For me, the high point of any genealogy conference is the newsletter readers' dinner. We usually gather on Saturday evening, shortly after the conference closes. The dinners are very informal with no set agenda. We simply go to a local restaurant, consume large quantities of food and beverages, talk a lot, and usually play a bit of a guessing game at the end of the dinner.
The dinner after this year's FGS conference was held a Z'Tejas, a Mexican restaurant in the Gateway Plaza. The restaurant is about six blocks from the convention center and 40 genealogists learned just how big Salt Lake City blocks are when we walked to the event at 5:45 PM. We more or less took over the restaurant. We were a noisy crowd but that seemed to fit in well with this restaurant's ambiance.
To everyone who attended: I want to say "Thank you" for helping make my week a huge success.
To everyone who did not attend: I can only report that you missed a good time. Ask anyone who was there. I hope to get some pictures posted in a day or two. (I am staying over in Salt Lake City for a few days and am working from my laptop with a Verizon EVDO wireless card. I don't have all my graphics software tools with me so it may be a few days yet.)
I will make a couple of comments about future dinners. First of all, these things are getting huge as the number of attendees keeps climbing. It is becoming more and more difficult to find a restaurant at the last moment, as I have done for years.
This time, I made reservations a couple of weeks in advance and that worked well. There was much less last-minute scrambling than usual. As a result, I expect to do the same at most future conferences: make a reservation for a certain number of people well in advance.
The change in restaurant reservations is going to require a change in the dinner sign-up procedures as well. I am probably going to need to make a list of all attendees at least a week in advance. If you have attended past newsletter readers' dinners and are used to adding your name to the attendees' list at the last minute, please be aware that you will not be able to do that in the future. Right now I am guessing that seven days' advance notice will be required, although that might vary either plus or minus a bit, depending upon factors in a particular city.
If you would like to have dinner with old friends and newly-discovered friends at a future genealogy conference, please feel free to join us. All I ask is advance notice.