The 34th Annual BLADE Show starts this Friday at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta and you can maximize your experience by knowing what to see and when. But before you do that, be sure you come prepared.
1) Dress appropriately. Comfort is the watchword. Bring two pairs of shoes—one to wear while walking the show in the morning, the other for the afternoon. And be sure they’re well broken in and comfortable! Don’t worry about being a fashion plate. Getting around the 116,000-square-foot hall is a marathon, not a fashion show runway. Leave the spiked heels at home.
2) Carry a small water bottle. The show hall can get humid/hot and you need to stay hydrated.
3) Eat an apple mid-morning and mid-afternoon for energy and to maintain your, ahem, constitution. Apples also are good for hydration.
4) Don’t be afraid to bring a roller case (like the one pictured herein being pulled by award-winning Canadian knifemaker Brent Beshara) or small backpack to carry stuff (including your extra pair of shoes, ball cap and sunglasses [see below]). Carry bags can get hard on your arm after a while.
5) Wear a ball cap and sunglasses—and shorts if you can because Atlanta gets hot in the afternoon in June—in case you want to watch any of the outdoor seminars. The sun can beat down on your head and give you a heckuva headache;
As for stuff to see, the main attraction, of course, is knives and more of them than you will see at any one time under one roof anywhere. There are also other attractions, including:
•On Thursday, the day before the show begins, and Friday the world’s foremost knife authorities will conduct classes on a variety of knife subjects in the 2nd Annual BLADE University. Learn from such world-famous makers as Jerry Fisk, Bill Harsey, Tony Bose, Ed Fowler, Ryan Johnson, Spartan Blades, Case, Joe Keeslar, Murray Carter and many more;
•By noon Friday all entries for the BLADE Magazine Knife Of The Year® Awards sponsored by New Graham Knives must be on display in the Knife Of The Year Display Area, which will have a new location this year—in the show lobby—for your viewing pleasure;
•At 2 p.m. Friday the show opens to the public but you’d better get there well before then because the lines start to form early;
•Friday after high noon, ABS master smith Jason Knight and other world-class smiths will hold an impromptu forging session in The Courtyard, the parking lot of the host Renaissance-Waverly Hotel, until the show closes at 7 p.m. This is a last-minute addition to the show and should be a rare treat;
•Saturday at 10 a.m. the ABS will hold its annual auction of top ABS handforged knives in Room 103;
•Saturday at 12:30 p.m. the ABS forging demonstration returns to The Courtyard with ABS master smith Timothy Potier showing you the ins and outs of how to handforge a knife;
•On Saturday at 4:15 p.m. Jessica Elias, the first-ever female contestant in the 13th Annual BLADE Show World Championship Cutting Competition conducted by BladeSports International, will show her stuff in The Courtyard along with the rest of this year’s qualifiers;
•FREE BLADE Show programs and August/BLADE Show preview issues of BLADE® will be distributed in the show lobby containing complete show schedules, events, exhibitor table and booth numbers and much more.
•After show hours, hit The Pit in the Renaissance-Waverly Hotel lobby to share sharp tales of the day’s events, what you saw, what others saw and more. Things are usually hopping/get hopping by 8 or 8:30 p.m., sometimes earlier.
Come on down and enjoy the show!