WoodWorks2002 BLASTS OFF!
Inaugural event in Novi, MI, was a real crowd-pleaser!
by Ellis Walentine
The long-awaited kickoff for the new WoodWorks2002 schedule at the Novi Expo Center in Novi, MI, is now in the history books. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for over 3500 attendees from Michigan and the Upper Midwest, and a strong indication of a new era in woodworking consumer shows.
WoodWorks2002, not content to be just another "show" -- but, rather, an "event" -- reminded showgoers and exhibitors of the much-ballyhooed American Woodworker shows of the mid 90s, with their emphasis on woodworking content and education as an integral part of the festival atmosphere of vendors and products.
[FOR MORE INFORMATION on the WoodWorks2002 events, visit their website.]
The event was awash with free demonstrations by noted woodworkers, including woodworking legends Frank Klausz and Stuart Mortimer, who held court in their own 20-ft. booths on the event floor. Toshio Odate, the well-known Japanese shoji-maker, sculptor and author, was also scheduled to be on hand, but stayed home to recover from a recent surgery. He is expected to be back in the roster for the rest of the show season.
Other authors and experts--including Michael Dresdner, Paul Anthony, Andy Rae, Fred Matlack, Geoffrey Noden, Harry Memelink, David Brownell and myself--took turns demonstrating, every hour on the hour, at the show's interactive theater, dubbed aptly, "At the Bench."
For attendees who wanted more in-depth information, there was the lecture and workshop series, held in comfortable breakout rooms in the Expo Center. These two hour presentations, delivered by well-known experts, covered a rich lineup of woodworking topics.
Another highlight of the event was the gallery competition held in the "Sawdust Cafe" in the center of the show floor. The five judges -- Frank, Stuart, Andy Rae, Steve Shanesy (editor of Popular Woodworking magazine) --awarded ribbons and recognition for work submitted by local guild members in two categories, turning and general woodworking. Steve handed out the awards with much fanfare at the after-hours "Presenters Reception," held next door at the Double Tree hotel.
There was plenty of good fun as the judges hammed it up around the "World's Largest Bowl," turned by Stuart Mortimer and Steve Blenk at the 1997-98 American Woodworker Shows.
Kids had fun at the Novi event, too, learning to use a scrollsaw at the "Make-a-Memory Workshop," under the expert guidance and supervision of local guild members, with saws donated by DeWalt for the occasion.
And, last but not least, media sponsor Popular Woodworking magazine built a dandy workbench during the three day event and gave it away to a lucky attendee on Sunday. Now there's a truly happy camper!
All I can say, folks, is that WoodWorks2002 is an event that has it all -- great vendors and products at great prices, a complete educational program, fun for the kids, and a chance for you to completely immerse yourself in woodworking for a day -- or a whole weekend!
I hope to see you at a coming WoodWorks2002 event. Visit me at the WoodCentral/Woodfinder booth, and don't forget to wear your WoodCentral hat.. . . Ellis Walentine
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