Who doesn’t like a party?
There were the TeaLet “Off the Beach” evening gatherings as well as the WTE Networking event. The “Long Beach Foodie” suggestions deftly constructed by Chris Giddings, and the Big Bash, The World Tea Awards Dinner.
I found myself again, overwhelmed with choices and jet lag loomed over my every move.
Prior to attending the expo, the excitement intensified with the few G+ meet-ups, coordinated by Rachel Carter of IHeartTeas. The discussions ranged from; which conferences to attend, booths to visit, unique teas to try and who would supply equipment for our own tea tasting.
Another question posed at one of our meetings was who was interested in attending the Awards dinner?
Our motivation magnified, as two of our members had been nominated for awards this year.
Best Social Media Reach and Best Tea Blog
Best Tea Blog the second year in a row.
Rachel volunteered to coordinate the interested parties, to determine if we had enough interest so we might save a few dollars and get a table reserved for our group. Yes! we had our ten commitments and were ready to enter the “what does one wear discussions”.
These discussions continued on a FaceBook, private thread, a fun filled posting of commentary only few would understand. We are such a lively, audacious, supportive group.
There was talk of costumes and kilts, along with black tie optional. Jen Piccotti added clarity based on her attendance at last year’s event.
I was resolved to wear something very out of the ordinary and embellished with my own creations.
Award evening came and there was a flurry of activity, make-up, hair, dress, 3 ½” heels (worn only on special occasions, with a pre-arranged shoulder to lean on).
Naomi Rosen, Joy’s Teaspoon, offered a few of us a ride to the event being held on the Queen Mary.
Part of my inclination to attend, on a personal note, a few of my family members had come to this country on this historic ship.
Walking through the decks of the ship, I took the opportunity to imagine what it must have been like in the years of its glory.
A tad bit late, our table already filled with members of our jovial group and the awards ceremony began.
The emcees: Kevin Gascoyne, Camellia Sinensis, Canada and Bruce Richardson, Elmwood Inn Fine Teas and Benjamin Press, Kentucky.
I got comfortable and waited for the fun to start.
This years awards compiled a few old and a few new categories:
Best Tea Publication; Best Social Media Reach; Best Tea Industry Website; Best Tea Business; Best Tea Blog; Best Tea Educator; Best Tea Health Advocate; Best Marketing; Best Tea Industry Innovator; Best Tea Personality.
And the best award of all the John Harney Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed on James Norwood Pratt.
(Note I have chills as I type this, as upon mention of the names of these two great industry leaders holds such a special meaning for me).
When an individual has dedicated so much of his life to an industry providing so many, with so much, and does so with humility and passion, I am always moved. Mr. Pratt, Norwood, Thank you. And Thank You, Mrs. Pratt, Valerie for sharing him with us.
And the winners are:
Congratulations to all the winners!
As it was mentioned at our table, and although I was sitting with some of the most creative, informative, talented tea focused writers, many published authors in their own right, having two of us nominated brings such joy to our hearts.
Having Nicole win for Best Social Media Reach (again I’m getting chills) is like having your favorite sports teams win the pennant, though this time I’m close enough to get an autograph.
Oh, by the way Nicole can you sign my program?
I am so happy and proud; you truly earned this award and have done so with fervent effort and tireless resolve.
Yes, as you can see, I had my favorites and when the nominations were revealed, I wrote my customary, obligatory, post listing items for readers to consider.
I must remember a sage saying “principles before personalities”
The party continued with congratulations exchanged, networking meetings, fun photo ops and solidifying plans for the balance of the evening.
My most favorite photo of all is this one “Thank You” to all the TeaBloggers who attended and those around the country and the world for your support and dedication to written words of the leaf and all that applies.
Our evening ended much too soon.
As we left we were given a gift package from Ito En, thanks Rona for this special treat.
A special Thanks to Geoff Norman who got us back to our respective residences safely.