It’s no secret that Homesteaders of America brings in thousands of people each and every year to our annual event. Last year (2019) was our biggest year yet, with over 3,500+ people attending each day. And that was only our third year event! Over 400 of those people were children. We’re growing the next generation of homesteaders!
So, as we watch the news continue to talk about COVID-19 and states opening back up (or not opening back up), we are hopeful, but we are cautious.
Different states have different laws, especially Virginia. And while we continue to be optimistic that we’ll be able to bring our beautiful community together in October, we also know that we have to plan for the worst case scenario just in case. It’s only fair that we plan ahead not only for ourselves, but for our amazing attendees.
We will not be making a final decision on the 2020 conference until the first week of September, or unless something drastically changes that causes us to make the decision earlier.
I repeat, conference is STILL ON!
We are still very much planning, working, and growing our conference and the community each and every week while the pandemic happens in our country. Now, more than ever, homesteading is necessary and on the rise.
Visit our Homesteaders of America Youtube Channel to learn more about homesteading!
We have been in touch with our 2020 speakers for alternative options, just in case the in-person conference cannot happen. And we all concur that a virtual event will work out well. While it doesn’t take the place of a big family reunion in-person, it will definitely fill the educational and community need until 2021.
So, for all of you amazing homesteaders asking, below is the plan for 2020 in the event that we cannot host our annual conference.
Again, we’re still optimistic, but we’re also realists. And we also want you to know why you won’t be able to purchase tickets online until later in the year.
If We Can’t Have Conference, We’ll Take the Conference Virtual
That’s right. In the event that the in-person conference cannot happen, we’ll take it all online. Many of the lectures will be pre-recorded and already on the website before the event takes place that same weekend.
We will go live with the pre-recorded lectures on October 9th. You’ll have an entire week to watch them, or you will be able to sign up for a membership and have an entire year to watch the videos from 2020, and from ALL of the past years of conference!
Some 2020 videos—like Joel Salatin, Hoss Tools, and Rory Feek—will also be held LIVE with a live question and answer time after the class or video.
We will also try to have a live chat available at all times so you can talk about lectures, mingle with the community, and more—even when the live streams aren’t happening.
HOA will also host the regular giveaways and more during the online event, so you’ll want to make sure you check back often once it’s live! We’ll have a schedule for all of the livestreams and giveaways that will take place so you don’t miss them.
We’ll Take Pre-Conference Workshops Virtual
Well, at least some of them.
Our attendees absolutely love our hands-on pre-conference workshops. This is probably one of the things that will break out hearts the most if we have to cancel. The people who walk away from these one-on-one workshops come away with such hope and empowerment. This is one of the things we love most about our Homesteaders of America pre-conference workshops.
But there’s good news. We have this amazing thing called the internet, and we can still make some of this work!
Some (not all) of the 2020 workshops—like the family milk cow and how to grow a year’s worth of food—have the availability to go virtual.
We will release a list of those workshops the beginning of September should we have to cancel the in-person event. In the meantime, please submit your request for a seat by clicking here, as space will still be limited. You will not be sent an invoice, but at least your seat will be temporarily held (first come first serve).
We will then email you to confirm and send you an invoice when that time comes. You’ll be able to join your “class” with other classmates and the teacher, one-on-one, online!
Refunds and Ticket Sales
If you have already bought your tickets for the 2020 conference, and the in-person event doesn’t happen, your ticket will automatically roll over to a ticket for 2021. OR, you’ll be able to transfer that ticket to the virtual online conference.
If you’d like a refund, we’ll set up a link for a refund request form you can fill out. Please be patient with us as we go through that process, as there are only a few of us running this show!
Temporarily Suspending Ticket Sales
We are temporarily suspending ticket sales so that we don’t have has many to navigate in case we switch to a virtual event. Once we know what we’re doing, we’ll get a page for the virtual event set up and start selling tickets. Or we’ll bypass the virtual event and start selling in-person tickets once again. Our goal is to get ticket sales going again in July.
Conference Vendors and Sponsors
If you are interested in a vendor spot at conference, we still encourage you to fill out an application. However, we will not be sending out invoices until we can confirm we are having the event.
If we do not have the in-person event, you can transfer your vendor space to the 2021 conference, or you can receive a refund.
Sponsorships will remain the same for the 2020 conference, as our sponsors will still receive the same amount of exposure through online marketing. If you are interested in becoming a sponsors, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
In the Event that We CAN Have Conference
We are already working on adding more hand washing stations and other protocols that could help you social distance. But please know that at an event like this, social distancing isn’t really possible. And honestly, that’s kind of the point.
Should we be able to have the in-person event, please only come if you feel comfortable enough to come without extreme social distancing taking place. And please understand that we cannot 100% guarantee adequate social distancing with an open event like this.
We’re going to be really sad if we don’t get to see you guys and hug your necks in 2020. But please know that we are working diligently on bringing you the best experience possible—whether it’s online or in person.
We hope that, either way, you’ll continue to share, love, and support the homesteading community during this time. And we hope that you’ll come away inspired and empowered to be the best homesteader you can be, and to inspire other homesteaders too!
Looking forward to seeing you in 2020! And if not, ya’ll, 2021 is going to be the BIGGEST homesteader party yet!
Mark your calendars for October 8 and 9, 2021—just in case!
The HOA Team