2019 Home and Garden Expo in Second Life

via slhomeandgardenexpo.com

The 11th Home and Garden Expo (HGE) in support of Relay for Life of Second Life and the American Cancer Society, is currently open, and will remain so until Sunday, April 7th, 2019. Taking place across ten regions (Hope 1 through 10) and the new Linden Homes preview region, the event offers some of the finest in home, garden, and furnishing designs available across the grid.

With over 100 exhibitors taking part, the event offers something for anyone who is looking for a new home, ideas for furnishing and décor, wishing to improve their building (or other) skills, or who just wishes to keep abreast of the latest building / home trends in Second Life.

The Home and Garden Expo Theatre

As always, the Expo there will be a range of events and activities, including entertainment and dancing, classes, a dedicated gacha region, talks and discussions, artists, and more. There is also:

  • The Silent Auction – featuring some stunning prizes – visit the auction boards in-world.
  • The Expo Hunt: follow the hints, visit all the main expo regions (in any order you choose), and pay L£10 for each prize (all proceeds to RFL of SL).
  • Visit the Home Decorating Competition and watch as the finalist decorate their assigned homes (March 20th – March 28th) and then vote on which you like the best (March 29th – 5th April), with the winners announced on April 6th.
  • Participate in the Lantern Ceremony at the main theatre. This ceremony goes back to 2012, when Alchemy Immortalis created the Blue Willow lanterns especially for the Home and Garden Expo. It became the custom to release them each day at 4pm, and people would gather to watch and reflect as the lanterns rose slowly into the air.

Don’t forget as well, that you can see a preview of the first designs for the new Linden Homes that will be made available to premium members in the near future.  You can also read more able these homes in my New Linden Homes Preview.

The first designs for the new Linden Homes for Premium members can be previewed at the Home and Garden Expo

About the Expo

The Home and Garden Expo raises money for Relay For Life of Second Life (RFL of SL). Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fund-raising event, and RFL of SL is one of its virtual counterparts. 100% of registration fees, sponsorship fees and donation items are paid to Relay For Life of Second Life. 50% of the proceeds from the gachas will be paid to RFL and 100% of the L$10 hunt items.


Fantasy Faire 2019: a region teaser and a call to bloggers

via Fantasy Faire

Fantasy Faire, the largest fantasy-related event to take place in Second Life, opens its portals on Thursday, April 18th and runs through until Sunday, May 5th, 2019 inclusive. It will bring together everyone with a love of fantasy  – enthusiasts, creators, performers and designers  – for eleven days of commerce, special events, live music concerts and more, all to help raise funds for Relay for Life of Second Life.

All of the sixteen regions and their designers have yet to be announced in full, but nine have been outlined as a teaser:

  • Bayounimba  by Sweetgwendoline Bailey and Mondi Beaumont: a place that has gone from art and light within a forest to a place of darkness and swamp, where half-remembered echoes might still be found.
  • Department Discarded Curiosities by Mayah Parx: a place of whimsical clutter, collected and tossed aside, where colour and curiosity reside.
  • The Light of Valoth by Kilik Lekvoda: a once glorious city once protected by Nature, but now reclaimed by her.
  • Midas by Alia Baroque: where rivers meet, the jewel of the ancient world is born. Follow the trail of incense through baths and gardens to meet the one that will touch your heart of gold.
  • Nightshade Blossoms by Rowan Thursday and Kylie Todriya: a window on a land forgotten by time lit by lanterns and starlight.
  • Sanguinely Garden by Eldowyn Inshan and Katz Republic: humanity destroys its own environment. and the animals and plants are building a new home. The garden with its inhabitants shows them a new way.
  • The Shrine Tree by Marcus Inkpen and Sharni Azalee: a place of Dark Mystical Fantasy where sunset colours the world and the occult, mystical, Gothic and spiritual might be found.
  • Tensors’ Flying Market by Lrriven: a place of endless antiquities and curiosities,  one of the Dreaming’s most wondrous of destinations.
  • Twilight Spring by Searlait Nitschke:  a place of worship for Dark Elves and Drow, where dance, music, and celebration might be found.
Fantasy Faire 2018: Erstwhile

Call to Bloggers

On Monday, March 18th, 2019, applications to be a 2018 Fantasy Faire blogger opened, with the announcement reading in part:

Faire blogging should stem from the same source the Fairelands do: inspiration and imagination. There are no obligatory assignments. Instead there are challenges. We do not want to force anyone to do anything, we want to inspire, dare, encourage: challenge.

