In previous years, it hasn't been quite so much of a problem to be able to judge the awards, as getting them to the individual groups hasn't required that we be aware of protocols including not being able to meet up in person.
So what, I hear everyone ask, there's always PDF's of the product to look through, not seeing the problem.
Historically, the expo awards have been judged on several different criteria, and many of the products submitted can't be judged objectively by a PDF (or indeed, don't have PDFs of them), so meeting up was agreed to be the best way forwards.
For the last two weeks, I've been journeying up and down the country and taking all submissions to the judges, or they've been coming to me and we've been doing the judging out in a garden with whatever lights we could find to make the best of things when the daylight started to give in.
As always, the judges are appropriately bribed for their services with a good meal and as much as they can drink, and as always, we never name the judges, except to be clear that none of the judges have worked on any of the awards submitted, and range in age from low teens to mid fifties to get a good range of different perspectives on what has been put forwards.
As Expo has grown in popularity, so too have the awards, and we had to split them into categories a few years back. For these reviews, we won't be giving the judges marks or making comment on how well the product did, but we will be noting what was particularly noticed about it and if there were particular positive/negative things said about the submissions.
After six hours of judging, even the coffee couldn't keep us at it. With that, a big thanks to all the judges for all their work in this, we couldn't do it without you.