Will you be in or near the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area on January 21 or 22? If so, I'd suggest you plan to spend a day or two at the Mesa Convention Center on North Center Street. If you are a genealogist, I suspect you will enjoy this event.
This will be the third annual Mesa, Arizona Family History Expo, sponsored by Family History Expos.com. The same company also sponsors annual family history expos in St. George, Utah; Loveland, Colorado; Overland Park, Kansas; San Mateo, California; and in Salt Lake City, Utah.
This event is billed as an "expo," not as a conference. There are numerous differences. An expo is more like an "open house." There is a strong focus on the vendors. The presentations are a mix of topics for beginners, intermediate, and advanced genealogists alike. However, the emphasis is more on beginners' topics than at traditional genealogy conferences with their in-depth presentations. An expo may not attract as many nationally-recognized speakers as a national conference, but typically there is more information available for beginners at an expo than at any of the national conferences I have attended. Entrance fees are usually lower at expos than at conferences, which again attracts more beginners.
Despite the differences between a conference and an expo, the Mesa expo has attracted a surprisingly large number of nationally-recognized speakers. A complete list of presentations and the presenters is available at http://www.fhexpos.com/Arizona2011/Arizona2011ExpoAgenda.pdf
The Friday evening dinner will feature Handling and Healing the Skeletons in Your Genealogical Closet by M. Bridget Cook. Ms. Cook is an author, speaker, and life coach. Her picture is to the right and her web page may be found at http://www.mbridgetcook.com/
Tickets to the dinner are $33.00 and include dinner, the keynote presentation, and your free, signed copy of M. Bridget Cook's book, Shattered Silence, the Untold Story of a Serial Killer’s Daughter. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance to insure your dinner and your keepsake book.
The Mesa Convention Center is a great place for a genealogy expo. It is about a 15-minute drive from the Phoenix airport. Unlike most of the national conferences, Mesa has many reasonably priced hotels within a short distance of the convention center. You can see the expo organizers' list of nearby accommodations at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e3320lw7f1fe4136&llr=mtf5sodab although I might suggest the much bigger list on Google Maps at http://goo.gl/maps/Ol8U. It will be difficult to spend more than $100 per night for a hotel room, including parking! These are nice hotels, too.
Conference registration at the door is $75.00 which includes a conference 400-page syllabus on CD. You can purchase a printed syllabus for an extra $25.
For more information about the Mesa, Arizona, Family History Expo, look at http://goo.gl/bWJaL
This should be a great conference. I have been to the Mesa, Arizona Family History Expo before and plan to be there again this year. If you can be there, I'd suggest you do so. If not, I hope you will read my report the following Sunday or Monday.
I'll see you in Mesa!