ISGB Gathering 2011…. Best time ever!!

Welcome to the Gathering!

And did Louisville ever make us feel welcome!!  The conference was held at the Hyatt Regency and the Kentucky International Convention Center next door.  And talk about convenience… when we stepped out the front door of the Hyatt and turned left, we were one block away from the hot spot known as Fourth Street Live.  A diverse area of restaurants, night clubs, and shopping.

Fourth Street Live

Day one of my trip began with the Steering Committee meeting for all the regional directors.  Afterward we all went to a great restaurant called Myan Cafe for a little rest and relaxation.  And of course, a bead swap!

Sam and AnneMarie at Myan Cafe

The presentations were held in the convention center next door to the hotel, and they were all standing (or laying!) room only.  And with a line-up that included Dora Schubert, JC Herrell, Sara Sally LaGrand, Hayley Tsang, John Kobuki, Heather Trimlett, Robert Dancik, Sharon Peters and many others, its no wonder the auditorium was packed every day!

Packed crowd for JC Herrell's presentation

Melanie, Angie and Verna waiting for the first presentation of the day to begin

The community project theme this year was “Possibilities”, and several ISGB members sent in beads for the aquarium display that was donated to the local Ronald McDonald house.

"Possibilities" community service project for Ronald McDonald House

Open torch hours were extended this year, and there was a crowd there every single night.  There were several torch tables like this one set up, and glass was donated by several vendors for the attendees to use.  I have a feeling that a lot of new equipment and glass will be shipping out to new homes in the next few weeks.  😉

Participants trying out some new torches

Saturday rolled around and it was time for the Bead Bazaar!!  Our chapter, The Smoky Mountain Firecrackers, participated, and it was our first group show!  Sales exceeded our expectations, but the best part for all of us was the overwhelmingly positive response we received to our table set up, and our chapter’s participation in this years conference.

Melanie, adding some finishing touches to our display

Closeup shot of the Firecracker table

Just a few more candid shots of bead bazaar day…..

Dora Schubert and her beautiful beads

Harold Cooney and Trey Cornette getting their tables set up

My new pals Paula, Nancy, Lori and Brenna

JC Herrell's gorgeous, colorful table

Jennifer Geldard getting her "game face" on

After the Bazaar, we got our tables packed up and headed back to the Hyatt to get ready for banquet night!  We had a fabulous dinner, followed by the Hall of Flame presentation and the silent auction.  I’m please to say that I picked up a couple of super nice items during the auction, and everyone was very generous with their donations and their bids.  This is one of the ISGB’s main fundraiser’s every year, and, fingers crossed, it was a big success this time!

Verna, Kathy, Renee and Suzanne waiting for dinner to be served at the Firecracker table

Sunday, it was more fabulous presentations during the day, followed by my favorite part of every Gathering…..the bead swap!  I was honored to trade with nearly every single person who participated this year, and I came home with some beautiful bling from all the talented, generous participants!  😀

Let the trading begin!

After the bead swap, it was time for the closing party.  We seriously got our boogie on, but it was also bittersweet because we knew we’d soon be saying goodbye to all of our old (and new) friends for another year.  But for the most part, we decided to cut loose and leave the sad farewells for morning.  😉

Putting on our boogie shoes!

Melanie and Kevin acting the fool

So as you can see, when I subtitled this post “best time ever” I meant it.  And have the pictures to prove it!!  As for some of those “other” photos….. they’ll be blackmail for bead swaps next year in Bellvue, WA.  Bwahahahahaha!


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