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The elves are busy planning the Christmas Expo Holiday Lighting and Decorating Conference in Daytona Beach, FL this year! The conference is July 18-20, 2019 with pre-show workshops July 15-17. For those new to Expo, here are some of the details. Christmas Expo features over 60 Christmas-focused class sessions and hands-on workshops that are included at no extra charge in the cost of your conference pass. With the exception of the hands-on workshops which will have limited space, you will not need to sign up in advance for classes. Your pass will allow you to pick and choose - and change your mind! - to make sure you get the best mix of information to create or fine-tune your display. The Education Team (Mark, Jackie and Walter and I) plan the schedule to allow for something of interest for every level of decorator in each time slot. We will start posting our first round of class topics soon. If you are looking for more education, you can attend our pre-show "immersion" style workshops July 17-19 where you receive uninterrupted, in-depth instruction in several topics: Light-O-Rama Immersion (July 16-17) is a deep dive in to the LOR hardware and software starting with understanding the hardware, learning all aspects of the software, then ending with loading your show for opening night. This workshop is presented by Christmas veteran, Drew Hickman from Holiday Technologies. Drew is the creator of the first commercially available hardware and software (Christmas Cave and Dasher) for music-synchronized displays and is an official LOR dealer and training partner. xLights In-Depth (July 16-17) is a unique and exclusive opportunity to learn xLights from those who know it best, developers Sean Meighan and Keith Westley. In this workshop, you will learn xLights from the ground up, from installation through scheduling your show. The workshop will have both a beginner and an advanced user track and users can move between tracks. Sean authored the Nutcracker software in 2012 and leads the xLights team. In addition to xLights, Keith also developed xSchedule and is joining us from Australia to teach at Expo. Spotlight on RGB (July 15) will take you from start to finish with understanding RGB technology and how to use it in your display. Drew Hickman leads this workshop and has a wealth of information to share. Our vendor hall may seem a bit smaller than some, but we only accept vendors who sell products or services that holiday decorators use so you won't have to bypass booths that aren't Christmas related. And we already have a great list of vendors signed up, including new folks you haven't seen at Christmas Expo before! A fun addition to Expo is always The Great Christmas Light Fight Discussion Panel. Each year, several families from the previous year's competition on ABC join us, along with a casting agent from the show, to answer questions and share their experience on what it's like to be a part of this amazing experience. Oh, the stories we've heard! And speaking of casting, if you think you have what it takes to win $50,000 (and that fabulous trophy!), a casting agent will be on site to talk to attendees. As a PLUS (the pre-cursor to Christmas Expo) attendee way back in 2005, I remember how excited I was to learn so much about decorating as well as making new friends who shared my passion. I left that event with a head full of ideas and a car full of wireframes, inflatables and a receipt for animation equipment. Christmas seemed too far away at that point - I wanted to decorate NOW! Joyce wasn't there but she kept saying "get me stuff for my house too!" Christmas Expo is now an extension of our family and our goal is to give you the same experience I had so many years ago. There's more to come, so stay tuned! In the meantime, feel free to let me know if you have any questions. You can learn more and register online at ChristmasExpo.com. Janice Sister Elf at Christmas Expo July 18-20, 2019 (Pre-Show Workshop July 15-17) The Plaza Resort & Spa Conference Center Daytona Beach FL (bring your flip-flops!)