We are looking for bloggers that genuinely love the Faire and cherish the fleeting time the Fairelands visit our realm. Since the application is mostly about getting into the early access, we are focusing on bloggers who take pictures in the sims, or of the sims. Studio-work is not dependent on if the sims are laggy or not, after all. We are also searching for bloggers with strong ties to RFL, who are passionate about the Relay and willing to write about it. I am also always, always looking for and favouring good writers and storytellers.

If you would like to chronicle the Faire, make sure you complete the blogger application form (also produced below) BUT! – don’t hurry there right away; as with past Fantasy Faires, there are a few little extra things to consider!

Bloggers are additionally invited to participate in one or more challenges. These are not obligatory, and anyone  – official blogger or otherwise – is free to participate in them. They are:

  • Faire Folk – create a Fairelands character based on one of the Faireland region themes, and bring that character to life through photography and / or writing
  • My New Shiny – merchant-focused blogging from a personal perspective.
  • I Remember – write about your favourite Fairelands of the past.
  • Faire Life – get involved in a Faire event – roleplay, literary workshop, attending a dance or other performance – and write about it.
  • Why I Relay – share a personal reason why you Relay.

Those applying can also apply to write for the official Fantasy Faire website. This has no influence on the actual blogger selection for the Faire, and should be filled only if you are truly interested.

So, if you are interested, make sure you check-out all the information for bloggers and that you complete the application form, either below or on the official Fantasy Faire website.


Additional Links

Fantasy Faire 2019: theme and dates announced; merchant applications open

via Fantasy Faire

Update: The Merchant Application Form is now available – click here if you’re interested.

Fantasy Faire, the largest fantasy-related event to take place in Second Life, has announced both the theme for the 2019 event and its dates.

Once again raising money for the global work of the American Cancer Society as a part of the Relay for Life of Second Life 2019 season, Fantasy faire will this year have the theme of Builders of Hope. 

2019 marks the eleventh year for Fantasy Faire, which has traditionally been slated to run eleven days each year, but this year it will be a little different, as the press release announcing the event notes:

Fantasy Faire has always officially lasted eleven days, and in recent years we’ve been fortunate to have a few extra days added. This year we’re making it official: our formal programming will still conclude with our One Team dance party marathon on Monday, April 29th, but now we invite you to join us for an additional week of shopping, questing, and exploring as the Fairelands will be open through Sunday, May 5th. That’s a total of eighteen days of the Faire – and you never know when something unexpected might happen in that final week!

So in total, Fantasy Faire will run from Thursday, April 18th through until Sunday, May 5th, 2019, inclusive.

Fantasy Faire 2018: Aetherea (Alia Baroque)

As with previous years, Fantasy Faire 2019 will comprise 10 shopping regions hosting 200 of Second Life’s top Fantasy Creators, offering the most comprehensive opportunity for fantasy shopping. In addition, there will be a further six regions focusing on entertainment, the Fairelands Quest, art, the Fantasy Faire Literary Festival, and the Worldling Collection.

All of the regions will be designed and themed by some of Second Life’s top designers, making the event a must-see even if fantasy isn’t a major part of your life. And throughout it all, there will be opportunities to show your support for ACS and the global work of cancer treatment, care and prevention via direct donation or by purchasing some of the many items participating merchants will be selling, with all or part of the proceeds going to RFL of SL and the American Cancer Society.

