The 23rd meeting of the Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (MACNA for short) was just a few weeks ago and I wanted to take a moment to briefly explain the process that determines where MACNA is held each year. The last 23 MACNAs have been held all over the country and even two were in Canada. Here is an historical listing of which clubs have hosted MACNA over the years and when they were held:
I – Marine Aquarium Society of Toronto April 22-23, 1989
II – Cleveland Saltwater Enthusiasts Association April 21-22, 1999
III – Windows to the Sea Marine Aquarium Society (New Jersey) April 20-21, 1991
IV – Florida Marine Aquarium Society September 20-21, 1992
V – Marine Aquarium Society of Toronto September 12-13, 1993
VI – Cleveland Saltwater Enthusiasts Association October 14-16, 1994
VII – Louisville Marine Aquarium Society September 14-16, 1995
VIII – Kansas City Metro Aquatics Council October 11-13, 1996
IX – Chicago Marine Aquarium Society September 12-14, 1997
X – Marine Aquarium Society of Los Angeles September 25-27, 1998
XI – Louisville Marine Aquarium Society September 10-12, 1999
XII – Florida Marine Aquarium Society (Fort Lauderdale) September 29 – October 1, 2000
XIII – Chesapeake Marine Aquarium Society (Baltimore) August 17-19, 2001
XIV – Dallas-Fort Worth Marine Aquarium Society September 27-29, 2002
XV – Louisville Marine Aquarium Society September 5-7, 2003
XVI – Boston Reefers Society October 14-16, 2004
XVII – Washington D.C. Area Marine Aquarium Society September 16-18, 2005
XVIII – Marine Aquarium and Reef Society of Houston September 22-24, 2006
XIX – Pittsburgh Marine Aquarium Society September 14-16, 2007
XX – Atlanta Reef Club September 5-7, 2008
XXI – New Jersey Reefers Club (Atlantic City) September 25-27, 2009
XXII – Orlando Reef Caretakers Association September 3-5, 2010
XXIII – Greater Iowa Reef Society (Des Moines) September 9-11, 2011
The next MACNA will be held in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Where MACNA is held is a rather simple matter; it goes to whichever MASNA member club submits the best bid as determined by the Board of Directors of MASNA. Think of the MACNA, MASNA, and host club relationship like that of the Olympics, International Olympic Committee, and the Olympic host cities. Just like cities from around the globe submit bids to the IOC in the hopes of luring the Olympics to them, host clubs must submit competing bids to MASNA to win the privilege of hosting a MACNA in their hometown. MACNA will never magically appear in your hometown unless the local club makes a strong effort to bring it there and then takes the lead in organizing and hosting the event.
When looking at suitable venues to hold a MACNA, some figures are going to be important. For the last three years, where we have good data, the average number of attendees has been just under 1,300 and they have required a little over 1,500 room nights in their hotels. That means the hotel is going to have to be able to reserve about 500 rooms in one block for the event for Friday and Saturday nights. Since most hotels will only reserve a maximum of approximately 80% of their totals rooms, this means suitable hotels will have 625 total rooms or more. Additionally, the tradeshow has grown to 150-200 10’ by 10’ booths, which requires a large exhibition space. Anyone seriously considering bidding should contact the board of directors of MASNA to get a detailed report prior to approaching hotels.
I would also strongly encourage clubs interested in hosting a MACNA to contact their local visitors and convention bureau for assistance. These organizations will recommend suitable venues and assist in setting up tours of those facilities. And best yet, they do this free of charge!
Planning and hosting a MACNA is surely a lot of work, but it is also very rewarding. It can also be very profitable for your club. These monies will allow the club to bring in more out of town speakers for the membership to learn from or permit substantial donations to aquariums in the school programs or other non-profit endeavors.
If you are interested in learning more, please contact MASNA at firstname.lastname@example.org