Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bellevue's in the Baby Convention Business Now?

An attentive reader alerted me to the latest... gimmick?... money-making scheme?... new member drive?... at Bellevue. I'm not sure exactly how this fits into the grand scheme of things, but here it is.

Mid-South Baby Expo 2011

Bellevue isn't the main sponsor of this event (to my knowledge), but they are providing the facilities and will have a big presence. In the past this annual event, like most "conventions" of this type, has been held at the Agricenter International, but this year it's being held at Bellevue.

The question is... why? Mainly, I believe there's money in it for the church. I'm sure they get a percentage of the admission price. (Someone can correct me if I'm wrong about that.) Someone -- the sponsors, the attendees, the exhibitors -- someone is paying for the use of the facilities, the utilities, the clean-up, traffic control, extra staff, security, etc. I believe money is the driving force behind much of what they do. Not all, but much. In a charitable nod, the church is providing bus service for women in "underserved" areas.

If they can attract some new members with this thing -- with kids (future replacement giving units!) -- then all the better. However, those in the age bracket having babies generally aren't the big givers. If they were smart they wouldn't have run off so many of the older givers, but that ship sailed ages ago.

To date there are over 60 exhibitors (Bellevue has reserved a booth 3 booths), and sponsorship packages are available. In addition to being an exhibitor, Bellevue is one of the "anchor" sponsors (hence the 3 booths as opposed to just one). "Anchor" sponsors appear to be a step above "participating" sponsors. I'm reminded of the FBC Jacksonville Pastors' Conference silver, gold, and platinum sponsorships. I wonder how much it costs to be an "anchor" sponsor.

I see four radio station logos on the sponsors page. Generally when radio stations are present at an event they blare their music from vans. Will the church parking lot be filled with the sounds of "maximum rock," "Gen X music," "classic soul," and the sweet strains of "today's best country"? What, no K-LOVE or "The River"?

Some of the
activities and seminars include a babies and children's fashion show, a maternity fashion show, breastfeeding seminars, pediatric consults, an "infant safety zone," spa treatments for mom, and a "Daddy Zone" complete with "daddy obstacle course" where dads will wear the "pregnancy belly." (I think some of those guys wear the pregnancy belly all the time.) Turner Dairy will be serving up pickles and ice cream. Yum! And there'll be door prizes! And... if you run short of cash and want to buy more stuff from the exhibitors' booths, why there's an ATM machine right there in the west lobby.

As the trendy bracelets remind us... WWJD? I think there'd be some serious table-turning-over going on at Bellevue on April 2nd. But again, on second thought....