THE CHICAGO SHOW - 2007

By Bob Kiess

 

I had the privilege to attend the 2007 Chicago Pipe Show, what I call the super bowl of pipe shows. Each year some of us seem to arrive earlier as there is more to do. It was wonderful to renew old pipe acquaintances as many of these have been established over many years. One of those was Dick Morse!! Andy Camire and I were in one of the gathering places and there was Dick!! It was great to see him and get caught up on all his good news-job, house, Florida, family. But anyone living in Florida has to be a little whacked so we sent him off in straightjacket! Nah, we had a great time together. It was also great to have Andy there as it was his first Chicago show and he loved it. I'll let him fill in the details. The accommodations were fine as usual and it will be the last year for smoking anywhere, as next year will be restricted to the Mega Center show room and a limited number of rooms. We have decided not to moan over the restrictions but to be supportive of shows and try to educate others when possible about the myths of s.h.s. This includes attending shows where there is no smoking to show that we are not caving into radical activists and crusaders.

There were outstanding parts of the show. Thursday eve we had the Charatan Focus Group that was a closed session for Charatan collectors (the ticket in was to display at least 5 charatans). Supremes, Coronations, Crown Achievement abounded and Andy Camire received best collection award which was unexpected he says. His pipes are really beautiful.

Friday has an event called the PreShow, which is one of the highlights of the week. Someone correctly labeled it the second best pipe show in the country (second to the main Chicago show) as it is hugh and open to anyone first come basis. It is a great time to sell your estate pipes or come and buy pipes. The selection is enormous and lots of trading and buying occurs. Many of the makers or collectors have their best day on Friday.

If you’re a golfer then there is a tournament on Friday also with the usual prizes. The course is beautiful and challenging. The day ends with a big free banquet put on by the Chicagoland Pipe Club.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday have their usual amounts of seminars, hosted by the experts, on all the subjects of pipes and tobaciana.

The evenings have their classical room hoping in search for the treasured pipe or old can of tobacco. It is a chance to meet makers and collectors in person.

Then we finally "get to the show." Saturday and Sunday is the main event and it is a monster! 304 tables, 124 pipe makers, 9 continents represented. To attempt to list who and what was there would be a daunting process. It is always astounding to me to see just about anyone who is the "Who's Who" in pipe making but also to see "lesser" know makers and the usual amount of new makers. And there is a great selection of pipe tobaccos. Mike and Mary from McClelland's were there introducing their new exotic leaf tobaccos which are really yummy with lots of spice and wonderful overtones. Russ from Havanna Cigars was there again and does a hugh amount of business as he does have wonderful selections (I love Larry's Blend and Ten to Midnight). There are several exhibits featuring certain themes including Charatans, Dunhills, and antiques. And to end the show there is a post show which is Monday am and usually very busy. This is usually for the folks staying Sunday and catching intercontinental flights or just extending the good times. Great deals occur then.

At the risk of making this too long I will stop. To me Chicago is the best show of the year, not to "overdose" on what we collect but to interact with people and really learn lots. It is a great time to relax and make this a mini-vacation. Expenses can be curtailed by room sharing and air flights are quite reasonable. Plan to make it part of your agenda next year to greatly enhance your life in the pipe world. We all need to protect these shows as we engage the enemy.

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