The AAW convention will be Nov. 14-17, in Springfield. Our hope is that every IAW member will help us get donations by identifying individuals or businesses that you know produce unique, one-of-a-kind items.
Keep in mind that convention is scheduled just before Thanksgiving and the time of year when women start thinking about Christmas gifts. In the past we’ve had exhibitors taking orders for fresh Christmas wreaths from Idaho. Do we have Christmas tree farms in Illinois or would there be someone from Wisconsin or Michigan who might want to do this? What are we known for in Illinois? Does anyone specialize in stovepipe hats or Lincoln memorabilia? If you know someone who is creative, please give Sheila or me a call or email.
In 2004 when we hosted the convention in Davenport we had 30 exhibitors for the trade show. One ladies clothing store specialized in “ugly Christmas sweaters”, which was surprisingly popular. Several vendors had unusual pottery (one had Queen Anne’s Lace patterns embossed on the china) and one riverboat captain had books to sell. Marla Behrends had an interesting booth sponsored by Midwest Dairy set up for women to check out their bone density. This year Roger DeWitt from Gillespie, plans to display his rural-themed artwork and we are hoping for additional newcomers! We will ask each exhibitor to donate something for the silent auction and if we’re lucky there will be a few big items for a live auction.
Once again my favorite “chore” is asking Illinois companies to donate 300 small items, such as Beer Nuts, popcorn, or notecards to set at each place setting at our meals. (If any are left over, we can use them in the hospitality room, chaired by Lorrie Stahl.) This is where we contact companies like Libby in Morton for cans of pumpkin, G.H. Cretors for 4 ounce packages of “Chicago Mix” popcorn, Kraft, Pepperidge Farm, State Farm insurance, Farm Bureau, the Corn Growers (I think they have crayons!), etc. I’m not sure if Funk Farms will consider donating their small plastic bottles of maple syrup, but if not I will try to find a donor to pay for them.
We also need help contacting wineries, soft drink distributors, and other products for the hospitality room, such as crackers or cheese dip. Of course, the very best donation is one from YOU — homemade cookies or snack items.
Put your thinking caps on and we’ll be happy to hear your ideas! We realize that not everyone likes to ask for donations. So, if you prefer not to do this yourself, please give us any “leads” and we will try to follow up.