As the dust is settling from the DC Pen Show this past weekend, I’m thinking back and reflecting on all that we experienced. This DC Pen Show 2021 Recap is not only my story of working the show with Bert, but also as a fellow pen enthusiast attending the show. First of all, I always enjoy preparing for pen shows in the week leading up to the show. Which pens will I bring to play with and share after the show each day? How much room should I leave in the pen case to hold new pens? Gathering my travel journal, another journal for doodling in, and a pocket pad (Field Notes this time) is essential. After packing up, I was totally ready for the show.
Importantly, this DC Pen Show 2021 Recap isn’t like previous ones for me because I also had many side-missions to help others throughout the show. I was also able to bring some pens for repair. It was so fun getting some “swag” during the show. Friday morning, when I got to the show at 9am, it was already in full swing. People were set up and ready for a busy weekend. I could feel the buzz of excitement in the air. And I was ready for action.
All weekend long, it was so wonderful to hear a steady stream of customers and friends saying how great it was to be able to see each other after such a long time. It was almost like a large reunion in many ways. Friday went without a hitch as we kept restocking the tables with more wares. There were definitely some big hits at the show.
First up are the refill walls – the best way to recognize the Bertram’s Inkwell tables at any pen show. I love seeing a sea of green Monteverde packs of refills lined up. And the Monteverde Jungle Ink sets flew off the shelf. As for pens, there were so many fan-favorites at our table. The Esterbrook Estie fountain pens and ballpoints, and JR Paradise fountain pens did well. Next up was the new Diplomat Aero Citrus collection (a bright, lime green – expect a review soon, and coming to the website soon), alongside the Diplomat Elox Ring collection (black and orange rings – another blog review soon). Conklin’s limited edition pens, such as the All American Wood, Endura Abalone, and Duragraph Rainbow, were also a big draw to the table.
Notably, as usual at pen shows, Bert was able to pick up some great gems (aka pre-owned pens and New Old Stock) that are ready for new homes. The N.O.S. included a very special S.T. Dupont Star Wars limited edition ballpoint pen. As an all-matte black pen, it makes “going to the Dark Side” so stylish and alluring. When it comes to the pre-owned pens, I was lucky to get from Bert the Omas Bibliotheque Nationale fountain pen and rollerball set. But don’t worry, I left plenty of the pre-owned pens for you to enjoy. Among them are Sheaffers, Pelikans, and many more.
Saturday evening was a lovely dinner with Bert, Cole, Adam (yes, there are two Adams), and Al at Sweetwater Tavern. It was a much-needed winding down after a busy two days so far. My bourbon and their beer were refreshing. And as usual, their food was perfect. If you’ve never had their beer-battered chicken tenders, I highly recommend it. Soon after getting back to the hotel, it was time to get ready for the after-show activities. I definitely floated around from group to group, trying to get as much time with friends as possible. I enjoyed hearing Paul Erano’s speech with the Black Pen Society. Then running into Richard Fernandez was a highlight. We played some Salsa music and tried to rally people into some impromptu dancing. It ended up being lovely background music as we got to catch up. While standing around in the center of the courtyard with the music playing, we joined the group of people indulging in cigars and scotch/bourbon/whiskey. It was great to have a low-key evening and catching up with everyone.
Finally, there we were on the last day of the show – Sunday. Sunday morning started nice and easy. After getting packed up, checking out of my room, and taking my bags to my car, it was time to help Bert. The crowd was a little lighter than Saturday, but still very respectable. I was so happy to be able to attend Jim Crawford’s seminar on special nibs. It was informative and fun. Luckily after the seminar, Brandon of Modern Chocolatier still had plenty of chocolate to load up on. Soon enough it was closing time. Packing up was quick and easy, with no problems loading up the car. After making it back to the shop and unloading, we continued our tradition of a lovely meal at Quincy’s South. Definitely a great way to round out the DC Pen Show weekend.