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A Georgia Peach of a Weekend

The Woodworking Shows traveled to Atlanta this last weekend with blue skies and temperatures in the lower 70’s. The grass was starting to green up and there were blossoms on the trees. Though it would rain on Saturday and Sunday, this was a big change from the temps just above freezing at home.

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Ah, to be in the South again. You can’t help but relax with the decidedly slower pace and congenial populace.  I had lunch at an especially friendly place, Mary Macs, and found that they took their slogan to heart. “We’ll feed your tummy and rub your back” was literally what they did. Southern charm and cooking at its best. Somehow I don’t think that the delis in New Jersey last week would have offered the same service.

Before heading out to the venue about 30 minutes from downtown, I stopped to take the behind the scenes tour of CNN.

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 This is the world headquarters of this 24/7 news station and the one hour tour made me far more appreciative of what it takes to investigate, produce and air their varied content. A view and explanation of the control room, reporters’ stations and watching a live broadcast made this a trip worth taking.

What we’ve seen in the past and what I expected was a very well attended show, I wasn’t disappointed. The aisles were occasionally so packed that you had to find detours to get to the booth you were looking for. Oddly, the show would clear out about an hour prior to closing each day but, while they were there, the attendees sat in on all the seminars and spent a good deal of money in most all the vendors booths. This helped solidify Atlanta’s place among the best of the Big Ten shows.

If you were a turner, this was really your show. There were many displays and lectures about techniques and products for lathe work. There were stunning vases and bowls as well as a giant bowl on a shop built lathe. The turning chisel had a handle that was over 4 feet alone!

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Marquetry was also a big part of this show due, I’m sure, to the influence local artist Jane Burke has had on the largest of the woodworking guilds in the area. This “Whimsical Tool Chest” by Ken Kline was but one beautiful example.

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Definitely one of the highlights of this weekend for me was sharing my booth for a Friday morning TV spot with WAGA’s Joanne Feldman. The station’s meteorologist did a live feed from the show floor allowing us to show what was in store for those who attended during our stint in the city. She certainly brightened my day and that WOOD apron never looked better.

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In the Show Off Showcase, the Conestoga Wagon of Sherman Francisco took top honors with a very close second and third going to Toney Boling’s Lady Liberty sculpture and the Marine Corps Emblem from George North respectively.

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 The turned sphere was my personal favorite. As the final judging approaches in Houston, we’ll have a great variety from which to choose an eventual grand prize winner.

Time is running out on the 2010-2011 woodworking show season. With only four shows left, you only have a few opportunities to see what we have worked so hard to bring you. Next week we move to Chantilly, Virginia and the last of the Big Ten shows. Then it’s on to Tampa, Charlotte and Houston. If you can find the time to come out to see us, we’ll show you a great time. Not too sure about the back rub though. Sorry.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

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