But just because I can’t attend that Nats doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy the weekend. And that goes for you, too. A few years ago I offered several suggestions for those who couldn’t attend the Nats, so I’m going to drink my own Kool Aid this year and take my advice.
Here’s my proposal. If you can’t go, let’s celebrate the hobby by participating in a national, virtual convention!
To begin, let’s be clear of the spirit of the weekend. Since you won’t be at the convention itself, your goal is to spend as much time immersed in the hobby as you can. The convention runs Wednesday to Saturday, so ideally you'd take those four days off and spend a solid four days indulging yourself, but that’s probably not realistic for most of us. Maybe Friday and Saturday is an option. Or only Saturday. No matter, but since the convention schedule runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., you should plan to spend the entire day at our virtual convention.
Now that we’re clear on the goal, here are the specifics.
Prepare for the day by staking claim to the weekend. Take Friday off if you can, either using a vacation day or calling in sick. (Anyone feel a cough coming on?) Let your spouse, significant other, children, non-modeler friends, etc. know that you’re going to spend the day by yourself. You won't be available to mow the lawn, take little Timothy to his soccer game, or fold laundry.
Next decide how you’re going to spend your time. I suggest four ways to make the weekend productive.
- Spend time with other modelers who aren’t attending the Nats.
- Visit your LHS and treat yourself to a model or two.
- Spend the day at the workbench.
- Watch a favorite movie.
If you’re fortunate to have friends in the area, meet up with them for lunch. If you don’t have anyone nearby, pick up the phone and call a friend. This is a solitary hobby, but when I connect with friends — whether at a convention or one-on-one — it increases my enthusiasm for the hobby.
If you have lunch with friends, hit the LHS with them afterward. Take that $100 you would’ve spent for gas driving to South Carolina and spend it on a new release or two. Yes, I know you can buy those kits cheaper online, but support your LHS since you can't be at the “largest hobby shop in the world."
At the end of the day, if you didn’t see them for lunch, have dinner with your modeling friends. Or take your family to dinner to thank them for the time they’ve given you to attend the virtual convention!
So there you have it. You can enjoy the weekend even if you can’t attend the Nats. I hope you give these ideas a try. Send me your stories and photos, and I’ll post as many as I can in a follow-up article. I'm excited to see how you enjoy the weekend!
This effort is by no means offered as an alternative to actually attending the Nats. There are many compelling reasons to attend in person, as well as to enter the contest. This virtual convention is intended only for those of you who cannot attend the convention itself.