As always, I’ll be doing my best to provide updates and relay news on Fantasy Faire through the pages of this blog – but to keep right up-to-date on things, be sure to visit the Fantasy Faire website, and follow the event via the social media links below.

Additional Links

RFL 2019: team registrations and Information Day

via RFL of SL

The 2019 Relay for Life Second Life fund-raising season is approaching, and with it comes some changes, some of which have been previously noted in these pages.

Chief among the changes are the move of a couple of key dates:

  • The kick-off weekend for the core 16 weeks of activities will launch at 10:00 SLT on Saturday, February 16th, 2019.
  • The Relay Weekend will take place on Saturday June 8th and Sunday June 9th, roughly a month earlier than has tended to previously be the case.  This will once again feature a number of key activities, including:
    • The Opening Ceremony.
    • Survivor / Caregiver walk.
    • Luminaria Ceremony.
    • Closing Ceremony.

Team registrations for the season opened on Sunday, January 20th, at part of the ACS National Recruitment Challenge, which runs January 20th through February 3rd, 2019.

As noted on the Second life Relay Information website, people can also participate in a number of other ways, including:

  • Attending RFL of SL events.
  • Merchants, creators and club owners can:
    • Place RFL kiosks and / or vendors in their shops / clubs.
    • Display RFL information in their businesses.
    • Donate ad board space.
    • Gift cards and / creations can be donated either to teams or for Relay auctions and raffles.
  • Live Singers and DJs can donate their services at Relay For Life events.
  • Group owners can  notices about Relay For Life events.
  • People can sponsor RDL of SL events – contact Ariel Stormcrow or Dianna Wycliffe for more information.
  • Land holders can donate their land for an RFL of SL event.

American Cancer Society Information Day

Information Day

Want to learn more about the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life and / or RFL of SL? Then why not drop in to one of the Information Day sessions being held on Sunday, January 27th, 2019.

The day will see four meet and greet sessions take place:

  • 06:00-08:00 SLT
  • 10:00-12:00 SLT
  • 14:00-16:00 SLT
  • 18:00-20:00 SLT

Each of these sessions will include the opportunity to hear about Relay for Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Survivor Support Groups, Caregiver Support Groups, connecting Second Life to Real Life American Cancer Society.

The Information Day will take place on the American Cancer Society island, As well as these sessions, there will also be entertainment from:

  • Austin Moores 12:00 noon SLT.
  • Max Kleene 13:00 SLT.
  • Relay Rap 16:00 SLT.
  • Keeba and the Tiny Maniacs 17:00.

For a full schedule of the event, please contact Nuala Maracas or Trader1 Whiplash in-world.

RFL of SL: an important update and KNH Hope Hostel news

via RFL of SL

In mid-December, I offered an update on Relay For Life of Second Life, which included news on the KNH Hope Hostel, and the slightly less positive news that it appeared as if Stingray Raymaker, so long the guiding force of RFL in Second Life and the conduit Second Life and the American Cancer Society (ACS), had departed the organisation.

Well, as it turns out, there is more news on both – and the news is very positive.

Stingray had broken the news of his (then) impending departure from ACS at the end of November, emphasising that while it was due to occur on December 7th, he was confident that ACS’s work in Second Life would continue.

Well – the work will continue – and with Stingray still very much actively involved, having accepted a new position with ACS, as he notes himself:

As you all probably know, my last day as Director, RFL Online Revenue was on December 7, 2018. I have continued to support our volunteers in Second Life during the past weeks while applying and interviewing for other jobs. For those who wish to keep up, I am proud to share with you that I have found a new job that I started Monday, December 17 and the best thing about this new job is that I get to continue working with you all in Second Life. In fact, Second Life is one of the most important priorities that I am responsible for now as the new Sr. Consultant, Virtual Community Development for the American Cancer Society.

The new position stands in recognition of the huge amount of support virtual world residents  – particularly those engaged in Second Life – have given to the American Cancer Society over the years, and came about as a result of ACS leaders meeting with members of the Second Life Relay community, allowing them to gain an even greater understanding of the potential offered by virtual environments.

