I attended my very first Great Lakes Mega Meet and sometime in the past my twenty year-old self just about died of embarrassment! If anyone had told me sixteen years ago, heck even two years ago, I’d be attending a scrap-book convention, I would have had a look of horror on my face.
I had a preconceived notion that it was something “soccer moms” did when they got old and dorky. Well, I am approaching mid-life, have always been dorky, not a soccer mom or any kind of mom for that matter, but guess what? I love it. I love scrap-booking and making cards, I fully admit it. They make great gifts and give me a creative outlet that I don’t have in my technical job.
I started a year and a half ago with an impulsive decision to make a gift for my Grandmother. I actually thought making her a scrapbook would be cheaper than purchasing a gift (I’ll wait while you finish laughing). Since that first book, I’ve become addicted and am now venturing into card-making. I have completed a few books, two for me and two as gifts. So when the opportunity to attend a “MEGA” convention in Novi popped up, I signed up.
According to their website the first Mega Meet was held in 2000 at the Novi Expo Center and moved to Rock Financial Center in 2006. Scrap-booking seems to be all the rage and this event certainly has grown in a decade.
About the Event
The Scrapbook Mega Meet is held the weekend before Mother’s Day every year in Novi. The event is over four days, Thursday-Sunday. This year the Mega Meet took place from May 6-9, 2010.
The main room is like a giant scrapbook store. There are rows of booths occupied by specialty shops, Michigan and Ohio scrap booking stores, and a few companies such as Tattered Angels and SEI. I could have easily spent hundreds of dollars at this event.
Several booths also have “make and takes”, these are craft products that an attendant guides you through making hoping you will purchase the products to make more at home. Be aware that they are not free, but depending on what is made the prices seem somewhat reasonable. The same can’t be said for the products themselves, maybe I am just used to my limited scrapbook resources (Michaels), but everything seemed quite pricey to me.
Located to the side of the main event hall is an array of tables set aside to crop. I believe that they cost money to rent, but I did not intend to crop while I was there and did not investigate further. Concession are also located throughout the hall, with the usual fair one would find at a convention center; pretzels, pop, popcorn, etc.
In a separate section of the facility classes are held on different techniques of scrap-booking every hour to half hour. Each class is sponsored by a different company and focuses either on a specific technique or product line, ranging in price from $20 to $50.
My first advice is to pre-register, everyone who pre-registered for the event is allowed to enter the Mega meet at 9am. Everyone who purchased a ticket that day has to wait in line until 10am. I pre-registered but had my first class at 9am, when I made my way back to the main event hall, there was a long line to purchase tickets and enter. When I left the main event hall at 11:15 am to make my second class there was still a line to get in.
I attended two class at $20 each, a Tattered Angels product demonstration class using “Glimmer Mist” and a “learn new layout techniques” class. The Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist class was my favorite of the two. I learned how to use a product that I’ve seem at the store but had no idea how to use. While a little messy in application, I really like the results and plan to continue using it in my projects. Heck, I even one a full size bottle during the class. There was a specific focus in the class which I think made it more enjoyable than the other one.
The other class felt rushed and I think had too many things going on. My guess, they want people to feel they received their money’s worth in product (ie layouts). Everyone learns to make a layout or some kind of a project in the course and all materials are for the participants to keep. I walked away with four scrapbook layouts, three sample size bottles of Glimmer Mist, and one large Bottle of Glimmer Mist. While I did learn new methods to design a layout, I will stick with product lines or one specific technique next year.
This brings me to the Tim Holtz classes, of which there were two each day. I really wanted to take both the Distress and Adirondacks classes (even at $50 each). Both sold out within 11 minutes the day registration opened, so next year I will be poised on the computer ready to go the instant registration opens.
One of the things I learned this year in terms of budgeting my time at the event is to spend the morning in the main event hall shopping and doing the “make & takes” and attend classes in the afternoon. Maneuvering your way through the booths to shop is easier the earlier you arrive, the volume of people substantially increased toward the afternoon (and I went on a weekday) making the shopping less enjoyable for me as the day went on. Also, if you have specific companies you want to visit, mark them on the map provided and visit each one first, then proceed to wander down the aisles looking to see who else has interesting items.
All in all, I had an exhausting but wonderful time. Toward the end I really lost steam, and while I kept to my budget in shopping (I didn’t bring nearly enough money), I really would like to spend more next year. Looks like I will have to have a savings fund dedicated to this for next year. I have a feeling I am moving into stamping soon, it seems a natural progression and they are not cheap!
For more information on Scrapbook Mega Meet visit their website at : http://www.megameet.com/