IFTD was absolutely invigorating. It’s so good to see so many people whom you genuinely like in one place at one time. It’s also soul-strengthening to jump in the mix with kindred spirits who share a passion for a pastime you enjoy. I’ll admit that I totally underestimated the new product appeal of a trade show that happens in October. I saw more cool stuff today than I saw at the last five trade shows, combined. It was like a massive family reunion. And people were genuinely happy. It was a really, really good experience.
My hat is off to Ben Bulis and the entire AFFTA crew. Kudos are also owed to Gary Berlin and everyone running the New Product Showcase, which has over 240-some-odd products in it. Congratulations to everyone who committed and took part in this event from the manufacturers/exhibitors to the retailers/attendees. This show has some serious purpose.
The Industry Breakfast was packed. Keynote speaker Steve Rinella was great. The show floor was hopping.
Now, there will be some who say, “Well, I didn’t write a lot of business at the show, because I’d already done that.” That’s fair and that’s fine.
But it comes down to this. Do you want a trade organization? I do. I think AFFTA is a positive force on many levels. AFFTA makes its lifeblood through this event. We need this show, because we need AFFTA. So let’s set that discussion aside. This was a great day for fly fishing, and we need to recognize that and build from here.