Wednesday Morning: Behind the Scenes

Yesterday was move-in day for Alex and myself, as we transferred all of her files, tubs, boxes, name badges, notes, totes, posters and such to the Sammons Wing Registration Desk. In earlier years we could anticipate having the Grove Park Inn to ourselves on a Tuesday afternoon in February, but that is no longer the case. When I walked in yesterday afternoon at 1:45pm, there were nearly a dozen of our antiques dealers waiting patiently to check in and get their spot secured on the list for the Thursday loading dock.

I’m not sure what surprised them the most: the swarm of construction guys on ladders and power lifts buzzing around the columns in the normally peaceful and sedate Great Hall, or the fact that I wasn’t pitching a fit over all the uproar. (Or diving into the midst of them, telling them how it should be done.)

Maybe 26 years of Arts and Crafts Conferences have mellowed me. It certainly has turned my hair gray. Rather than pitching fits or provoking fights, I find myself picking my battles more carefully, selecting those I have a chance of winning. I now recognize how little I actually can control, despite the fact that my oldest son, when asked in grade school what his father did for a living, once proudly proclaimed to his classmates, “He’s the king of Arts and Crafts.”

I’m sure their parents still think I weave macrame plant hangers and glue twigs to mailboxes while I watch Martha Stewart each afternoon.

I explained to our early Arts and Crafts arrivals that the craftsmen were working at a feverish pace on Tuesday because they want to make as much progress as possible before they sweep up the floor, pack up their tools and step out of our way. The Grove Park Inn’s staff and management want us to have a great weekend, as they look forward to the arrival of the Arts and Crafts attendees more than they do any other group — and they have hundreds of groups each year.

They recognize that we bring an energy to this historic hotel that no one else can generate. That we appreciate the Arts and Crafts furnishings more than any other group. That we understand how renovations of older houses always take longer and cost more than building new ones. That we appreciate the fact that they are removing the non-Arts and Crafts additions and replacing them with authentic and carefully-researched Arts and Crafts detailing.

When I left the Grove Park Inn late last night, their staff was setting up tables for the 125 exhibitors who will be in and around the Grand Ballroom (upper photo), lining up chairs in the Heritage Ballroom where our seminars will be held, and watching for the arrival of the semi-truck loaded with hundreds of feet of booth pipe-and-draping, 71 pegboards and 43 glass display cases.

And Alex was tearing the Registration Desk apart looking for a missing power cord to her name badge printer.

And so the preparations continue today….

Until tomorrow morning,

Have a great day!

(And ask yourself this: why stay home this weekend, when we could be in Asheville enjoying the daffodils, soaking in some sunshine on the Sunset Terrace, and swimming through a sea of Arts and Crafts furniture, art pottery, metalware, textiles, rugs, art and jewelry?)

(We can always make room for you!)

Many thanks!