A company called Davis Promotions hosts Scrapbook Expo events in about a dozen cities throughout the year. (Thank you Leslie - I just did my first link!). I've been to the one in San Jose, CA twice and the one in Pleasanton, CA twice. This year was my third time at Pleasanton. There are classes taught by various vendors which you pay for and attend ala carte. Then there is a huge building with all of the vendor booths where you can do make-and-takes, see new products, and SHOP! It used to go for 3 days - now it is 2 days - and there are crops both nights you can attend (for a fee). The crops have games and contests so you don't really get much scrapping done, but it's a great place to meet scrappers from your area of the country. I've only gone "all out" and taken classes/attended crops one time. My mom and I shared a nearby hotel room and basically lived at the Expo for 3 days. It was a blast. Cost wise, I think it's probably pretty similar to the cost of a CKU (Creating Keepsakes University) or CKC (Creating Keepsakes Convention). The atmosphere, to me, is just more casual than those events and more friendly to a beginner scrapbooker. Here is the experience I had this year...
I arrived at the Alameda County Fairgrounds at around 11:30 am and found parking pretty easily. The event started at 10 am and people were already leaving so parking spaces were opening up nicely. It cost $8 to park on the fairgrounds or you could park for free if you wanted to walk quite a ways. Many people that were attending classes and crops had their rolling or carry totes, so I can't imagine them wanting to walk very far. I also saw a lot of mom's with full size strollers, which hadn't been allowed in the past. Here is the new rule, as copied from their website: "We can not allow Large or Rolling Bags on the show floor. Small umbrella strollers are allowed on the show floor (infants unable to sit-up will be allowed in other small single seat strollers). This is to keep our aisles clear and allow space for all guests to walk the floor." I was sorry to see they had changed the rule from umbrella stroller only and now allowed larger strollers. I agreed with the old rule because the floor of the expo gets VERY crowded. It's not really fair that we all have to move around the large strollers. And I say that as a mom who REALLY REALLY wanted to attend several expo's when my kiddos were that little and I had to miss them because I couldn't find a babysitter and my child/ren weren't big enough to sit in an umbrella stroller. I honestly think everyone should be considerate of others and if you can't take your child in an umbrella stroller, don't go (please).
I paid my $8, got my wristband on, was checked in at the door, and entered scrapbooker heaven! First stop was the restrooms (which were large; about a 3 minute wait :). I only had 2 hours to spend, so I got right to browsing the booths. It was not as crowded as in years past and I was able to finally do some make-n-takes. In the past, there were long lines for the M&Ts that I never felt like waiting in (hey, you miss out on too much shopping time that way). But I was able to do 3 M&Ts - a 2-page 12x12 layout using tan cardstock with black lasercut designs and a Family 2007 scene ($4); a 2-page 12x12 beach themed layout with glitter ($2); and a 1-page 12x12 layout called "The Scene of the Crime" ($2) which you can use for pictures of your kids, husband or dog doing something naughty! When I figure out how to post photos of them, I will.
If I'm remembering past Expo's correctly, the M&Ts were more expensive this time. But it was fun to do them and nice to give my feet a rest from all the walking. As for the shopping, I had no complaints. I didn't buy nearly as much as I have in the past because of my own budget, not because there wasn't plenty I wanted! I did mean to go back to the Creative Memories booth and pick up another Power Sort Box for photos (I've spoken of my love for them in the past). I saw one, didn't want to carry it around, said I would go back, then ran out of time. Oh well, they're easy enough to get from a Creative Memories Consultant around here. I also had 2 packs of some new Basic Grey in my hands - Stella Ruby and Scarlet's Letter. Sooooo pretty and marked down from $20 to $16...but the line was long and I'm obviously NOT a long-line-waiter. I can get them from Memory Works for that price anyhoo. There's just something about instant gratification that we all love, isn't there? But I'm happy with my purchases. I've been wanting to try Tombow adhesives since hearing them constantly raved about on the Creating Keepsakes message board. I've been a Hermafix tab girl for a long time, so I'm curious to try something new. I love the pink t-shirt I got that says, "You better be nice, or I will crop you out of my scrapbooks". Oh! And all the brads I got...at one booth you could fill up a cup with eyelets, brads, beads etc. for $7 for a small cup. There were two larger sizes but I forget the prices (maybe $14 and $20 or something?). The Daisy D's Modern Romance paper pack is so gorgeous I can't wait to make something with it.
I had to leave at 1:30 to meet a friend for lunch nearby, at Fernandos' Mexican Restaurant. There are many restaurants, hotels and stores near the Expo so you will never be at a loss if you decide to go off-site for eating, lodging or shopping. After lunch, we walked around shopping and got some coffee before we each hit the road for long drives home. All in all, a very "Pleasant" day in Pleasanton.
I will probably go to the San Jose event this year too (August 10/11), but it appears they have moved it to the nearby city of Santa Clara, CA. I think Scrapbook Expo's are great events and highly encourage you to go if you can.