Saturday crowd. More than one person commented that these ballrooms are too small for a show this size. I agree.

Okay, now that my second Pen Show has settled down in my memory, I think I can write up something.

First, let’s go through my “wish-to-do” list:

1. Shake hands with the masters: Danny Fudge, Mike Masuyama, Jim Rouse, Andreas Lambrou. And as a bonus, I get to introduce them and what they do to a group of FP beginners during the tours. Check!

I caught this corner when it’s not too crowded. Mike Masuyama near the door, Vanness Pens, Franklin-Cristoph, and Mr. Bill Zeeble at his “flex pens” table.

2. Meet fountain pen people: Lisa Vanness and Chris (they made me feel less of an idiot last year as a newbie at pen shows). Got to chat with them on and off and got some inks, tell them about Redeem Pens, and as a bonus, they have Ana Reinert (from the Well-Appointed Desk blog) helping out, so I got to meet with her. Also Mike Matteson (from the Inkdependence blog) helping out at the Franklin-Cristoph table. Plus the Anderson’s, after I mistakenly said they are from Ohio in the tours, Lisa Anderson was gracious not make a big deal out of it though when I told her about it, much to my relief! Check!

3. Rummage through parts bins. I scored a cap for my Sheaffer Imperial whose clip was hanging by the thread, got a cool NOS WingSung, a Wearever that looks like an Urushi ebonite pen (never seen one like this), a big orange pen with dip nib installed, and a Sheaffer BCHR self-filling from 1913. Given the little time I had left to dig the parts bin, this is not bad. Check!

Some of my haul from the show. From left to right: A free Rober Oster ink sample from Vanness pens (thank you, Lisa!), a Conway Stewart pen with gorgeous material, a Lakeside wood-grain ebonite, a rare Sheaffer BCHR Self-filling from 1913, Callifolio Ohlanga (because someone snag my bottle of Equinoxe 6 Bleau), and my daughter’s Retro51 Einstein mechanical pencil.

4. Get my daughter more interested in FP. She got herself a Pilot Kakuno from Mr. Jimmy Dolan, who, just like last year, was very friendly with kids and gave her a great deal. Also snagged an Einstein mech. pencil from Retro51. Check!

5. Get my better-half more interested in FP. She agreed to help at Pete’s Pen Shop tables. She even sold a couple of pens! Pete Kirby is both my mentor and a friend whom I can write a lot of things about — but that’s for later. My wife and I had so much fun talking about pens and pen collections with visitors, and letting them try some of the pens on display. Not to mention I’ve never seen a pack of ultra rare and high-end Pelikans in one place. Check!

My base at the show, Pete’s Pen Shop displayed a lot of gorgeous and some rare pens. What a treat!

6. Contribute to the local Pen Club who organizes the show. I did the tours, all 14 of them during two days. Amazingly, only 2 out of 14 tours are zero-participant. I get to meet beginners and some seasoned FP collectors who attended and I got to chat a lot with the vendors as they explain to the tours on what they brought to the show. Check!

7. Get a modern pen. I almost pulled the trigger on the Franklin-Cristoph P45 with the “antique glass” material, but somehow I didn’t get the same connection as I did with my P40. The pen seems too light for how it looks. The model 66 probably would have made me buy one, but they ran out of that on the first day. Not Check!

8. Table-hopping. Due to the tours my time is quite limited, I didn’t have time to get that nice Apica notebook from Dromgroole’s (did shake hands with boss Larry).  All those mouth-watering Italian pens at the Bittner’s, and I didn’t have the guts to ask how much is one of those Laban ebonite pen with snake clip, they are so pretty. I also get to hang out with the good folks at the calligraphy guild Kaligrafos, Chocolatier Brandon Lee working together with Ryan Krusac whose artworks are so detailed. FPR’s Kevin who is now based here in Dallas area. Karl and Kris Barndt (good friends at the pen club and Karl is a Lamy expert), and Mr. Rideau of Papier Plume, that fascinating store in New Orleans, and Ms. Shu-Jen from Taccia. Oh, and I bought 3 pens out of 3000 that Tim Pierson brought to the show.  Check!

9. Introduce Redeem Pens. I wore a name tag that has ‘redeempens‘ next to the Instagram icon. I talked with quite a few young people who recognized me from Reddit. That was awesome to meet them in person. Check!

The “Titanic” pen, with a “titanic” price tag. Featuring authentic wood piece from the Titanic. When I asked why a ballpoint? Mr. Rideau from Papier Plume answered calmly, “because we sold the fountain pen already, its price was $1000 more than this”

I also get to help people:
1. A young lady was looking for a cap for a Sheaffer pen that her Grandfather gave her, I happen to have one in my box at home, so I ask her to come by the next day and she did. Now she has a new cap for her keepsake pen.

2. A gentleman told me that he’d love to use a travel-friendly pen. When I showed him my Fisher Space Pen, he said he had the same pen for years but he developed a slight tremor and his grip wasn’t as sensitive as it used to be, so he lost a couple of those Space pens because they are so slender.  Then I got to think that a chunkier pen would probably work better for him. I suggested to him to visit the Andersons and get them to show him a Kaweco Sport. Later that day he came back to me beaming with smile, showed me an AL Kaweco Sport (with that awesome tin case) that he instantly loved.  He came back the second day and told some people his story, that prompted them to seek me out with their own questions.

Being able to interact and help each other is truly the highlight of my experience. As the saying goes, when you help others, it is your spirit that will be lifted up.

During one of the tours. Chocolatier Brandon Lee explains how he harmonizes his creations with Ryan Krusac pen materials.

Parting thoughts:

  • To pen show organizers, do the tours.People appreciate the directions, the vendors are happy to see more people, and the show gets the credits.These tours I did wouldn’t even be realized if it were not for Pete Kirby backing me up because he saw that the Chicago Pen Show (Kudos!) did it first and it was very useful. Also because Mike Walker (the president of our club in Dallas) blessed the idea and went along with it.
  • To me, the strength of the Dallas Pen Show lies in the numerous vintage pen collectors turned sellers here locally. Our weakness is that we don’t have Fountain Pen Day, or Nock, or PenAddict doing parties like in other shows. Why? I don’t know, but it sure would be nice.

In short, it’s like a whole other world that I get to take my family to escape for two days. It’s surreal, mind-boggling, tons of fun and tiring at the same time. And now, the long wait to the next one in 2017.

Written by will