Message from the President September 2013

Something is Amiss in Carnival Glass Right Now…

by Brian Pitman, September 2013

I hope this splendid issue of The Carnival Pump finds you happy after a fun summer full of family times and carnival finds. Hopefully you were sated by the number of carnival glass conventions you attended. Unfortunately, I was zero for three on carnival glass conventions. I was slated to be at our ICGA convention but ended up in China, and was slated to speak at both Lincoln Land and Keystone but had to pull out for other engagements related to my company I started in March. Pretty depressing…
More depressing, though, were the reports from some of the conventions about attendance. There has been a generally declining trend in carnival glass conventions for the past decade or so, and it seems that this year took that trend to a new low. A worry about conventions for a long time has been about getting younger people interested in them and spending their precious money to attend.  Of course, the same issue comes up with membership. So what do this summer’s numbers mean?
One of the possibilities is that the excitement level of conventions hasn’t been infectious to the young (or even to the rest of us). In the past, the excitement level was fueled by the ability to chat with friends not seen in a while, see a whole bunch of glass (almost all of which has a negotiable price tag), hear some interesting seminars, and attend a big auction. Nearly all of those reasons are trumped by other things now (the internet being the big one). So what new things can clubs do?  And which of those new things draws to the younger crowd?
Much discussion has occurred on pricing, length of the convention, and more. Conventions with $69 room rates don’t appear to draw any more people than $129 rates. Many clubs have gone to a shorter convention (I heard that ACGA is going to a Friday/Saturday convention in 2015, similar to Hagerstown). This is an attempt to add a single day onto the Saturday auction, sort of an “auction-plus” offering. Conventions have been offered in casinos, resort properties, beachfront hotels, and more. In the end, each club’s Board of Directors is left with a quandary on what will “work” the next year to get more attendees.
In the end, it is up to all of you, our wonderful members, to let us know what YOU expect from the convention. Is it more glass, less time, cheaper facilities or much more? Sharing your feedback is key to any organization wanting to offer more bang for the members’ bucks. Email me at to let me know your thoughts. And don’t stop at the convention. Let me know what you think about The Carnival Pump, our website, and anything else ICGA. Got a cool idea? Share it. Got a gripe? Share it. We are here to make ICGA a much better organization, and your role as a member can make it much, much better.
Enjoy your Autumn and I look forward to chatting with you again in December!