We were a noisy group, although I doubt if any other customers noticed. Calhoun's is a rather noisy place on a Saturday evening.
My congratulations to Lila Davis for winning the free meal at the dinner.
When the check came, everyone chipped in. Actually, there was a bit of "extra money" and someone in the group suggested we donate the extra to the War of 1812 Matching Grant Challenge pension files effort to place the records online. We did so and donated the money in the name of the Indiana Genealogical Society.
The Indiana Genealogical Society will MATCH any donation made, up to the first $10,000. ANY amount you can give will help - even $5 will digitize 10 pages. Plus, thanks to the matching grant challenge, your donation amount is automatically doubled. More donations are welcome - donate online, or send your check (made payable to Indiana Genealogical Society) to:
Indiana Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 10507
Fort Wayne, IN 46852-0507
Calhoun's Restaurant has several locations in and around Knoxville. For more information about the restaurant, go to http://www.calhouns.com (but beware of the obnoxious sound that is played in your computer's speakers as soon as you go to the site).
It's Time to Change the PlansThe Saturday-evening dinners have been a long tradition, going back twenty-two years, even before this newsletter first appeared. For me, the dinners have always been the best part of the conference week and I have many fond memories of the various events. They were almost always unplanned. I simply went looking for a restaurant near the convention location after arriving in the city. Most of these last-minute events succeeded, although a very few were disasters. That has been a part of the fun: can we pull it off again?
However, the unplanned, free-wheeling dinners are now becoming more and more difficult to pull off. I got lucky this week, it worked well. However, attendance was limited to 35 people and many, many more wanted to attend. I created an electronic sign-up sheet and it was filled in six minutes. Many others were disappointed when they tried to sign up for the dinner and received a message of "fully booked."
I think it is time for a change. I'd like to continue having a dinner or some sort of an informal get-together where people can relax and chat with old friends as well as meet a few new friends. However, the present format is no longer working.
I am not sure what the next Saturday-night-after-the-conference event will be and, in fact, I am asking for your suggestions. If you have any ideas, please add them to the comments at the end of this article. I would hope to continue to have some sort of relaxed and informal event after the conference ends.
Whatever the event, there are a few ground rules:
- It must be held at a location within walking distance of the convention center and participating hotels or else be within easy access via public transportation. We cannot easily transport 35 to 100 people via automobiles or buses.
- The location needs to be handicap-accessible.
- If food is to be served, it needs to be good food, appealing to many people (no sushi restaurants, I'm afraid), and it must be reasonably priced.
- While not absolutely necessary, the place probably should serve adult beverages. Many people like to have wine, beer, or mixed drinks with their meals.
- The most difficult part of all is the timing: the restaurant must be able to handle a large crowd on a Saturday evening. If it is a good restaurant and well-known in the area, it probably is crowded on Saturday evenings (as Calhoun's was this past Saturday). It's tough to get a reservation for a large crowd on a Saturday. In times past, several restaurants have declined such reservations when I asked.
- The date and time must never, ever interfere with the conference. In the past, these dinners have always been held after the conference closes.
If you live in or near one of those cities, I would especially like to hear your suggestions of a suitable location.
I might be willing to hold dinners or other social events after other conferences as well.
Please let me know your suggestions below.