One of the fun things about writing this newsletter is that I get to visit a lot of genealogy conferences. At many conferences, I am able to host a dinner for the readers of this newsletter. In fact, the dinner held last Saturday evening was one of the biggest ever. In my mind, it also was one of the most successful ever. I know that I enjoyed it immensely, and I saw a lot of smiles around the dinner table as well.
I tried to make reservations at a local restaurant some weeks before the conference but failed to do so. The reservations process is always a bit tricky; I normally ask for a reservation of "about 30 people." Several weeks ago, I checked Google Maps to find local restaurants near the convention center. The restaurants that I called were either closed on Saturday evenings or else declined to handle a huge crowd on one of the busiest evenings of the week.
On the first day of the FGS conference, I told anyone who asked that we probably would not have a dinner on Saturday. Luckily, a few newsletter readers suggested that I check out the Gas House, a restaurant a bit further away from the convention center but still within walking distance. I had not called this one earlier as I had assumed it was too far away. However, I walked to the Gas House one evening and had dinner. It was excellent. When I asked if we could have seating for "about 30 or 35 people, the reply was "No problem." I felt we had it made.
One minor problem arose: when I placed a sign-up sheet in the EOGN booth, no less than 50 people signed up! On Saturday, I called the restaurant to confirm the reservation and then asked if we could increase the guest count to 50. There was a long pause on the other end of the phone, followed by some talking in the background. After a bit of discussion, the lady said, "We can handle 50."
After the close of the conference on Saturday evening, 50 newsletter readers gathered in front of the conference hotel and walked to the Gas House restaurant. We filled the largest dining room. The noise level skyrocketed as genial genealogists dove into drinks, appetizers, and entrées.
I think everyone enjoyed the dinner. In fact, I have uploaded a few pictures taken by Bobbi King and Beau Sharbrough. (Thanks for the photos Bobbi and Beau!) I think you will see smiles all around in these photos.
We also play a game at each dinner. I won't reveal the details of the game here; you have to attend to learn what we do. However, I will say that I have never seen a tie in the past. This time we had not only a tie, but a three-way tie! Three different people guessed exactly the same thing. I gladly purchased the dinners of all three.
To everyone at the dinner, I have one thing to say: "Thank you for making this event one of the highlights of my writing career."
You can view pictures of the Saturday Evening EOGN Dinner at http://blog.eogn.com/photos/eogn_dinner_in_ft_wayne/.