August 9, 2012- The second DeafNation World Expo wrapped up a stunning three-day exhibition from the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas. The DeafNation World Expo attracted over 16,000+ people from 65+ different countries, and was a remarkable step up from the 2010 World Expo. DeafNation CEO Joel Barish believes that this year’s DeafNation World Expo was much more memorable, “because of the quality of events, performers, and entertainment we hosted all week.”
The DeafNation World Expo kicked off on Sunday night with a celebration that took place under the lights of Fremont Street at the 3rd Street Stage. The Kick off celebration featured Las Vegas showgirls and 10 performances from all over the world. South Africa’s Braam Jordaan created a video montage that stretched across the Fremont Street Experience in a spine-tingling moment for anyone who watched the video that stretched across 1,500 feet. The Fremont Street stage area was packed with thousands of Deaf people who regardless of the sweltering heat, raved about the experience. To cap off the kick off celebration, SuperDeafy literally flew over the street on a zip line, his cape waving and a DeafNation flag soaring across the street in a memorable moment.
On Monday, the first-ever DeafNation Inspiration Awards reception recognized 8 inspirational winners from around the world in a fundraising dinner on behalf of the DeafNation Foundation. The reception was emceed by well-known actress and actor Marlee Matlin and John Maucere. Winners included Dr. Ádám Kósa (Politics), Braam Jordaan (Visual Arts), Marilyn Jean Smith (Advocacy), Nickson Kakiri (Advocacy), Roberto Wirth (Hotel Hospitality), Sean Berdy (Entertainment), Tai Lihua (Performing Arts), and Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz (Higher Education).
The Exposition took place across three days, featuring over 300 booths from dozens of countries. Exhibitors sold tech products, apparel, artwork, and much more. Others promoted organizations and businesses, and registered new customers. There was a stage in the Expo hall that featured non-stop entertainment, presenters, and performers from all day, every day. The DeafNation World Expo keynote presentation was given by Dr. Ádám Kósa, the only Deaf member of the European Union Parliament (representing Hungary). Spain’s Javier “Chavi” Guisado emceed the stage entertainment. Celebrities such as Marlee Matlin, Sean Forbes, Matt Hamill, and Sean Berdy were present and signing autographs for fans.
ZVRS won the Best of Show booth award for their exhibition space, which featured lounge chairs, the ZVan, and a slot machine that gave out prizes to customers. SeacretASL won the Best Large Booth award, AquaHands took home the Best Medium Booth prize, and Smith’s Metal Works won the Best Small Booth recognition.
The Wednesday night wrap-up party took place outside the Las Vegas Strip on the Brooklyn Bridge of the NYNY Hotel. Through a partnership with Deaf United Entertainment, more than 1,500 people packed the bridge for performances by Sean Berdy and John Maucere, and the headlining concert by Sean Forbes. DJ Supalee and DJ Def battled it out with their musical styling, creating a memorable close to an exciting week against the exciting backdrop of the Las Vegas strip.
“The Las Vegas World Expo is a result of two years of work by the DeafNation team, partners, volunteers, and sponsors,” explained Joel Barish. “We created the DeafNation World Expo to bring together the Deaf community from all over the world, in a week that celebrates our culture and heritage, promotes Deaf-owned businesses, and the individual experience of what it means to be a Deaf person. The DeafNation World Expo is the largest event for the Deaf anywhere in the world, and I believe it is an accurate representative of the diverse community that we have. We are a strong, talented community with many positive success stories to celebrate. For as long as there is a Deaf culture, there will be the DeafNation World Expo to recognize that fact.”
The DeafNation World Expo was made possible by Platinum Sponsors Sprint Relay, Sorenson Communications, Purple, and ZVRS. AT&T, Deaf Ambit Energy, and SeacretASL also sponsored at the Silver level. Photos and videos of all events, entertainment, and exhibitions will be available both on DeafNation.com and the DeafNation Facebook page at Facebook.com/DeafNation. You can continue to follow DeafNation news and information at the DeafNation Twitter account @DeafNation.