Conference Update: Saturday

After thirty years, who would have thought we could have set yet another attendance record?

Especially in an era when antiques shows are struggling to stay alive.

As I mentioned several times this past year, I was worried that after our record-breaking 30th year celebration we would see attendance decline this week.

Fifteen minutes after the doors opened yesterday afternoon, the line of people was still streaming into the Grand Ballroom — and I knew we were on track for a yet another record.

And five hours later the red SOLD signs were sprouting like tulips.

A reporter pulled me aside late in the afternoon, wanting to know how we did it.

And to be perfectly honest, I’m not quite sure. Both the Omni Grove Park Inn and Asheville play an important role, as people across the country have heard of both — and look forward to the opportunity to stay at the historic 1913 resort hotel and explore Asheville.

But I have long believed that the combination of educational opportunities, through walking tours, small group discussions, display cases, workshops, demonstrations, and seminars, along with the shows themselves provide collectors with what they want.

And unlike an auction, an antiques mall, or a gallery, at the National Arts and Crafts Conference the collectors meet, talk with, and get to know the craftsmen, craftswomen, or antiques dealers who owns or may have made every piece in the show. Many of these collectors return year after year, and have become friends with many of the dealers and artisans.

Personal contact.

It’s as much an Arts and Crafts mantra as Head, Heart and Hand.

Until tomorrow,

Thanks for stopping by!