September brings MACNA 2015 to Washington D.C. along with a couple of thousand of your reefing friends, speakers from all corners of the globe and exhibitors with cool new products. It’s three fun filled days and nights of non-stop reef keeping mania. There are official events to keep you busy and parties that you might be lucky enough to discover before they get shut down. Whether you are a MACNA ninja or a MACNA newbie, there are several ways to maximize your experience.
This is the second year that an App has been available for MACNA. Before you show up, be sure and download the iOS or Android version. It’s a great tool to help plan your attack of the show room floor and has a convenient schedule to remind you when your favorite speaker or that cool workshop is about to start. You can also share information with your fellow attendees and exhibitors. Are you participating in the MACNA raffle? Winning numbers will be posted to the MACNA App. What a great way to maximize your time and arrange a meet-up with a friend.
If you are traveling to MACNA, get a head start by picking up your credentials on Thursday afternoon. Once you’ve donned your cool badge, don’t forget to pickup your attendee bag. As you delve into the great items provided by exhibitors, be sure and check out the MACNA program guide. It has a convenient fold out floor plan to help you find your favorite exhibitor as well as brief summaries of the speakers. The program guide also lists special offers from exhibitors and some great articles to peruse while you are relaxing in the attendee lounge. It’s not unusual to find coupons for freebies in the attendee bag as well. You’ll want to be sure to maximize the swag!
Once Friday morning arrives, you will be primed and ready to hit the ground running. Would you like to access the show floor an hour before other attendees? MASNA members get early exhibit hall access Friday! Wait… you haven’t joined MASNA yet? No worries! Swing by the MASNA booth on Friday morning and join for a mere $20. Not only will you help promote the hobby, you’ll also get that coveted first glimpse at the hot corals and some free swag from MASNA to boot. While you are there, why not stop in Friday morning for the annual MASNA meeting? You’ll have plenty of time to make that early show floor access.
Another popular MACNA event is the Great Button Hunt. It kicks off Friday, possibly with your first MASNA button. Be sure and register, ask the MACNA staff where to sign up. As you visit vendors on the show floor, collect some cool buttons to accessorize your look. Not only is it fun, you have a chance of wining some great prizes. Don’t dally as only the fist 200 folks to register can win. However anyone can collect buttons just for fun. Why stop at just 25?
If you purchased a Full Conference Pass, Friday night brings the MASNA Reception. Don’t be fooled… it’s a party! Meet up with your new found friends, enjoy some adult beverages and hobnob with the speakers that you listened to today. You will find that everyone is friendly and happy to share their experiences. There are no strangers at MACNA! Not only will you get to enjoy some great company, you’ll also be entertained. The good folks who run MACNA 2015 have brought in the world renowned MACNA All Stars, fronted by the unique and entertaining Justin Credabel. Not only can they frag the coolest corals, they can carry a tune and rock you out!
You won’t want to sleep in on Saturday as the great speaker lineup continues. This is one of the areas that sets MACNA apart from other events; the educational component. Not only can you learn from those exploring the edges of the hobby, you can also catch up on the latest techniques through one of the many workshops. If you are like most folks, you’ve been keeping your eye on some cool corals. If you are traveling, not to worry. A small cooler, battery powered air pump and submersible heater can keep your charges safe and comfy in your hotel room over the weekend. Lunch coolers make great accessories in which to carry your new additions till you get back to your room. MACNA is known for having amazing corals from it’s many great exhibitors.
Saturday night brings the MACNA Banquet and its great lineup. With your Full Conference Pass, you will have a chance to enjoy the MACNA 2014 Aquarist of the Year, Richard Ross, as he emcees the evenings festivities. You’ll be introduced to the MASNA Scholarship winners, hear from the 2015 Aquarist of the Year and enjoy a Keynote from Bruce Carlson. One of the many highlights of the banquet is the Fiji trip drawing, donated by WSI. This year, the drawing will be held after the Keynote and all attendees will be invited in to see if Walt Smith pulls your winning ticket for a trip for two to Fiji. If you weren’t the lucky winner, be sure and stick around for the evenings entertainment, Incognito Sofa Love. You will rock the night away with reef hits like Tracy Morgonian. It’s going to be a night to remember. MACNA is putting Justin to work this year!
If you thought the fun and excitement was over, you haven’t been to a MACNA before! Sunday continues with more great speakers and workshops. If you haven’t pulled the trigger on that cool coral, now is the time. You’ve probably looked at, possibly even entered into the raffle drawings that took place on Friday and Saturday. Today the big raffle items and prizes are awarded at the end of the show. Be sure and save some of your dollars for those last minute raffle tickets. You may also find sales on dry goods today that exhibitors don’t want to cart home. A bit of sleuthing will ferret out the deals.
New to MACNA this year is Conservation Corner. Check out the Program Book floor plan and be sure to visit the many non-profit and research organizations found here. Just next door is the kids area. Activities abound to keep the little ones, or the not so little ones in all of us, entertained. You don’t have to be a kid to color!
When it’s time to relax a bit, stop in at the attendee hospitality lounge which is located just next to Conservation Corner. You can charge up your iDevice or other tech goodies while at the same time partaking of a beverage and pretzels. Yes, adult beverages are sponsored by reefs.com. It’s a great place to meet friends, talk about the cool speaker you just watched or simply unwind. This is going to be a very popular place!
If you joined MASNA to get that extra hour on Friday, today could be the payoff. Not only did you get a MASNA button and swag in the form of a MASNA cooler, you were also entered into the MASNA Membership Drive drawing. New and current members are eligible, simply drop by the MASNA booth before noon on Sunday. That’s when the drawing will be held for a Red Sea Reefer 170, Kessil 360w LED, Tunze pump and eShopps Skimmer. That’s a great prize for supporting MASNA! You must be a MASNA member to enter.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to Sunday afternoon. Another MACNA has come and gone and you are wondering how you managed to stay awake for three strait days. There just isn’t time to sleep at MACNA. You’ve had so much fun that you want to do it all again next year. This is the best time to pick up your 2016 MACNA tickets. Prices won’t be lower and you might even get some 2016 swag! We journey to the west coast next year and invade the beautiful city of San Diego. If you haven’t stopped by to say hello to the MACNA 2016 folks, go get your tickets at the low price of $89.
MACNA is all about making friends, learning from each other and sharing the joy of our hobby. It’s primarily an educational event with the added benefit of the biggest show floor and coolest products. As you journey through the Exhibit Hall and enjoy the evening festivities, take a moment and thank the MACNA volunteers that you encounter. It takes a lot of work to put on a MACNA and this year, the great folks at WAMAS have the honor of working their butts off to bring you a fantastic show. The show management have been hard at it for two years, and it shows. If you happen to see Tom Land, Craig Kuhn or Doug Arthur, let them know what a great job they’ve done, along with all of the other WAMAS members.
See you next year in San Diego!