No Show, But Tell

By Debra Levy

By now you have surely heard that GlassBuild America (GBA) 2020 has been cancelled, its next live incarnation will be in September 2021 in Atlanta. Before I go further, let me mention a few things. First, I began going to the then-NGDA annual convention at a very early age—just entering my 20s in fact. And second, I want you to know that my perspective is formed by a number of years running that show years ago when I worked at the association and the fact that our company, KMR, now also produces live events for the glass and metal industry, though mostly on a regional basis. Third, I was very surprised it was cancelled, but understand how the virus has led many people to choose to skip this year and I would guess that was a factor as well.

I feel an affinity for the show, as it and I grew up in the glass business together. It marks the passage of time for me. It holds memories. It has always signaled the start of the selling season and is an effective and fun way to catch up with your colleagues in person.

The photo here is of two coasters that I still use every day in my home. One is from the first show I attended in 1982 in Atlanta. The second is from 1988 in San Antonio. I had a complete set for every year they were produced. But over time, most have broken and these are the last two that remain. The picture also shows a sample from the assortment of programs, trinkets, pins (yes, the association gave out pins in those days) and other memorabilia that I have kept over the years.

So there is no joy in this news for me and I will tell you, as a show organizer, it is a gut-wrenching decision to have to make. We faced the cancellation with our Glass TEXpo™ regional event earlier this year and there is a sadness that comes with it that is akin to mourning. You grieve just a bit for what might have and should have been.

The best thing about any live show has always been the people you get to see and the catching up. There are things you learn by talking face-to-face that you can’t learn any other way. And you get to experience new products live—you can see, hear, touch and smell them.

So even though it won’t be the same, virtual venues will have to do for this year. GBA’s sponsors are transitioning to a virtual event and we will have more info as it’s available. A week before the GBA announcement, our parent KMR announced the debut of a virtual event designed for those who would miss live events this year. Glass Expo VE and GlassCon Global VE will be held online September 9-10. You can find more details on pages 24 and 73. You are invited to attend at no charge as our guest. You can sign up at and use promo code USGM. I hope to see you there.

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