NIA logo The 1996 National Insulator Convention
July 19-21, 1996
Long Beach, California
by Carol McDougald
(Reprinted with permission from Crown Jewels of the Wire)

Summary of sections:

After having our original flight canceled due to an eighteen inch rainfall in Chicago, it wasn’t perfectly clear that the McDougalds would make it to Long Beach for the 27th N.I.A. Convention. Fortunately, we were able to get on a subsequent flight and landed in California a little later than planned, but in time for the Thursday afternoon NIA Board of Directors meeting. Your fall issue of Drip Points, the NIA newsletter, will bring you up to speed as to the official happenings at the board meeting and the general membership meeting. Your membership dues of $10 is money well spent to keep yourself informed on current amendments to the N.I.A. bylaws, ethical issues facing our hobby and information from your newly elected officers.

The beautiful palm lined boulevard of the Renaissance Hotel overlooking the harbor and the distant smoke stacks of the Queen Mary luxury liner was a picture perfect setting for the National. This Midwesterner, who dies in the heat and humidity of Chicago summers, loved the dry and mid-70’s temperatures with cool breezes that greeted us each day. We are familiar with Chicago expressway driving, so the off hours we had to travel in southern California were not much of a challenge ... especially since we had the shuttle drive for us!

Dwayne Anthony and Dave Hall were superb show hosts. It was very evident that Ofelia Anthony and members of the Central & Southern Counties Insulator Club had lent their support throughout the planning and execution of the weekend’s events.

The streets surrounding the convention hotel had numerous sidewalk cafes and restaurants with live entertainment which allowed us to sample some of the fine seafood of the west coast and a Chicago Ribs House eatery. Many ventured across the harbor to the Queen Mary and other coastal night spots on both Thursday and Friday evenings.

For those of us who shipped boxes of sales items ahead of us, it was a wonderful service to have the boxes delivered to our sales tables by Dave Hall and company on Thursday evening. Boxes were allowed in the hall, but they remained unopened until set up early Friday morning.

By “show time” Friday morning, there were over 80 sales tables covered with insulators, go-withs, antiques and collectibles, table top show display cases -- a great assortment of items over which one could drool for hours. The attendance on Friday (for NIA Members only) was pretty good and people were busy buying, selling, trading throughout the day.

The general membership business meeting saw discussion surrounding the need for clarification of how to ballot for unopposed candidates for NIA offices (which resulted in an amendment to the bylaws from the meeting floor); announcement of newly elected NIA officers: Rick Baldwin, president and Matt Poage, western region vice president. New appointments for Executive Director (Rick Soller), Central Region Vice President to fill the remaining term of Rick Baldwin (Bob Stahr), Show Standards (Patti Norton), Nominations (Dudley Ellis) were announced. The NIA shows awarded for 1997 were also announced. Again, I urge your membership in the NIA so that you will receive the details in Drip Points.

Saturday was a very busy day on the convention floor. The local advertising was tremendous including a full color front page article showing smiling show host, Dave Hall, in front of his California glass collection. The number of collectors, new collectors, and curiosity seekers made their way through the aisles of glass and porcelain. This was a record show for Crown Jewels of the Wire for new subscriptions and book sales indicating that the show reached a lot of new collectors.

The Saturday evening banquet was held at the Renaissance and was attended by nearly 100 people. Duane Davenport, a parody in the making at the piano, entertained with audience participation sing-alongs; the “drip point singers” (aka Grant Salzman, John McDougald and Charlie Allmon (substituting for Charlie was your editor) lead a foot-stomping, hee haw vocal rendition. Cherie Anthony, an accomplished vocalist and daughter of Dwayne and Ofelia, sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” in tribute to CSCIC club member Ross Huth and Christian Willis (age 15) entertained with some Scott Joplin ragtime on the “black and white eighty-eight's.” It was a great evening and filled with awards and rewards.

Sunday always seems to be recapitulation day. In other words, what didn’t I get to buy; what did I buy and how am I ever going to get it home; how I am going to coax someone to buy everything left on my table; where are the display and award winners that need to have pictures taken; can I get the security people to lower the ropes so the displays will photograph better; boy, I never got around to talking with someone; does anyone have any extra boxes or newspaper; oh, no, the shuttle is leaving for the airport; and all those good-byes and thank-you's.

It is always hard to attract large crowds when it is held in one of the geographic extremes -- and we were pushing the limits this year -- way south and way west. Long Beach was not the biggest National Shows in recent years, but it was one of the best! Our sincere thanks to Dwayne Anthony and Dave Hall for a tremendous effort on behalf of our hobby.

The displays at the 27th National were outstanding. There were seventeen competitive and four noncompetitive displays to educate and awe the attendees. The displays covered the ten major N.I.A. display categories and the noncompetitive displays educated the public as to fakes and color-altered insulators “before and after” and a display showing participating collectors "three favorite insulators.”

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Last updated Thursday, March 20, 1997