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Academy 2012 Recap & Some Exciting News

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Another Academy is in the books…

We typically do a recap immediately following the Academy but this year we took a couple of weeks to reflect on how things went and where we want them to go in the future. An event the size and scope of the Academy is a big undertaking, especially when you consider that it is done from a 100% voluntary workforce. The 2011 edition was finished in August and we immediately began forming the 2012 edition. Opening registration that early was tough but it allowed folks the opportunity to make plans earlier. There are some things we are particularly proud of this year and we wanted to take a minute to point those out:

  • For the first time anywhere an event was held that promoted a true sense of unity among holiday fanatics. This was not a regional event or one that catered to a particular forum or subset of the hobby- the 2012 Academy brought people from all areas of the community, whether they be DIY, Classic Christmas, Haunters and beyond. The spirit of the event has always been about learning, socializing and sharing and in 2012 we certainly achieved that on a grand scale.
  • We had over 240 registered attendees. These were folks who paid their hard-earned dollars to attend, not just feet that happened into the building like many trade shows. Those people represented 2 countries, 25 states and countless cities across the country. There is no other annual event that caters to the residential decorator with those numbers or wide-spread demographics. It’s amazing and very humbling to see how things have progressed since we started planning the first event back in 2007.
  • There were over a dozen registered vendors there in 2012. Again, not door prize vendors but actual exhibitors on hand with product to sell. In addition there were dozens of people who utilized the Swap Meet area to buy, sell and trade their materials. Add to that the fact that we had the first ever on-site co-op of DIY kits and you have a very successful event in terms of purchasing power at the Academy.
  • We utilized over 25,000 square feet of space for the Academy. From vendor space, to areas to socialize, to classroom environments, we saw the latest in products and best practices from all areas of holiday decorating.
  • Our educational offerings came in five tracks (Christmas Classics, DIY Expo, Scare Sessions, Software Solutions and Beyond Lighting) and were held in 5 classrooms throughout the convention center. In total, FIFTY THREE different class topics were available for our attendees to enjoy and learn from.

There were many, many other outstanding aspects of the Academy this year but those main points above really show the depth and quality of the event. Our annual feedback survey is validating that for us as well. If you would like to see how things went you can check out the photo album here.

So now it’s time to look to the future…

On Saturday morning at the Academy we announced the details of the 2013 event. That’s right, there’s no waiting to see what might happen for us: The 2013 edition is signed for and ready to go. Work is already underway to include some of the best in the holiday world once again. Lone Star Holidays will, of course, be there and DIY Light Animation is on board officially to run the DIY Expo. Plans are being made to expand the Scare Sessions this coming year and many new ideas are coming rapidly. We’ve proven ourselves for 5 straight years and we’re not ready to rest on our laurels yet. 2013 is going to be an amazing event and one you don’t want to miss. We opened registration on day 2 of the Academy for those in attendance and the response has been overwhelming… over SEVENTY people are already registered (remember that means paid, not just lip service saying they’ll be there) to attend and the Academy is building a head of steam less than 2 weeks after the 2012 edition finished. Simply put: amazing!

Details for next year are at www.theultimateacademy.com so be sure to go check it out and register today for our standard starting price of $60. That covers your attendance for all 3 days and guarantees the lowest price available to you.

We want to thank all of the planners, instructors, vendors and most of all the attendees to the Academy over the past several years. You all have made this a very special event and continue to push us to raise the bar each year. Without the attendees the Academy would just be another event but because of you it has become the premier event in the United States that is held each and every year. We really and truly could not do it all without you.

If you attended this year we loved seeing you and hope you return in 2013. For those of you who were on the fence or simply could not make it this year we certainly hope that you will be able to join us next summer. It’s an amazing time and one you don’t want to miss.


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Wow... After that bragfest of half truths I doubt I will attend...

I had thought seriously about it based on invitation, but when you have to discredit ALL others to talk about how great you are, for me it speaks volumes...

Thank you for the insight sir

I'm sorry Terry- I don't think there was any discredit for anyone. Each event is a little different but I don't know of one that's "better"- bigger maybe, in terms of some factors but not better. In fact we've (and me personally) have made it a point to let people know of other events (including yours) that they could enjoy and benefit from. Everyone thinks their events are good or else they wouldn't put the work into developing it (or promoting it on various forums with postings).

