Pen Show Recap: Baltimore Pen Show

(I flew back from Baltimore on Sunday night last week. It turned into an epic journey of flight delays. I didn’t land in KC until 2:30am on Monday morning which put my sleep deficit at an all-time high — at least since college. Apologies for the delay in getting a post-show recap published.)

Overall, this year’s Baltimore Washington International Pen Show (BWIPS) was a great show. There were lots of great vendors, friendly faces and, from what I gathered from other vendors, the sales were good.

Friday was a good steady stream of East Coast, die-hard, pen-and-ink collectors. What felt different on Friday in Baltimore compared with LA two weeks previously was that Friday attendees in Baltimore were more seasoned pen show attendees. In LA, there were a lot more newbies or “this is my first pen show” attendees. Since the California Pen Show is only two years old, this seems to make sense. But it was interesting.

Saturday, the weather turned rainy and there were some issues early in the day with parking but I think after noon, when other hotel guests had left, the parking issues improved. For future shows, I do recommend carpooling with friends or parking along the street (this was an option on the opposite of the street from the hotel though it might be a bit of a hike so plan accordingly). There were more “new to pen show” folks on Saturday but that is usually the case.

Sunday was a nice mix of 3-day pass holders and local residents who decided to avoid the rain on Saturday and come on Sunday instead. As a result we were busy up until closing time which is unusual. Most shows tend to slow down on Sundays around lunchtime.

The Baltimore Show is held at a hotel near the airport and there is a hotel shuttle from the airport to the hotel for folks coming in from out of town making it a pretty easy show to attend for travelers. For locals, the parking issue is a bit concerning but it did seem to diminish throughout the day on Saturday so I think, as long as you are prepared for a walk from on-street parking or doing a few loop-de-loops through the parking lot, its not terrible.

Locals, if you took public transport or have other transport recommendations, please put them in the comments.

The overall atmosphere of the Baltimore show is good. Folks were friendly and everyone seemed to have a good time.

I heard the classes and workshops were well-attended though there were some questions about where classes were being held so hopefully that gets sorted out for next year. Best recommendation would be to check with the front desk 10-15 minutes before your class to verify the location.

I’m trying a gallery of images this time so if there’s something you want to see in more detail, click on the image for a larger view.

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