It’s been 10 days since the 2015 Atlanta Pen Show. Finally, here’s the official Pens ‘n’ Coffee report.
I’ve had the Atlanta Pen Show on my calendar for a year. Last year Brad hosted a small soiree at the show. Upon hearing him share about this experience I did two things. I checked for a pen show in Charlotte. Not finding one, I placed the Atlanta show on my calendar. Who knew that things would heat up as they did. Brad’s soiree turned into a full blown bash (a #sassafling even). I backed the Pen Addict Kickstarter and knew I had to attend.
However, driving three hours to look at pens sounds fabulous when it’s months away. The week of the show gives a different view. It was a very busy week. Could I squeeze in the trip? I tried to convince my daughters to skip school on Friday to go to the show. They choose school. (Is this a parenting win or a parenting fail?) I nearly attended on my own on Friday, which would allow me some time at the Big Party before I made the drive home. The final decision? Get up early on Saturday, throw the Hannon 5 in a minivan, make the 3 hour trip to Atlanta, look at pens for a while, and make the 3 hour trip home. Crazy? Possibly.
Finally, we arrived at the show, the first pen show for our family. Holy pen show, Batman! Sensory overload! Pens! Ink! Paper! People! Yes, it was crazy. Crazy awesome!
Someone recommended making a lap around the show and viewing everything before settling in and making purchases. I tried to do that, but it was hard. We couldn’t even get past the hallway. Lovely pens everywhere. The kids were almost as excited as I was. And of course, there was two rooms full of venders as well, selling most anything pen related you could imagine. Vintage pens, modern pens. Ballpoint pens, fountain pens. Pen parts. Cheap pens ($3), expensive pens ($1,000+). Ink and paper, oh my.
We loved seeing and touching all the different options. I handled many pens that I had only seen online before. Pilot Vanishing Points and Lamy 2000s are on my wishlist now, when before I considered them just too darn expensive. (This is certainly a danger of going to a show.)
As wonderful as all the products were, the people were even better. Vendors were eager to chat, sharing about their pens, eager to teach onlookers whether or not a sale seemed promising. Meeting people I only knew from the interwebs was worth the drive.
Brad Dowdy and Myke Hulry from the Pen Addict Podcast were the rockstars of the show. Still they took time to engage with everyone. It was great to talk with them. Brad chatted like we were old friends, even though I doubt he even knew me from online.
It was also a treat to meet Brian and Lisa Anderson from Anderson Pens. Great people with a great shop! And Lisa Vanness from Vanness Pen Shop. And Jeff “The Beard” Bruckwicki from NockCo. And Dan Bishop from Karas Kustoms. And…
People didn’t only shop, we shared – pens, ink, and life. I’m pretty sure I sold some Field Notes to a sweet lady who had never heard of the brand and a TWSBI USA to someone else. Two of us randomly shared our Muji Aluminum Fountain Pens with Myke Hurly and discussed converters that fit (Retro 51 does).
So, what did I buy among all this awesomeness?
- The new FodderstackXL and Dot Dash Notebooks with improved fountian pen friendly paper from Nock Co. Also see my Nock Co sticker, soon to go on my MacBook.
- The Limited Edition 2015 Lamy Al-Star in Copper Orange with a bottle of Lamy Copper Orange ink and a Pilot Plumix from Anderson Pens.
- 3 half price bottles of ink from Vanness Pens Shop: Monteverde Blue-Black, Monteverde Brown, and Conway Stewart Tavy.
- And, somewhere along the way, a Pilot Varsity.
Among all this, the highlight of the day was experiencing the kids excitement. They looked and looked. Several vendors gave each of them a free pen. They also each picked out their own Pilot Varsity. Lisa Anderson made their day truly special. She sent the kids on a scavenger hunt, looking for things you can only find at a pen show. When the kids had their scavenger hunt cards filled up by other vendors, Lisa gave each one a free pen and a bag crazy full of cartridges. Such joy!
When it fas finally time to go find some pizza and make the 3 hour trek home, the kids were begging to come back next year. You can count on it! And I may have let it slip that there is a Pen Show in Raleigh in May…
By the way, my wife isn’t in any pictures because she spent most of the day in the corner reading. She loved it!