15 preparedness expos and why you should attend one
By Dave Duffy
Ever been to a preparedness expo? If not, you’ve missed a barrel of fun and a heck of a good presentation of self-reliance information. Without question, some of the most enjoyable moments I have had publishing Backwoods Home Magazine have been at the preparedness and self-reliance expos I’ve attended during the past 28 years.
This year we’ll have a booth at 15 of them and I invite you to attend and stop by our booth and have a chat. I’ll be at most of them, Jackie Clay-Atkinson at a few of them, and a host of other writers and editors at some of them.
Here’s what you can expect: Excellent speakers like activist farmer Joel Salatin at the Mother Earth News Fairs, and our own Jackie Clay-Atkinson at the Self Reliance Expos. Other speakers will talk about canning, gardening, raising animals, putting together a 72-hour pack, remote living, shooting a gun, and making every manner of homestead item. You can also take a variety of classes, ranging from installing a solar system to how to surgically sew up a wound on your best friend.
Or you can simply tour the many booths with their wide array of useful and innovative products, such as reusable canning lids, preparedness packs, fire-starters, military surplus, medical kits, LED and solar flashlights, clever chicken coop designs, underground bunkers, water purification systems, weapons of all sorts, books covering every aspect of prepping, solar gadgets of all types, and even complete home solar systems. And that’s just the beginning. Every show seems to have a few new gadgets that I’ve never seen before.
But what makes these events the most fun for me is meeting BHM subscribers. It’s my chance to discuss, one-on-one, preparedness and politics with people who are as passionate about these topics as I am.
The 15 expos and fairs we’ll do this year are a big increase from our usual 5 or so. It’s sort of a change in business strategy for us. We find we gain new subscribers and get former subscribers to renew if we can talk with them. I think that is because we are friendly people and have some knowledge to share, and we are sponges for people who have knowledge to share with us. Many of the articles in BHM over the years have come out of these shows.
Why don’t you come out and join us. Admission is usually fairly cheap, about $10. And parking is usually free. And here’s a bonus: Wear a Backwoods Home Magazine T-shirt, or reasonable facsimile you make yourself (just draw on a T-shirt with a felt pen), and we’ll give you a free book of your choosing. It can even be one of our big 360-page anthologies, which will more than cover your admission fee. We’ll also give you a free colorful shopping bag. We’d love to see a whole bunch of Backwoods Home Magazine T-shirts walking around at these expos.
Pick an expo near you and insert the date into your schedule and come out and chew the fat with us. I’m almost always available. Besides me, other BHM writers and editors who make occasional appearances at these shows are Jackie Clay-Atkinson, Jeff Yago, Patrice Lewis, Ilene Duffy, Dr. Joe and Nurse Amy Alton, and Jessie Denning. Annie Tuttle and Sam Duffy of our “sister” magazine, Self-Reliance, are also often there.
Here’s a listing of the shows. Call ahead to our office (541-247-8900) and ask who will be at a particular expo. We sometimes are not sure until about a month before the event, as it can hinge on who is on deadline for the upcoming print issue.
- February 18-19 (Sat/Sun): Belton, Texas
Mother Earth News Fair, Bell County Expo Center, 301 W. Loop 121, Belton, Texas
- April 21-22 (Fri/Sat): Salt Lake City, Utah
Preppercon, South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy, Utah, www.preppercon.com
- May 6-7 (Sat/Sun): Asheville, North Carolina
Mother Earth News Fair, Western North Carolina Agricultural Center, 1301 Fanning Bridge Rd., Fletcher, North Carolina, www.motherearthnewsfair.com
- May 21 (Sun): Grants Pass, Oregon
Sustainable Preparedness Expo, Josephine County Fairgrounds, 1451 Fairgrounds Rd., Grants Pass, Oregon www.susprepexpo.com
- May 26-27 (Fri/Sat): Dallas, Texas
Self Reliance Expo, Irving Convention Center, 500 Las Colinas Blvd., Irving, Texas, www.selfrelianceexpo.com
- June 10-11 (Sat/Sun): Burlington, Vermont
Mother Earth News Fair, Champion Valley Exposition, 105 Pearl St., Essex Junction, Vermont
- June 16-18 (Fri-Sun): Custer, Wisconsin
The Energy Fair, 7558 Deer Road, Custer, Wisconsin, www.theenergyfair.org
- Aug. 5-6 (Sat/Sun): Albany, Oregon
Mother Earth News Fair, Linn County Expo Center, 3700 Knox Butte Rd. E, Albany, Oregon
- Sept. 5-7 (Tue-Thur): Santa Rosa, California
The National Heirloom Expo, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa California, www.theheirloomexpo.com
- Sept. 9-10 (Sat/Sun): St. Paul, Minnesota
The Energy Fair, Harriet Island Park, St Paul, Minnesota www.theenergyfair.org
- Sept. 15-17 (Fri-Sun): Seven Springs, Pennsylvania
Mother Earth News Fair, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, 777 Waterwheel Drive, Seven Springs, Pennsylvania
- Sept. 22-23 (Fri/Sat): Denver, Colorado
Self Reliance Expo, National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt St., Denver, Colorado
- Oct. 1 (Sun): Spokane, Washington
Sustainable Preparedness Expo, Spokane Valley Fair & Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St., Spokane Valley, Washington, www.susprepexpo.com
- Oct. 14 (Sat): Warrenton, Virginia
The Homesteaders of America Conference, Fauquier County Fairgrounds, 6209 Old Auburn Rd., Warrenton, Virginia, www.homesteadersofamerica.com
- Oct. 21-22 (Sat/Sun): Topeka, Kansas:
Mother Earth News Fair, Kansas Expocentre, One Expocentre Drive, Topeka, Kansas