The DC super show is touted to be the biggest pen show in North America and possibly the world. I can attest that it is certainly a bit overwhelming to the first time attendee. The show spans Thursday to Sunday but the vendor representation on Thursday is quite limited. Regardless, Thursday turned out to be a great day to meet up with other pen enthusiasts who I had only interacted with through Twitter.
Friday was the first real day of the show and everyone was in the exhibition hall bright and early to get in the queue for custom nib grinds and to see the newest offerings from our favourite modern manufacturers. Franklin-Christoph's table was buzzing and I wasn't the only one to come away with a new toy.
One feature of the show that sets it apart from others is that they have an ink sampling table. While this is great in theory, many long time attendees said to steer clear because of cross contamination issues. Regardless, the bottles look pretty in the sun.
While the show floor is great, the real fun occurs after hours in the hotel bar when everyone brings out their collections. I was lucky enough to be sitting with Matt Armstrong (Pen Habit), Thomas Hall (Penucopia), and Leigh Reyes (My Life As A Verb) when they were sharing their collections. This meant that I was able to try out two or three dozen pens that I will never likely see again. Thomas's and Leigh's collections tend towards custom and Japanese pens that have specialty nibs for extra fine lines or very springy writing characteristics. This was my first time trying Nakayas and Danitrios and they are beautiful to behold. Matt's Collection tended to be more focused on European pens like Viscontis and Montblancs. It was fascinating to have this range of writing instruments available to try all at the same time.
By Saturday night I said my final goodbyes to most of the friends that I had made over the weekend and prepared for the long drive back to Canada. This is an outing that I hope to do again, all though the next time I will break the drive up over two days so that it is easier. This will mean that I get to the show during the afternoon of Thursday, but from this year's experience, that will be just fine.