Eyes on better tomorrow

AT NOTEBOOK: John W.C. Robinson

It’s just not a November, not remotely normal, without IAAPA Expo happening. 


Having attended IAAPA Expo since I was a kid, this time of year feels truly odd to not be planning a trip to Orlando. The Expo is always scheduled right around my birthday, so even when I did not attend, I remember my father planning and loading for the Expo and finding a way to celebrate before he left town.

The entirety of the 2020 season just wasn’t what most of us would’ve ever expected it to be. Nothing has symbolized just how much our industry is struggling right now than the cancellation of IAAPA Expo 2020.

However, just like much of these past several months, we get through it by sharing with family and keeping our eyes on the better days that lie ahead. We’re looking forward to the time we can do things again like we’ve done them for years, even decades, prior.

And, in this industry, we’re all family. 

So, I’m looking ahead to IAAPA Expo 2021. I’m looking ahead to spending time with my family. I’m looking forward to the little traditions of the Expo. I’m keeping my eyes on thoughts of raising a toast with the rest of NEAAPA in rememberance of Tom Morrow, to stepping on the gas in a go kart race at Fun Spot America with the team from Rides 4 U, to walking the showfloor in a neck tie made from the artwork of Skyline Attractions’ Chris Gray. 

Most importantly, I’m not taking those moments remotely for granted again and I’m planning to be part of creating new ones.

Every IAAPA Expo for the past several years, I’ve wanted to run the Footprints From The Heart 5K to benefit Give Kids The World Village. In 2021, there’ll be no sleeping in or double-booking myself. I’ll be at the start line and crossing the finish line.

After more than 20 years of thinking about it, I used the time during this pandemic to finally earn my motorcyle endorsement on my license. At IAAPA Expo 2021, I’ll be coming into Orlando early specifically to partake in the 10th Annual Motorcycle Ride also benefitting Give Kids The World Village.

Most of 2020 was not what any of us had planned on or hoped. What 2021 is like, however, that we still have some control of. We can look forward to it, make the most of it and plan to make it — and every year, every Expo to follow — better than ever before.