This is actually very good news, and I’d like to extend my congratulations to Stingray on his new role.

More on the KNH Hope Hostel

As I’ve previously reported in these pages, the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Hope Hostel is the flagship of a programme to expand the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge facilities world-wide. These provide free accommodations for cancer patients and their caregivers during treatment. More than a place to stay, a Hope Lodge can be an essential part of cancer care for many. In 2014, for example, over 44,000 cancer patients and caregivers stayed at a Hope Lodge in the United States, accumulating over 276,000 free nights of accommodation with access to a range of facilities such as a social centre, library, and laundry, all of which they otherwise might not have been able to afford.

Artist rendering of the Hope Hostel from the Kenyatta National Hospital website

As a part of the initiative, the 2018 RFL of SL Fantasy adopted the KNH Hope Hostel as the recipient of all funds raised.

The total cost to build the new hostel and operate it for two years has been put at US $2.8 million. Thanks to a goal effort by supporters of the American Cancer Society – including Second Life residents – all but US $300,000 has now been raised.

The incredible amounts of money raised by Relayers in Second Life, and their commitment to help us finish the job of funding the KNH Hope Hostel has been an inspiration to our Matching Sponsors. It has gone a long way to convincing them – and us! – that we can get to the finish line in 2019. 

Kristen Solt, ACS Managing Director of Global Alliances.

A plan is now being developed to rally support from Relay For Life teams in Second Life along with those in other virtual and digital communities, as well as in brick-and-mortar Relay For Life events to raise the remaining US $300,000. As well as participating in these efforts during the 2019 RFL of SL season, those who wish can donate directly to the KNH project. Note that all donations made through this page will be automatically matched by ACS Matching Sponsors.

There is a wonderful Kenyan proverb which states that sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. The kinds of partnerships that are emerging through this project – connecting communities across the world including those throughout the metaverse – are proof that when we work together there is nothing we can’t achieve.

Zander Greene, Fantasy Faire of Second Life Co-Captain

So, here’s wishing the ACS and the RFL teams all the very best for the 2019 season, and to seeing the ground broken and work started on the KNH Hope Hostel.

I’ll have more on the KNH Hope Hostel, and of course on the work of the RFL of SL team and fund-their raising throughout 2019.

With thanks to Zander Greene.

RFL of SL: updates, changes and events at year-end

via slrelayinfo.com

With the year drawing to a close, so to do the 2018 fund-raising efforts for the American Cancer Society (ACS) through Relay for Life of Second Life (RFL).

As I write this, the annual Xmas Expo has closed, having raised US $20,495 in  just 10 days. Currently, the RFL of SL SciFi Mini Expo is running, having opened its doors on December 14th – more on that below.

One of the criticisms of RFL of SL / ACS is that it is “US centric”, a claim that isn’t entirely accurate. ACS works on a global basis in cancer treatment and care, and for 2018, this has been demonstrated through RFL of SL adopting the Kenyatta National Hospital Hope Hostel, Kenya, part of the ACS’s initiative to expand its Hope Lodge project around the world, providing free accommodation for cancer patients and their caregivers during treatment, who might not otherwise be able to receive treatment away from home due to difficulties in meeting the costs of accommodation, etc.

The Kenyatta National Hospital Hope Hostel project represents the first international expansion of the Hope Lodge project because cancer is a leading cause of death within Kenya, where death rates from the disease among the populace have remained almost unchanged in 30 years. For 2018, the project was adopted by Fantasy Faire, which raised US $48,019 for the project. Further support for KNH will be provided via the proceeds from the Xmas Expo, some / all of which will be put towards funding two Patient Navigators to work with the more than 1500 cancer patients at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.

Artist rendering of the Hope Hostel from the Kenyatta National Hospital website

You can read more about the KNH Hope Hostel here, and about the ACS Patient Navigation programme here.

