We are indeed working on the First MEGA Event for South Africa. We really believe it will be possible. A Mega Event is not restricted to just the geocachers within the country, but to all geocachers from around the world.
The minimum number of attendees of people (geocacher or not) is 500. So if the average geocaching team consits of 2 people, you would need at least 250 teams attending. We think it is very doable. A lot of marketing and begging may be required, but it is possible.
In terms of the rules from Groundspeak, an Event is not given "MEGA" status until it has at least met the first requirement of a minimum of 500 people. Then they also have a rule that they don't give Mega status to the first Event which has over 500 people attending. The usually only give Mega status to the second 500+ people event. However, they did say that if it was the first Event to reach more than 50o people, they would consider to give Mega status if specially requested to reconsider the rules. We motivated this by telling them that we do not have a large geocaching community and it would be a huge effort to get one done, and they said they would look into it. So there is no guarantee.
We had a long chats to Tricky Vicky & Mickey who attended the Mega in Scotland this year. They gave us lots of advice. The most important piece of advice was that it will take at least two years to arrange and plan a Mega Event. So mid 2011 is out of the question. We need time in order to get some fundraising done, as a Mega costs money and we cannot ask people to pay for it upfront. We can give people the option of paying something, but they would need to get a geocoin or something for it. Getting geocoins requires money upfront, as well as Venue hire, etc.
In terms of location. That will be a tricky one to decide. I think it is unfair to say that some geocachers won't travel further than 100Km for a Mega Event. Guys this will be the FIRST and maybe ONLY Mega in South Africa and 1time has cheap flights, so there is NO reason to say that you can't fly up to Gauteng, or Mpumulanga or wherever the venue is decided. It will be a ONCE IN A LIFETIME experience, so if you know about it two years in advance, start saving and make a plan to attend.
As part of our preparation and planning, we will be going to two Mega Events in Europe next year August 2011. Yep, us little South Africans will be travelling the globe to attend two Megas so please don't tell me that a Capetonion won't cross the Vaal river for a Mega in SA!!
The first Mega will be in Finland, and that will be their first Mega too. They were awarded Mega status when after a week they had over 400 Will Attend Logs. That is all it took for them, and now they have over 700 Will Attend logs. There are cachers coming from all over the world - not just Finland. The second Mega will be in Germany two weeks later. We will learn a lot from these guys.
When we started researching this Mega idea last year already, I was in contact with the team that did their first Mega in Austria. The important thing is to have a venue that offers all sorts of accommodation and is easily accessible. Remember, it is not only locals that would be attending. Then there are the "sub Events" which are little Events part of the Mega and then the invitation for all the businesses to come and sell their wares, including gps companies, geocoin companies, etc.
The planning and organisation is paramount, and we would need to set up a committee with representatives from each Province, as each rep would need to rally his/her geocaching community to attend. Some Megas involved the ENTIRE community/suburb/village, such as Finland's one. That would make it work.
This is not an overnight thing, it is a future thing that will take time, money and loads of effort.
The MOST IMPORTANT aspect though, is to be passionate about geocaching and to want to attend the Mega. Without that the Mega will not be possible. So if we do not have at least 250 committed teams to attend, it won't work. I would like to believe that we do have this, or at least the few passionate teams that we do have could do some convincing in their area.
Thanks Team vdlo for opening this thread. I've been meaning to do it for months now, but never got round to it due to work commitments. Thanks to Tricky Vicky & Mickey, we got a lot of guidance of what to do for SA and in time (after Aug next year) we'll be much more wiser.
The Mega would need to happen in 2012 or 2013 depending when we decide to have it. September has been put forward as an option, and the requirement for it to be during school holidays. Winter is not the ideal time unless you're at the Natal coast, but this is just the start of great things to happen!