A significant event occurred in Kokomo this past Saturday and Sunday. If you missed the National Depression Glass Association, Incorporated, Glass Show and Sell, you missed a spectacular display of some of this nation’s most beautiful artistic glass. I almost missed the whole event. Let me explain
My wife Connie and I collect glass, both cut glass from the American Brilliant period and Depression glass. We are not experts by any stretch of the imagination, but we are students of artistic glass manufacturing.
I learned about the glass show while having lunch with John O’Donnell, owner of Opalescent Glass of Kokomo. The conversation went something like this. John said, “Did you know there is some kind of glass show at the Kokomo Events Center?” My answer was no, what is it. John, the owner of one of the major glass operations in the United States, Opalescent Glass, had barely heard of the event, and did not know its size, nature, or products.
On Saturday morning I decided to stop at the Kokomo Events Center for a quick look at the glass show. To say I was amazed was an understatement. After taking a brief look at the surroundings, I understood what a significant event for Kokomo this was. My departure to get my wife Connie was immediate.
Both of us returned for a three hour tour of some of the most fantastic glass objects we have ever, ever, seen, and we have visited many glass extravaganzas. There were 32 dealers from the East coast to the West coast. Thirteen national glass organizations were in attendance. The NDGA had a dinner in the Kokomo Automotive Museum attended by 170 members of that organization and their friends. The NDGA called it “Dinner with the Cars.” The dinner was catered by The Golden Corral. At 8 p.m. there was a live auction of many of the vendor’s glass products and previous to that was a silent auction in the afternoon.
The President of the NDGA and Co-Show Chair is Danny Cornelius from Port Washington, Ohio. One sad note, Danny told me Tommy Smith of Carmel, Ind. -- his co-host of the show -- had a heart attack in one of Kokomo’s restaurants and subsequently died. Sincere condolences to Tommy’s family in Carmel. He would have been proud of his show.
Danny told me he had great cooperation from Jim Parsons and the Kokomo Automotive Museum, Convention and Visitors Bureau, merchants, and hotels and restaurants. But he gave particular praise to Dave Turner, Curator of the Greentown Glass Museum for his help in bringing this wonderful glass extravaganza to the citizens of Kokomo.
After witnessing the Glass Show and Sell for the best part of two days, here are my thoughts. This was a significant event for a city the size of Kokomo, or any size city.
An event of this nature should have been the focus of both county and city government. For the time I was there, and it was considerable, no county or city officials were in evidence. That is not their fault because the people responsible for informing local politicians of events which should require their participation, stood mute, namely the Convention and Visitors Bureau. The CVB helped with hotel reservations and prepared bags with local information. But how much effort does that take? What they should have done was inform the Mayor, the county commissioners and other members of the Kokomo community that this is an important event and warrants their attention.
What is the mission of the CVB, if it is not to promote and enhance the efforts of the Kokomo Events Center, the Seiberling Mansion, and other entities in our community that attract tourists. The CVB reports to no one, and has extracted itself from a highly visible venue, the Kokomo Events Center, into the bowels of the inner city and away from visibility.
The CVB is now sequestered with the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance led by highly Jeb Conrad. One highly ineffective organization in bed with another highly ineffective organization is not good business.
Regardless of the inequities of our well paid tourist organizations, the organizers of the Glass Show and Sale, hopefully, feel their efforts were fruitful and the NDGA will once again return to Kokomo.
One last point. The Convention and Visitors Bureau should have a direct reporting responsibility to the Mayor of Kokomo. The CVB would have direction, a positive Kokomo focus, visibility, and professional supervision.