We seem to have a bit of a double edged sword at Lone Star Holidays. We get flack if we don't tell people about the Academy because people say we're excluding folks. But if we announce it and express pride in what we do we get slammed for that.

Again, there was certainly no intent to disparage anyone. Good luck to all of the events out there.

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Wow, for $60 I don't think you can go wrong with that's being put on there. It looks like quite the event...I may consider that for next summer!

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Well, i have to agree with Terry where did a brag fest bring anything useful to the boards seeing the event has passed? I mean he was fully right that this whole post was for nothing more than bragging, I have never seen another event throw out junk like this. I could understand if come next year you said last year we had this but to do it now sounds like hey look at us no one else has this. And the sad part is Terrys post was deleted even though the quote is still there, seems a little one sided from this new equal rights for members and admins seeing the admin is from Texas.

Edited by rescue_653
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The OP asked for his post to be deleted.

Well, now that just begs another question Don:

Do ALL OP's now have the right to have posts in threads they begin removed, or does that privelege only extend to certain people?

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I will take the blame for this...

I did ask for my post to be removed when heard from the OP of the thread and I realized I pulled the trigger on something that even though it reads one way, the intent was not in fact that. I did not see the reply until I had already requested my post to be deleted as to not start a stink-fest.

Honestly, I should have been denied... I am nobody.


The follow up should have had the quote removed...

Now the Mod is in a catch 21... deny me and tick me off... edit the follow up and tick the OP off.

No matter what he is in a bind.

I caused it... it is my fault... and I admit it.

My sincere apologies to the OP.... your enthusiasm came across differently then you intended, and I should not judge your word art... I should have taken it to PM first.

My sincere apologies to the Mod... I shouldn't have asked you to delete my post... I could not edit it to make it more benign, but then again that was my own darn fault.

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Having attended the LSH expo for the first time last month (something I had been meaning to for the last several years), I can say the enthusiam of the OP was sincere, and was certainly felt by everyone I talked with at the event!

Combining three major groups - the classic Christmas gang, the DIYLA group, and the Halloween group made this event quite unique, not to mention offerring attendees a great selection of courses.

I have, over the years, seen a number of groups post after their events, often with pictures, etc. Some even included videos. Some seem to be criticized for that, others aren't.

Having spent some time with the OP, I would affirm he was being enthusiastic, not a braggart. Maybe if some of us attending had posted it might have come across differently...

And even if he was bragging a bit, so what?

It seems to me I see an awful lot of posts relating to "look at my display", "see the article/news clip of my display", etc.

Folks have every right to be proud of what they do. There is certainly an element of ego in this hobby, and folks very much have a right to be proud of their event/displays.

Knowing there were a very small handful of guys that put this event together that allowed attendees to enjoy for only $60, and having worked with a larger group on 2 previous holiday events (PLUS 2005 and 2007) I know first hand what went into this. They should be proud of what they accomplished!

All the folks involved deserved cudos, just the same as everyone that gives that extra to the community for hosting their events/displays do.


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Wow! I'm sorry for anyone who was offended. It was meant to express the enthusiasm of the event and let people know about next year. We had a great time and had a rather large get together and we were all excited about it.

As Terry said, I didn't ask for anything to be removed. In fact I said I was fine with his original post staying as well as my own reply, because if anyone else felt the way Terry did I wanted my answer to be there for them as well. When Terry told me he had already requested his post removed I assumed the quoted answer would be as well. I should have asked specifically I suppose. I think when the LOR Admin said "OP" that was a bit confusing- I am the OP on the thread but didn't request anything be removed.

My thanks to Terry for trying to explain this as well. I appreciate it my friend.

Again, my apologies to anyone who was offended. I hate that the intention of the post- which was to celebrate and invite folks for next year- is now lost entirely. So, as the OP (for real this time :)) I think it would be best that this thread just go away. There's clearly nothing here that benefits anyone. Aside from Greg's post (thanks Greg!) the whole tone of the thread is negative and I think it's just a miscommunication.

My last word on the Academy will be this: We had a great time and hope that anyone who wants to attend in the future gets the chance to do so. Everyone is welcome regardless of geographic location or forum affiliation.

Have a great Fourth of July week everyone.

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I just read through this whole post and happy it ended on a good note. If I had the extra cash to go, I would love to attend one of these events. This year and next, I'm doing all I can to build the display to where I want it and then settle down with expansion. I have only so much yard...

