A Different Kind of Convention
By Brian Pitman, March 2012
As I sit writing my president’s message at a carnival glass auction (of course), I can’t help but let my mind wander (as it will sometimes do at an auction). Of course, carnival glass is always a part of my daydreams (I guess I am just wired that way). My daydreams today are focused on the Powerball lottery (which, as of this writing, has a $325 million payday). I wonder what I would do if I were the big winner…
The basics (payoff any debt I have, buy a ginormous house, an army of cars) are a given. I would also donate a good amount to various charities I volunteer for during the year (American Cancer Society and CASA, which helps children in the foster care system). Both have charity auctions I have coordinated before, and I would have a good friend of mine run me up (way, way up) on several items. THAT would be fun.
But then, of course, there is ICGA. First of all, we would never ever have to worry about whether ICGA was going to make it another 40+ years. It would, even if there were only one or two members. !e convention would change radically (one of my favorite daydreams!)
First, the convention would be on me. Including your hotel rooms. No registration fee, no fees for any of the meals (of which there would be more). I also think that would drive our attendance up significantly. I would hire buses from certain parts of the country to bring those who couldn’t afford gas (or didn’t have a reliable way to the convention). International travelers? Yep, I would help make that cheap too. I would try to mitigate or eliminate any reason out there which keeps you from attending. And once you got there, the fun would begin.
Upon checking into the convention (where you will be met by the ICGA crew who normally checks in attendees, but they will all be getting lush massages and manicure/pedicures while working the registration desk, and trust me, you haven’t seen how amazing lush treatments can be until you see Lee Markley getting a pedicure), you would be given a goody bag for attending. In it would be lots of carnival glass books (electronically, of course, on the iPads you are given at check-in), the best chocolates in the world, an ICGA leather jacket, Prada sunglasses, and other assorted niceties. Upon being whisked away to your suite (where staff would help you setup any tables and glass if you wish), you would receive a personal invitation to the “President’s Reception” with all the fantastic foods, beverages, coffees, etc. you could want. Special guests at this reception would include George Fenton, Howard Seufer, Garth Brooks (who would be persuaded to sing a few songs for us), and a comedian (I am torn between Billy Crystal and Betty White). Also in attendance would be the presidents of every carnival glass association (in the world).
Door prizes for the reception drawing would include a few new cars, a trip to Hawaii, a cruise, and a few People’s Vases (because I want to see if those with People’s Vases will say no when offered “crazy money” for their vases).
The first seminar would include a quick jet over to West Virginia, where we would tour the Fenton factory (what’s left of it). We would have an amazing catered lunch on the factory floor, in which we would have a toast to honor the 100+ years of contribution the company made to glass art in the world. After flying back to the convention hotel, we would have a cookout with live entertainment (probably someone in the classic rock genre, like the Beach Boys or Three Dog Night).
The next day we would have breakfast and a breakfast seminar (I am still a fan of them). I am thinking something like “what did you pay for it” where people bring a piece of glass that they got at a huge bargain, and we add a game show aspect to it (the top three winners would win a car, an RV, and a boat). Then we would have the display room (and afterwards, a drawing for each of the miniature plates, so everyone will walk out with at least one).
For the banquet, we go luau theme. Jimmy Buffett would be the entertainment (um, duh!) We would have a hog roast, hula dancers, the awards for best display (top prize is $50,000 cash), and a presentation by Galen and Kathi Johnson (who would incorporate a cool laser show and various celebrities into their presentation).
After the midnight pool party, everyone would wake up for the auction on Saturday (and everyone would discover a $10,000 gift certificate to the Seeck Auction company with their number, good only for the day of the auction). It would be the first ever $10 million
(or more) carnival glass auction. Geneva Leonard would dance a most fantastic jig (as would Jim Seeck, of course), and all bidding would be done on the iPads.
Yep, it would be a sight to see, don’t you think? But here’s why I always get excited about thinking about this carnival glass “what if ”: it would mean that you would have no reason not to attend. No reason not to enjoy yourself. No reason not to buy the carnival glass you really want. No reason not to have an experience that you would always remember. No reason not to sit in someone’s room (or fantastic suite) until early in the morning catching up, thinking about carnival glass and friends, laughing and smiling. No reason not to join the entire carnival glass world in one location where we can all be together.
Chances are, I won’t win the lottery. But I will still be at the convention, and I hope you will as well. I will be ready to enjoy your company, to laugh and enjoy myself, to sit in your room until early in the morning chatting, and to spend what money I do have to buy the glass I have always wanted. !e one thing I need for it to be the experience I will never forget is you. And so, I invite you to fill out the registration form in this issue of the Pump, to contact Ron and Carolyn Chesney and bring a small plate or two to the display room, to contact Fred Stone about our new Mega Silent Auction, and to come see our registration crew at the convention (where I may be the one giving them the massages and pedicures because they really, really deserve it). Come join us, and let’s make that unforgettable experience together.