By Jim McCloskey
It’s that time of year again: I’ve started organizing the things I’ll be bringing to Orlando for the 2014 International Pool|Spa|Patio Expo, and I’m getting close to hopping on the plane and fly to what I’ve long seen as an odd sort of family reunion.
I haven’t been to Orlando in quite a while, so I’m taking an extra day while I’m there to get out and about. As I mentioned in a recent Travelogue, I plan on a return visit to Lake Eola to see its renovated, updated fountain. I’m also hoping to find my way up to take in a few of the 50 acres of Harry P. Leu Gardens – an exercise in stopping to smell the roses (and camellias) before things get hectic with the show.
But mostly I plan on running the WaterShapes booth at the Expo, talking with old friends, making new acquaintances and continuing to spread the good word about what’s going on with WaterShapes.com and our plans for growth in the year to come.
We’re also staging a sweepstakes drawing: Provide us with your email address and those of two friends or colleagues and you’ll be eligible for a drawing to win a complete, mint-condition set of all 131 of the issues of WaterShapes we printed between February 1999 and July 2011. (And don’t worry about having to lug your prize home: We’ll ship it to you later on, no problem.)
For all the fun I plan to have, my main mission in being at the show is to talk with watershapers about submitting articles to our digital newsletter and web site. We now have more than 3,000 articles on file – approximately 1,200 of them representing every feature and column ever published in the magazine, but the other 1,800 representing newsletter articles and features available exclusively on the web site.
It’s a tribute to the pace and capacity of the web: It took us 13 years to get 1,200 articles into print. It’s taken us a bit under four years to include 1,800 more – a feast of variety that includes a couple hundred videos, a couple hundred watershaping-related product introductions and fun stuff including Ripples, The Aquatic Quiz and the abovementioned Travelogues.
We’ll be in Booth #405, which is in the Genesis 3 Pavilion and conveniently close to their spread of wine, cheese and crackers. We’ve been part of the G3 Pavilion from its earliest manifestations, and I’ve always found it to be the best of all possible gathering places on the show floor. So please do drop by, complete your entry for the sweepstakes and let us know what you’re thinking: Seeing you, after all, is why we’re at the show!
I’m particularly pleased that the Association of Professional Landscape Designers is participating in the Expo in a big way this year. It was my great hope when we started WaterShapes in 1999 – and a desire that accelerated when we started publishing LandShapes in 2006 – that we would serve as a bridge that might carry water-friendly landscape professionals to pool shows and flip the favor by encouraging landscape-savvy watershapers to attend green-industry events. Particularly, I was interested in closer communication with members of APLD, many of whom have participated in what we’ve done all through the past 15 years.
Raymond Jungles will be the keynote speaker for APLD’s events at the Expo, and we at WaterShapes have done what we can to build awareness of his amazing body of work (much of it featuring watershapes in variously prominent ways) by publishing three articles on his projects in the last several editions of our digital newsletter, with one more to come on November 5.
I can see only good coming out of APLD’s Expo participation. I hope the turnout among their members is strong, and I also hope that there’s cross-over attendance at their events and that pool/spa folks will mix and mingle with their landscape-oriented colleagues.
We ran columns by landscape designers Stephanie Rose and Bruce Zaretsky in every issue of WaterShapes we ever published to encourage these connections and conversations, and I’d love to see the relationship between APLD and the Expo work out brilliantly!
For information on what APLD is planning at the show, click here.