Yesterday I booked my hotel room and plane tickets for the 2014 Washington D.C. Fountain Pen Supershow, held August 7-10 at the Sheraton Premiere in Tyson's Corner. The D.C. Show's traditional website can be found here, but lately most of the updates have been on the facebook page.
So why should you take the plunge and go? Because this year it looks as if an All-Star cast of pendom will be in attendance, including:
- Brian and Lisa Anderson of Anderson Pens
- Richard Binder
- Bryant Greer of Chatterley Luxuries and Pentime
- Brian Gray of Edison Pens
- Vanness Pens with their bottles of Akkerman Ink, and they will be accompanied this year by penmaker and nibmeister Shawn Newton
- Fountain Pen Hospital from NYC, which typically holds a huge vintage pen and parts blowout sale on Friday
- Total Fine Writing from Atlanta
- Nibs.com (although John Mottishaw will not be in attendance--apparently they will be taking orders and Mr. Mottishaw will be adjusting nibs remotely and mailing pens home)
- Write Notepads
- Sarj Minhas, the One-Man Pen Show
And many, many more that I've not included here, simply because I don't have space. This will be the third DC Pen Show I've attended. The first year I was there (2012), I was privileged to witness Eric Schneider (formerly of FPGeeks) and SBRE Brown storm the ballroom in full-on tuxedos. I also picked up a Montblanc 146 and a Stipula Etruria at ridiculously steep discounts. 2013 was a good show, but I don't recall it being as well attended as 2012. I bought mainly ink and some parts to restore some vintage pens I was working on.
So why should you attend? Well, the full-on pen geek immersion factor is something you really can't get anywhere else, except for maybe the L.A. show, which I have not attended (yet). The DC show is the largest, with two huge ballrooms and a third lobby area full of pens. You can meet all sorts of interesting people who are eager to tell you about anything pen related. Second, the opportunity to shop for pens, ink, and paper in person is unavailable anywhere else. The option to "try before you buy" and to save on shipping is great, especially if you live within driving distance. Finally, it offers you a chance to prioritize: with the opportunity to try so many different pens/ink/paper, you can comparison shop and determine what you love and can't live without, as opposed to things you merely "like," end up not using and regret purchasing later. Assuming you have (1) a budget, and (2) self-control (there are many people there with neither), you can make more informed purchases instead of internet impulse buys.
And, finally, no trip is complete without a late-night run to Ben's Chili Bowl, which may even top the Pen Show. See you in August! Please get in touch if you will be there and want to meet up.