By Jim McCloskey
I’ve just returned from the latest International Pool|Spa|Patio Expo, a bit weary of foot but heartened by the many conversations I had with old friends as well as brand-new acquaintances.
The show itself ran true to form, with steady traffic the first two days, then a general flight to other locations on the third and final day. This made me rather impatient on Friday afternoon, but I have to concede that I had a couple great early conversations that day – enough to make hanging around slightly less arduous.
If I have one grand impression to draw from the total show experience, it’s that I’m more cognizant than ever of the generational transitions I’ve observed after attending all but one of the past 34 of these events: I saw fewer old friends this year than in past years, and despite a clutch of veteran faces representing the supplier community and a bunch of early-vintage Genesis folks hanging around a neighboring booth, I began thinking of myself as something of a relic.
That’s a natural turn of events, of course, and it’s nothing I haven’t gradually accepted through the years with my family and friends. But where I am saddened by transitions among kin and old chums, it’s different with my contact base of watershapers: Yes, I miss those who no longer attend, but I truly enjoy the opportunity these shows are giving me to meet talented people of younger generations and talk with them about WaterShapes.com and its role in advancing the wondrous community it serves.
As I’ve declared in the past, one of my Expo ambitions each year is the replenishing of our stock of articles and contributors for the year to come. This year in Las Vegas, I accounted for most of what I considered to be my personal goal partway through the first day – and I probably had a better second day and even an above-average third day, much to my delight.
To be sure, I had conversations with a few people who miss the printed magazine almost as much as I do and even ran into one who apologized for letting his subscription lapse because he’d really liked the magazine and wanted copies to be mailed to him again. News doesn’t travel fast enough, I told him: We went all-digital in 2011, so there’s good reason why the magazine hadn’t been coming!
Despite that odd interlude, this has to be one of the best experiences I’ve had at this show in years – and it makes me look forward to New Orleans in the fall of 2019 with greater-than-usual expectations. Should be a blast!
This is the third time in the past ten or so years that I’ve taken the hike from Mandalay Bay to the Bellagio to see its grand fountain – and the third time I’ve found it turned off because of blustery weather. I know it has something to do with the time of year (it’s typically breezy throughout the region in the run from September through mid-November), but at this point I can’t help thinking I’m a bit star-crossed.
The worst of the disappointments was the first in this unfortunate chain, when my wife Judy came to Las Vegas – a city of which she is not fond – to see me receive my Genesis pig. (I believe that I’m #8 or #9?) After the ceremony, we walked over to the Bellagio and endured a few minutes of bracingly cool breezes at the rail before we heard the bad news that the show was off for the evening.
Someday I’ll take her back there with me, definitely at a different time of year. It’s a fabulous fountain and I’d truly like to see it in operation again. But rest assured: Next time, I’ll raise a moistened digit and assess wind conditions before setting out on that long, crowded walk!