Also in 2018, RFL of SL saw a broadening of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer season, while the RFL of SL team also took a hard look at how to better position itself for fund-raising and community engagement in 2019 and beyond. The latter included outlining a new volunteer structure, and planned adjustments to the RFL season within Second Life.

As with all things however, there are inevitable bumps in the road that can result in things having to change somewhat. And such is the case with RFL of SL.

On November 29th, 2018, and very quietly so as not to cause upset, Stingray Raymaker, who has helmed the liaison between AC and RFL of SL since 2008, announced he would be departing ACS in December 2018. In a touching letter on the RFL of SL website, he reviews his nine years as the ACS staff partner with RFL volunteers in Second Life. As he notes in that letter:

This does not mean that the American Cancer Society has chosen to end its presence in Second Life, but it does mean that our new vision for the future will need to be adjusted. While I fully expect that the American Cancer Society will assign a new staff partner to work with our volunteers in Second Life, this kind of transition will be easiest if we all focus on the essential tasks to provide quality cancer patient/survivor/caregiver support and Relay For Life/Making Strides Against Breast Cancer events.

Our ACS support outreach and advocacy team of Nikki Mathieson, Trager Alter, and MamaP Alter will continue to advocate for and support our Season Team and our 24-Hour Team.

– Stingray Raymaker

As a demonstration that RFL work will continue, with the 2019 RFL of SL website already published, and which will open for early registrations on Sunday, January 20th, 2019. In addition:

  • The ACS support outreach and advocacy team of Nikki Mathieson, Trager Alter, and MamaP Alter will continue to advocate for and support the Season Team and 24-Hour Team.
  • The Leads for the Season Team and the 24-Hour Team will continue to plan and execute the 2019 Relay for Life.
  • The Fundraising Tools will be unaffected.

However, the transitional period does mean that the planned ACS / RFL Community Gateway project has been put on hold, as has the 5-Days of Relay.

There will doubtless be further updates on all of this via the SL Relay Info website, and I’ll obviously aim to try to keep abreast of the news and report it here.

In the meantime, I’d like to take a belated opportunity to thank Stingray, someone I’ve only recently come to know, more’s the pity, for all of his work over the last nine years and for his enthusiasm for Second Life and its community; in particular, I’d like to publicly acknowledge his support and encouragement when I was having to face the threat of cancer myself at the start of 2018.

RFL of SL SciFi Mini Expo

SciFi Mini Expo

For those wishing to give further end-of-year support for RFL of SL fund-raising work, then as noted above, the SciFi Mini Expo is currently underway, and is being hosted on the ground level at Solaris Space Station, a Second life Role-Play Community. The event will run through until  Sunday, December 23rd, 2018.

The setting has a suitably wintry feel to it, but overall, details are a little scant. You can check the event calendar for entertainment at the Expo (ignore the title of the calendar – it does in fact refer to 2018!), but the best way to see what is available is obviously to pay a visit.

There is a fair selection of booths for role-play groups etc, plus a ski / sled run is available, alongside of a zipline ride, while ice skating can be found down on the ground.. The theatre is nicely arranged as the bridge of the original Enterprise NCC-1701 (with additional seating) – although the advertised film showings were at the time of my visit (and not a little amusingly) for The Orville.

Playing with Star Trek starships at the SciFi Mini Expo – which offers a Constitution class cruiser (l) and a Klingon D7 to play with

Alongside the Expo region is a second (reached via the maglev style car circling both regions) is a broader events area. Not specifically Expo themed, it does have RFL kiosks scattered around it, and offers various activities. These include a Warbugs air combat airstrip with ‘plane rezzer and – for those wishing to keep in the sci-fi spirit, a starship rezzer specifically for the Expo, offering a choice of classic Star Trek Constitution class cruiser or snazzy classic Klingon D7.  I confess, I found flying these around a lot of fun 🙂 . Should you opt for the latter, please consider a donation to RFL of SL at the nearby kiosk.