AAW leadership has been closely monitoring the status of Covid-19 in preparation for our 35th Annual International Symposium, July 15-18, in Omaha, NE. Above all else, our concern continues to be the health and safety of our members, demonstrators, trade show vendors, partners, and other event attendees.
At its February meeting, the AAW Board of Directors unanimously made the essential decision to cancel the in-person 2021 AAW Symposium in Omaha. Based on research, risk assessment, and adherence to CDC guidelines, the Board has determined that holding a safe, high-quality, in-person event in July is not possible.
While we expected the Covid-19 pandemic to recede by July 2021, too many uncertain variables remain, including vaccine distribution and efficacy, and evolving virus variants. The Board concluded that even when following CDC and local COVID-19 transmission precautions, we cannot guarantee safety for all involved given the large number of people assembling from around the country and the world.
While this is incredibly disappointing for all of us, we are moving ahead to create an improved AAW Virtual Symposium for 2021 and are actively planning our next in-person symposium for 2022. You can look forward to:
- AAW’s 2021 Virtual Symposium, July 17-18, 2021, with front-row seats from home for your safety and comfort. We will be using an enhanced virtual event software platform to offer multiple concurrent live demonstration tracks (with access after the conference to all recordings), a virtual trade show, a virtual Instant Gallery, live and silent auctions, special interest topics, drawings, and more. The only thing missing will be the handshakes and hugs from old and new woodturning friends. You will need to wait one more year for that.
- An in-person AAW 36th Annual International Symposium, June 23-26, 2022, in Chattanooga, TN. This large, action-packed experience marks the celebrated comeback of AAW’s Symposium after a two-year virus-related hiatus. There will be plenty of demonstrations and panel discussions, a jam-packed trade show with exhibitor booths, inspiring exhibitions and Instant Gallery, auctions of turned art, charitable initiatives, networking opportunities, and more. Mark your calendars!
Please know that protecting the health and safety of our members is our single most important consideration. As we continue to address the challenges of Covid-19 and its impact, we thank you for your patience, understanding, flexibility, and support.
We offer our best wishes for health and safety to each of you and to those you care about.
Phil McDonald, Executive Director
on behalf of the AAW Board of Directors and Staff