than a localised happening, any event can be global and the topic of year-round conversation. A good example of this is the Design Indaba in South Africa, who keep a year-round buzz going, posting snippets of past events, peaks at future ones, industry news... and generally keeping their audience talking to them and each other long after their annual conference has ended.
Thanks to video-streaming, it's possible to attend an event without actually being there. In fact, if you have a look at the events on LiveStream, you'll see that you can attend a conference every day if you wish. For free. In real time. And chat online with others watching it.
(What does this mean for the future of live events? Will it kill them or strengthen them? Will they become more valuable for networking than content, and if so, how should we change our modus operandi?)
Zero Waste Events:
Moving beyond being merely "greener", events are striving to produce no waste. Or at least, recycle all they do create. This links back to the points above - less paper, less travelling, more use of online tools for event management and advertising. Good news for our planet!
Over the weekend, I attended a TEDx event in Asheville, USA… from my couch.
You see, the event was “live streamed” over the internet, so I saw everything as if I was sitting in the audience. The event website provided me with the program and a bio of each speaker. I could “chat” to the others watching the video stream, or via Twitter… we had an SA/India/Brazil/USA conversation going on.
It cost me nothing (I have an uncapped ADSL line) and I never left my comfy chair. I love the internet!
In the conference and event arena, using the internet allows us to:
- Print less paper
- Provide services 24/7 – even while we sleep
- Deal with international audiences seamlessly
- Make life easier for ourselves and our customers
- Connect to the world, with a click or two
- Lower our carbon footprint
Rather than printing flyers and magazine adverts, create a website and promote it via social media.
Rather than printing tickets, and having people drive to collect them, use online registration and ticketing.
Rather than close your doors at 5pm, let your website and online tools keep working. Your customers will love you for this, especially those in other time zones.
Rather than limit your audience to your home town, engage with people all over the world and share ideas and inspiration.
It’s the modern way to do things, it’s clean, efficient, and a whole lot less expensive!
It's really time we started blogging, don't you think?
And today seems like a great day to start.
We'll be writing here about things to do with conferences, exhibitions, events and the technology that surrounds and supports them.