American Sewing Guild Conference Bytes

by Ramona on August 3, 2012

Hi, there, reader! If you have just discovered ASG, we’ll talk here about our much-loved event of the year: the annual American Sewing Guild Conference. If you are a member and an ASG Conference veteran, you may be wondering about what goes on behind the scenes — three years before the actual event.

As these words are being typed, the ASG Headquarter office is alternately abuzz and silent with staff working to prepare for the 2012 Conference which is less than 2 weeks away. Have you ever wondered why ASG holds Annual Conferences in certain areas of the country and not others? Here are excerpts from Conference Administrator Maria Trevino’s article first printed in the Winter 2012 issue of Notions:

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“Let’s take you on an imaginary location search and site inspection. Does the location have a major airport offering reasonably priced flights in and out from anywhere in the country without having to change planes numerous times and then rent a car to arrive at the destination? Do most major airlines fly in and out of the airport? Is there a shuttle or public transportation between the airport and the venue? Is there convenient and reasonably priced parking for attendees who will be driving?

Now imagine we’ve arrived at the hotel. ASG Conference requires a minimum of 400-450 double rooms. Few hotels have this many double rooms. Those that cater to conventions and conferences are designed with business groups in mind and have a much larger ratio of single rooms to doubles. If they do have enough double rooms, what is their best room rate? How high are the additional room taxes? Many of the places we would most love to go have room rates of $250 a day and up, well beyond what most AGS members are comfortable spending. What are the hotel’s restaurant options? Can they handle large numbers of attendees who want to eat quickly between a day of classes and an evening event?

Next, we require two large ballrooms (most venues have only one), a 2500 sq ft vendor/exhibit area and an additional ballroom to seat up to 1000 for breakfast & lunch each day. That ballroom is also set up for our fashion show on Friday night. We also require 18-20 classrooms. Two or three of these rooms must seat 125, lecture style, and the remainder must seat up to 50, classroom style with tables.

The vendor/exhibitor hall must have reasonable access, including a loading dock for vendors. Many vendors pass on places that don’t easily accommodate their trucks & trailers. Union requirments can make or break our conference budget and many make it impossible for participating vendors to make a profit if they can’t plug in a cord without paying someone else to do it.

Are there nearby restaurants and eateries where attendees can catch a quick dinner and be back for the fashion show? Is the city a destination site with unique attractions that will appeal to sewing enthusiasts and their spouses? Enough ASG members within the area to make the conference a success? Other sewing shows in the area regularly? We need to draw good attendance from local chapter members. Is the local chapter an active, enthusiastic one that will provide on-site volunteers and hospitality?

We have experimented with convention centers. It involves having attendees at various hotels throughout the surrounding area, which greatly increases the amount of walking to get back and forth between venues.

Yes, we’d all love to go to Boston, New York, San Francisco and San Diego but these “top tier” cities come with room rates well beyond our budget and seldom meet our space requirements.

We strive to offer the best possible conference experience at the best possible price. Every ASG members owes it to herself to attend an ASG Conference at least once – there is no other sewing event that compares to it!”

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Whew!!  Thanks, Maria, that makes it clear, and indicates how much work goes into organizing the Annual Conference! This information is just the tip of the iceberg — just ask Maria!

 

{ 3 comments }

Dorothy August 4, 2012 at 10:04 pm

San Jose, California? Got all that and lots more close by.

Donella Petro August 6, 2012 at 1:24 am

How about Brooklyn Park, MN? It is easy to get to from the airport- about 1/2 hour drive. At the intersection of two major freeways. Newly remodeled and 34 million dollar renovation. It was the Northland Inn and is now a Marriott at Hwy 169 and I 694 on Bass Lake road.
Our chapter has had two fashion shows there. The Original Sewing and Quilt Expo is there for a few years.
Donella
Mpls/St Paul chapter

Patsy Sweetra August 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm

When will you be posting the Sewing Hall of Fame inductee? For those of us who do not get to all the conferences, posting of that information is very exciting to us. I don’t fly so I only get to attend within driving distance. Yes, I am waiting with bated breath for Arlington next year! I enjoy the conferences I get to attend very, very much! Keep up the good work!

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