Good morning! It is now about 27 days from the beginning of the Grand Design Mid-Atlantic Owners’ Rally 2020, and as you might imagine, things are quite busy on our end. We did want to reach out to everyone to let you know what is going on, what to expect, and what you can do to get the most out of your event.
Those of you who know us WagonMasters, know we put our heart and soul into this event. We were the very first owner-run rally (2015), and have been the largest owner-run rally (the only one bigger is the National rally) since 2017. We have had a good run to date, being able to build on previous years’ experiences to become a (relatively) finely tuned machine…. before Covid. This year is new for everyone – literally. New social expectations, health expectations, new facility, new technology, and a growth of 100% over our next largest year – this year is going to be full of firsts. While we are going to continue to bust our tails to make another awesome event, it’s important to note that we are learning as we go as well, and there will be hiccups – please be kind, and remember we don’t get paid for this, everything collected that doesn’t go to the running of the event goes to our charity, Portsmouth Fisher House!
First, let’s address the topic on everyone’s mind – what are we doing with regards to Covid-19 safety? If you haven’t already seen it, we have what we believe to be a comprehensive plan to ensure that folks are as safe as can be. The short version of the long plan, is that we will be splitting our activities to maintain Health Department distancing requirements in the rooms in which we meet. We will make available specially colored lanyards that signify that you would like social distancing strictly followed (your option, with no explanation necessary). We are going to clean after every seminar session, and are optimizing all our processes to maximize efficiency, minimize contact , and maintain as sterile an environment as possible. While there is no way to guarantee anything, the steps planned are laid out here – http://www.gdmarally.com/rally2020/covid-19/.
We are splitting up the seminars, which have historically been all in one room, into 3 distinct locations:
- Group Rally Center
This is the physical location directly next to the main camp office. It will be in person, and it will be limited to the occupancy limitations set forth by the department of health at the time of the event. We estimate that number will be 50%, but will know more as we get closer. The Group Rally Center will be the only location where speakers will be physically present.
- Remote On-Site Tents
- Ops Tent (aka Raptor)
This tent (40′ by 60′) will be located next to the Ops Center, and will show a live stream of the session under way. We are planning on having a radio between the locations so that questions can be asked of the presenters, even if you are at a remote location, so you will still be able to interact with the speaker. Depending on availability of tables, it may be necessary to bring your own chair – this is something we hope to avoid.
- Field Tent (aka T-Rex)
This tent (40′ by 80′) will be located in the field adjacent to the main entrance gate. It will also show a live stream of the speaker(s), and will also have a radio for asking questions of the speaker. Depending on availability of tables, it may be necessary to bring your own chair – this is something we hope to avoid.
- Ops Tent (aka Raptor)
- Remote Streaming
We are working to make the videos available in real time from a streaming platform, enabling you to watch seminar sessions from the comfort of your RV on a streaming device (testing underway) in the event you don’t feel comfortable being in close proximity to others.
Another very common question is “Will Grand Design technicians be available to do X?” We expect that there will be limited Grand Design on-site support due to potential corporate travel limitations. If there are technicians, those technicians will be dedicated to addressing Recalls and Emergencies ONLY. These are the expectations in terms of engaging the techs (this is the only way we were able to get them permission from corporate to come help us)
- Do not approach the techs directly, they are all limiting their social interactions and maintaining social distancing for their own protection as directed by Grand Design.
- If there is an open recall, you will be contacted by Grand Design, based on the VIN you provided when you purchased your ticket.
- For their safety and yours, they will strictly be enforcing social distancing, and will require that all interactions involve the wearing of facial coverings.
- If work is to be performed on the interior of a unit, only one person is permitted inside with the tech at a time (again, since they will be all over, we want to limit the number of physical interactions as much as possible)
Detailed messaging around this process is coming soon!
A VERY important aspect of this event is that this is the first event we have run where we have to enforce security. Bethpage has a very large seasonal population, and it will be necessary for us to limit access to our activities to only rally attendees. To that end, everyone will receive a numbered wristband, which will be required in order to participate in any event function. This is VERY IMPORTANT – NO WRISTBAND, NO PARTICIPATION. You will be required to wear the band on your wrist securely, it cannot be in a place what will allow it to be moved between persons, and CANNOT be attached to your nametag!
What to expect on arrival:
When you arrive at the main gate at Bethpage, you will stop at the main entrance gate, where Bethpage staff will sign you in to the campground, and escort you to your RV site. Once you are set up at your site, you will need to go to the Ops Center (directions to be provided) to check into the actual rally.
The Check-in Process
At check-in, you will receive your event (“swag”) bag, as well as the on-site credentials you will need to participate in the event activities. There are two very important items:
- Your name badge (with holder and Grand Design lanyard)
MUST be worn at all times when participating in rally activities
- Your green event wrist band.
MUST be worn on your person at all times when participating in rally activities – MAY NOT BE ATTACHED TO YOURT NAMETAG
The process of picking up your credentials is intended to be quick, so that we can maintain social distancing for the volunteers who are helping with the registration process, as well as for attendees as well.
While we work on the next newsletter, please be sure that your information in Eventbrite is correct – if you have upgraded, changed guests, etc., please go to http://eventbrite.com and log in with the email address you used when you purchased your ticket. Then, in the upper right, click on the down-arrow, and go to Tickets, click on the rally ticket, and review your info. Should it need to be updated, click on “Edit” and make the needed changes.
We will be in touch again soon, and will give you more information to help you navigate the event – stay tuned, stay safe, and stay healthy 🙂