We left Hillsboro on Thursday. It was a scorcher by the time we were out of the mountains, and we passed through the smoke of two wildfires as we neared the Bay area, before reaching Berkeley that evening.
The weather was still warm when we arrived for set-up on Friday evening. Our friend Richard Doporto was able to come over to help and met us at the venue, the recreation room beside the Senior Center in Civic Park. Once the karate class finished at 8pm, frames and dealers went in and set-up began. We introduced ourselves around and with all the extra hands available, the frames were assembled in record time and the mailed in exhibits mounted.
By the time I turned up on Saturday, the show was in full swing. There were 12 dealers busy with customers, USPS and 42 frames of exhibits. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Dave Savadge and Bill Claghorn from the eBay Users' Stamp Club (eUSC) chat board. We had a chat and a quick look at my exhibit, then had our picture taken for the board.
I did the rounds of half the dealers, actually managing to find a couple of interesting New Hebrides items from one who specialized in French colonies!
I met up with WE members Ruth Caswell and Vesma Grinfelds just near my exhibit. While we were talking, I saw a Grand Award ribbon being placed on mine! What a surprise! There was one on Vesma's too, so we decided it was time for a photo!
I attended the WE meeting just afterwards. Ruth, the Chair, had made the trip down from Washington state to attend, and Vesma, as the local WE contact, was there too. We were joined by a lady who had a passion for collecting Women and the Military material and who had found out about WE just that morning. She promptly joined, then excitedly shared the details of her collection and we offered suggestions on how to go about exhibiting it.
Straight after that was the critique meeting, attended by David McNamee and Tim Burgess as judges, and Ruth and her husband Lyman, Vesma and myself. David briefly discussed the exhibits and the trouble they had had deciding on the “Best of the Best” from the six contenders, leading them to give out two awards, a single frame to Vesma for her The First Stamp of Latvia: Printed on Maps and a multi-frame for my New Hebrides/Nouvelles-Hébrides. Informative comments were given on quite a few of the exhibits.
This was followed by the presentation to WE of a huge cake in honor of its being the featured association at the show.
Ruth cut the cake and we enjoyed refreshments.
David presented the "Best of the Best" plaque to both Vesma and myself.
Tim Burgess later provided an “at the frames” critique for my exhibit, giving me ideas for a couple of improvements for next time.
David and his wife Fran kindly treated the out-of-staters to dinner at Salvatore’s, an up-market Italian restaurant just around the corner.
With all the meetings out of the way, I came back on Sunday afternoon, to check out the rest of the dealers and look at the other exhibits in more depth. The Show Grand Award winner was Terri Edwards’ beautiful postcard exhibit titled A Tourist’s Guide to New Orleans at the Beginning of the 20th Century, which was visible from the front entrance and enticed visitors in to look further.
Other notable exhibits in the Court of Honor were Elizabeth Hisey’s Welcome back Dinner 1941 and Dila Eaton’s National Coat of Arms of Paraguay. Barbara Harrison’s novel Grandma’s Attic (ca 1945) exhibit included among its non-philatelic items actual utensils of the period (hair curler, etc).
Towards the end of the show, I received an envelope containing all my ribbons and goodies, including a certificate and a type-written one-page critique of my exhibit!
Click on a thumbnail to see larger scan
At 4pm, after a lovely time chatting to all my new friends, we helped pack up the exhibits and frames, swapped contact details and left yet another enjoyable stamp show. Many thanks to the members of the Contra Costa and Alameda stamp clubs for putting on such a great show and giving us such a warm welcome!