Saturday, July 02, 2011

Friday - June 24, 2011 - AAW symposium; part 1

St. Paul's weather on the morning of June 24, 2011 was absolutely lovely.  I really enjoyed seeing the colorful flower baskets that lined the street from the Crowne Plaza to River Centre.  The walk to the symposium site was about five blocks altogether - a nice bit of exercise each day, especially by the time you walked it several times.

The first event of the symposium is the opening ceremony.  This is held in a large room that fits all the attendees.  The enrollment by the start of the symposium was more than 1700 people.  I have no idea what the daily numbers were or how many people were there just for the trade show and instant gallery.

Board members sit up on the stage at the beginning of the session.

The national anthem was sung by Pippa, a new staff member.  She has a lovely voice and I understand that she often sings the anthem for various sporting events and conventions.

Tom Wirsing, current president of the board of directors, introduced David Ellsworth.

David gave the opening remarks and talked about the history of AAW from the beginnings of 25 years ago.  David was the first president of AAW, and has membership number 001.  He was also the first recipient of the Lifetime Membership award, and he was this year's POP committee merit awardee.

Cindy Bowden is the current Executive Director of AAW, and this was her first AAW symposium.  She gave an overview of her vision for the future of AAW.

Tom Wirsing then took the stage to give an overview of the symposium, and to make some general announcements.  The demonstrators and their sessions were announced as well.

The crowd was huge for the opening ceremony - the largest attendance I've seen. 

Rapt attention to what is being displayed on the big screen.

I can't remember this gent's name, but I asked him if I could take his portrait as he was studying the program after the end of the opening ceremonies.  I love his colorful outfit.  He was pretty easy to spot throughout the weekend.

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