Quiet Water Symposium---busts that cabin fever!
The QWS is in its 12th year as the only event of its kind in Michigan (that I know of). It's a roundup of all the natural outdoor activities and interests. And it's hosted at the huge Pavilion on the south side of the MSU campus.
A big factor in its success is that it's a great chance to get rid of cabin fever! By the first week in March some regional folks are starting to feel a little cooped up. It's a great and unique time to have a big show!
[UPDATE: All in the family! I just realized that all 3 of us brothers have booths at the upcoming QWS! A trade show first? I'll have the OYB booth, my brother Tim will have the MSU Bikes (LAB?) booth and my brother Kelvin will have his http://RavenFarm.com sawmill / recycled lumber booth. Furthermore, I'll be displaying some of my wife's hotselling affordable recessionproof recycled wool http://LazyGal.biz fiber art. And Kelvin will display his wife's turned bowls. So there's FIVE of us sibs/inlaws displaying at this show! Crayzee!]
It started out having a watery/boaty focus but a few years ago they let in a nut who had a table that displayed a weird recumbent bike along with skis and bows and sleds. : ) The event has gone downhill since until now it includes the whole range of outdoor seasonal activities. "Water" is still in the main title because we Michiganders are casual people who easily see connections that others might miss---hey, all these activities require water in some way, right?
I suppose the event parallels other regional expos like Canoecopia in Madison, WI. Actually, the QWS is the "kick off" outdoor event. Canoecopia is the following week. I'd like to check it out as well, but, heck, they're "across the pond." I bet we get zero of "them" and they get a few of "us."
I daresay the QWS is more homespun, perhaps more convivial, too, than the other bigger trade shows. There aren't any truly big corporate booths. (Or maybe there will be---it keeps growing!) Subaru is a great QWS sponsor, but they keep a humble "support" profile. Sure, check out the cars if you like, but they're aren't pushy...or garish. Heck, they're in the far corner!
And OYB will be there once again! Yes, it's a rare show that will let me in or is affordable enough. Stop by and say Hi!
I haven't displayed for the past few years because the best ski race of the year (Black Mountain!) is that day (sniff sniff...) but it's time to get back in the mix!
The show is at a big exhibit hall with 100+ tables, then there are hourly presentations from regional and national outdoor "celebrities" in a couple meeting halls off to the side.
Camping guru Cliff Jacobson is a featured presenter this year along with the wandering McGuffin canoe and nature and photo family of Canada.
There's still a small boat focus with dozens of tables displaying canoes, kayaks, rowboats, small sailboats---and club projects, do-it-yourselfers and kitboats. Adventurers, cruisers and racers are all in the mix.
But today they've been joined by booths for dogsleds and snowshoes and primitive skills and treeclimbing demo (up in the rafters!) and Boy Scouts and conservation and scuba and expedition displays.
It's a chance for all outdoorsy folk in the vicinity to pow-wow.
And across the barriers elsewhere in the big hall there's the annual rabbit show and the heritage livestock show. A fun day for all!
Still... I like the name and so do all the locals but maybe it's a bit limiting. I like the Michigander joke we play on it. *We* know it's more than watersport. But, really, we should let the public in on it. For being the only non-motor outdoor sports show it hasn't caught on as well as it could. I wonder if a name that included the subhead "Winter Water Wonderland" would help... Well, probably what it really needs is a few more hot PR *volunteers*.
The whole event is VOLUNTEER-run! ---Which is what makes it such a refreshing get-together.
[photo R. Bailey]