The husbeast & I have been in the Chicago area enjoying the Annual Chicagoland International Pipe and Tobacciana Show which is held at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois. This was our 3rd time attending, although we had missed the last 2 years. It was wonderful to get to spend time with pipe friends that we don't otherwise see. Like the Two Cousins, Mark & Tim, and Swedish pipe makers Martin Vollmer and Anders Neilsson. We arrived late Thursday evening. I wanted to be well rested for Friday when I was to be Matron of Honor in my friends' wedding. Tom and Lennea are members of the Seattle Pipe Club and decided it would be the perfect setting to be married while at the show. Friday was also the pre-show which was held out in the huge smoking tent. Here is a view of the action that day.
There was also a delicious welcome dinner Friday night. Saturday was the official start of the event. 300 tables filled with everything you can imagine that is related to pipe smoking. New and estate pipes of every make, shape and size, as well as plenty of tobacco. I was not in the market for a new pipe this year, having so many already that don't get the attention they deserve. I had 2 things on my list: Butera Kingfisher and a smaller pipe bag. I imagined I would like my new bag to be chocolate brown. I'm trying to break out of my "but black goes with everything" rut. And the new bag must also be leather. I already have a small Castleford pleather bag that I'm not overly fond of. There isn't anything wrong with that Castleford bag. I just prefer leather. I made a bee-line for the Smokin' Holsters table. I already own an Ultimate Archer Pipefolio in black and red checkered leather. However, I desired something a bit smaller to tote to pipe club. And there it was in all it's chocolatey brown leather goodness.
It is actually a little darker than the photo shows. Inside it has 2 roomy pipe pouches (which each hold 2 pipes comfortably), a big roomy zippered pocket opposite the pipe pouches, and 2 smaller pockets in the spine (for your lighter, tamper or what-have-you). Neil calls this the Ultimate 2/4 Bag. Mine is constructed of dark brown cowhide and kangaroo lacing with a tan deerskin interior.
I was very happy with my purchase. Even more so when my husband pointed out that Neil had signed, numbered and dated the bag. The bag's birthday was 4/16/12 which just so happens to be the date that I celebrated my birthday this year. It was meant to be mine.
My new bag needed some accoutrements. I picked up a tobacco pouch of embossed lambskin and a leather pipe cleaner holder.
Once I sew a little tamper sheath, to keep my new bag clean, I'll be all set. Next up on my list? Tobacco. I bought 3 tins of Blakeney's Best Bayou Slice and 2 tins of Cornell & Diehl Exhausted Rooster. The 2 tins of Sutliff Moulin Rouge were freebies. They aren't really my taste but I am putting them away in my "end-of-the-world" stash. I probably won't be as picky then.
I was looking everywhere for my absolute favorite tobacco, Butera Kingfisher. Sadly it is no longer available here in the states. I was hoping someone was parting with their private stash. There were many vendors doing just that, but I didn't see any of the Kingfisher. I was in front of one of those tables, commenting to my husband that if I could find a tin of my beloved tobacco I would gladly pay a high price. Just then I glanced down....and there it was. An older tin, too. The price was $20 and I happily claimed my prize. Later in that day we happened upon another tin, a newer version this time. It was also $20. Very precious, indeed, but these will be squirreled away for special occasions. The older tin is on the right.
Sunday was the Slow Smoke Contest. I had entered our Seattle Pipe Club's Slow Smoke, and done okay. Why not bite the bullet and enter this, with pipe smokers from all around the world? Did I think I could win? Of course not. But it was fun and the $40 entrance fee not only gets me a new pipe but helps support our hobby. I believe there were approximately 75 entrants, at least 4 of whom were female. There is a women's trophy, for the gal who smokes the longest, but it always goes to Manduela who is a Danish pipe maker. Still, she needs competition and maybe one of these times her pipe will go out. I smoked for just over 40 minutes. Not too shabby. 3 of the men at my table went out before I did. I don't know exactly where I placed because the UPCA hasn't posted the results to their web site yet, but I placed high enough to get to pick something from the prize table. I chose a tin of the competition tobacco. Here is the pipe and tamper I used in the contest, along with my reward.
Pheasant Run is a good sized resort. There is lots to see and do, both inside and out. Two of my favorite features involve fish. In front of the building, near the lobby is a small koi pond (to the left in the picture), with not-so-small koi.
Some of the carp in that lake are huge. We almost didn't see them. The water is murky and they stay well below the surface. You can just make one out in this photo.
That wraps up my report on this year's Chicago pipe show. I apologize for not showing many pipes. I leave you with this set that caught my eye.