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I think when the LOR Admin said "OP" that was a bit confusing- I am the OP on the thread but didn't request anything be removed.

Yeah, what Ryan said. Meant to say that Terry asked his post be deleted, not the OP. Whoops.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This was the first "lighting" event I have attended, and it was awesome. I cannot wait to go again next year. It should be bragged about, and the event planners should be very proud of what they put together. It was three days of fantastic knowlwege sharing, and a fantastic opportunity to meet with the other crazies that love doing this.

I don't understand why there is so much bickering around here.

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This was the first "lighting" event I have attended, and it was awesome. I cannot wait to go again next year. It should be bragged about, and the event planners should be very proud of what they put together. It was three days of fantastic knowlwege sharing, and a fantastic opportunity to meet with the other crazies that love doing this.

I don't understand why there is so much bickering around here.


First of all, thanks for the kind words. We work hard on the Academy so hearing that you had such a great time is MUCH appreciated.

As for the bickering- I can't speak to the overall tone of the forums but I can give some background on the "Texas issue". Many years ago there was some... overzealous promotion of Texas-based events. It seemed that every other thread had some mention of those events and it was annoying and at time bordered on disrespectful. As someone in Texas even I could see where people would be more than frustrated with that. Derailing threads just isn't polite and unfortunately Texas got a reputation as braggarts and people would would post any and every where about their events.

But it's important to know (for everyone) that those were "pre-Lone Star Holidays" days and we have worked extremely hard to cultivate relationships (and in some cases REPAIR them) with other states/groups/event/individuals over the past 5 years. I think there will always be some watchful eyes on things when it comes to Texas events and groups but when those issues arise we seem to be successful at getting things smoothed out. In this case I posted what I did and Terry (and some others, based on the comments and reputation marks) felt it was bragging. You'll notice though that it was squashed very quickly and that is directly related to the relationship that Terry and I have. It was unfortunate but I'm a big boy and if something I write ruffles feathers I'd rather hear about it and work it out than just let it fester (which is why I prefer there was no editing- in real life there are no "do overs" you know?).

The Academy is a well planned and exciting event. So is ICE. So are the TASL meetings. So is C3. So is the LOR mini. And so are any of the events I didn't list. These are all put together by volunteer folks who simply want to create something that will get folks together and learn a bit. To me there's nothing better than that.

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  • 1 month later...

In the past 24 hours we have been contacted by some of the 2012 Academy attendees (from LSH and beyond) concerning an event of similar size has scheduled their bi-annual gathering on the same dates as the 2013 Academy. These people were confused, disappointed and, in some cases, angry. We wish this was not the case but this was not a decision on our part, as our event was open for registration on June 18th, two months ago. We could be angry about something like this but we at Lone Star Holidays want to accentuate the positive of our event and not focus on the negative of the scheduling situation:

  • The 2012 Academy hosted 242 people from 24 states. That’s registered attendees, not walk ins, and we're confident that based on our registration numbers so far (nearing 100!) we will exceed that in 2013.
  • There were over FIFTY unique class topics taught at the Academy in 2012. There is no other event that even comes close to the educational aspects of our event and we are extremely proud of that. The feedback on our education and quality of instructors over the past 5 years has been nothing short of extraordinary. We are, quite honestly, humbled by the support and kudos we receive on classes every year.
  • The cost of the Academy has never exceeded $75 (and is at an Early Bird price of $60 right now). We believe that the cost to the attendees and our vendor partners should be reasonable and should go along with our guiding principles as a non-profit organization. Everyone, from the planners to the instructors to the attendees, pays their registration fee to attend. This is not a money-making venture for us and it never will be.
  • The Academy happens every year and has never been cancelled or downgraded to a smaller event. We work within a well-planned out budget and consider the economic climate each and every year. We have made adjustments to our financial model over the past 5 years and will continue to do so. In short, what we say you'll receive is exactly that. We believe in underpromising and over delivering.

We are of course disappointed that attendees and vendors are going to have to choose between 2 events in 2013. Because we opened registration on June 18th and have almost 100 already paid to attend we wouldn't feel right about making a change (not to mention that we have our facility contracted and paid for). All we can do is continue to bring you the most economical and comprehensive decorating event that we can, and we promise we’ll always do that. Regardless of geography or forum/group affiliation, everyone is welcome to join us at the 2013 Academy.

Edited by Actionp
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