Last year the show was at the historic Biltmore Hotel, a lovely location with free parking. This year the show was almost cancelled and then moved to the Marriott on Biscayne Bay. The hotel venue for the show was great. A nice, big, well lit room. The balance left something to be desired. First, the hotel was under renovation and the roads to the hotel were under construction; second, there was terrible communication about the parking; third, there were some kind of auditions being held in the hotel; fourth, this hotel is very close to the Port of Miami and so is a stopover for cruisers coming and going - the result being that the hotel was a nut house. Other than that, it was great. Personally I would like to see this show held in Orlando or maybe even Gainesville, so that people from north Florida would be able to drive to it for the day, but that's just MHO.
So, all the usual suspects were there Bert Oser, Susan Wirth, Chuck Swisher, Roger Cromwell, Paul Erano, Gary Lehrer, Michael Masuyama, Bryant Greer, the Visconti reps and many others. The big disappointment for me was that Ariel Kullock, who had been scheduled to attend, was not there. Apparently there was a family emergency and they had to cancel last minute, a shame really.
We had a wonderful time exploring all the vendor tables and visiting with pb2, OcalaFLGuy, spotted and speckled, withoutink and other FPN members. If you didn't believe my post on FPN about making a sign and wearing it, well here is the sign and I did wear it.
I spent way too much money, watch for upcoming reviews, enjoyed great company and ate great food at a wonderful restaurant called Garcia's. If you are ever in Miami and like fresh seafood, this is the place to go. We liked it so much after the first night with pb2 and OcalaFLGuy that Carla and I went back for lobster the second night. We were completely worn out by Saturday afternoon, having arrived on Friday, so we cut the weekend a little short and drove home Sunday morning before the show opened.
Pens shows are a wonderful way to see and try many of the pens that are available out in the world, but I think that they serve a much more important function. They allow us to network and meet other people who share our interest in the functional art that is fountain pens (and other pens). For me, this was the most important part of the show - the people.