ICGA President’s Message

Messages from the President September 2023

2024 Brings A Bit of Old and a Bit of New

The 2023 ICGA Annual Convention ended very successfully with an auction that generated around $250,000 in sales, a lot of happy faces and smiles, and an overall good time for the many who attended. If you didn’t make it to this year’s convention, we hope to see you next year at the 2024 convention. As always, a team of volunteer members gave a lot of effort to make this year’s convention so much fun and our big thanks of gratitude goes to all of them!

So at this year’s convention, I got to have some chats with various attendees to see what was working for them in terms of conventions in carnival glass, as well as what maybe had passed into the past, where they should remain fondly in our memories. Some things people mentioned to me:

  • Big City conventions are probably a thing of the past.
    There was a time when we would go to places like Indianapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, etc. and get a great hotel, a great room rate and a wonderful time. But these days, coming close to larger cities means you either end up out in the boonies with no restaurants and other things to enjoy are anywhere near the hotel, or you end up in a great place with a much much higher room rate. After the COVID pandemic, a whole bunch of Americans were suffering from cabin fever and so they started going everywhere for vacation. The result is that the room rates went way up, and the hotels’ need for our convention went way down. Last year when we were trying to find this year’s hotel in the St. Louis area, places we had stayed at in the past for $109 now wanted a minimum of $259 per night, and that’s not very friendly to our members.


    In the end, the consensus was that we should look for smaller cities to hold our conventions, places like Columbia, Missouri or Indiana, or Middlebury, Indiana, or the Quad Cities in Iowa, where we can get a great hotel that would appreciate our convention and have reasonable rates for our members, as well as being located where there are many fun things to do close by. So next year, we are headed to Das Essenhaus in Middlebury (which held a great, if fried chicken-centric convention for us) a few years ago.

  • The 3-Day Display Room is probably a thing of the past.
    People loved seeing a big display room, but most said they would go in to see it for a few minutes one time, and then maybe again for the seminar we would have for it, and that was generally it. Because people would bring a lot of glass across the country to put it together and then we would pay for security to watch it, etc., most attendees felt like it was starting to be a diminishing return for the effort and money. This year we ran our mini-seminars and had 7 tables, each with a display and a seminar, and people loved it. Look for this again next year.
  • Fun together is everything.
    In this electronic world of ours, people strongly reminded us that the purpose of a convention is to spend face-to-face time together in a fun and friendly setting, where we can talk and laugh, share stories, look and feel everyone’s carnival glass (seeing is learning!) and continue our tradition of a shared history. My first ICGA convention was over three decades ago (and for some of you, it was almost double that!) So many fond memories and emotions…

So we want to make next year’s convention embody all of these lessons and more. As mentioned, we are returning to the Das Essenhaus Inn and Convention Center, and our dates are July 17-20th (back to our original weekend!) Our convention auction will be the marvelous and beautiful collection of Bob and Shirley Patterson, and next year, it will be in the online format, which means we can all sit together and talk throughout the auction, bidding silently on our electronic devices and speculating on who is bidding against you. This format has gotten more and more fun, so we plan to maximize its upsides.

We will be doing our mini-seminars again and we have much more planned. The hotel has free breakfasts and next year, you will have the option of fried chicken OR many other entrees from which to choose (woohoo!)

So save the dates and we will announce our full slate of events in the next issue of the Pump. See you in Amish country next year!