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AIS: Conventions

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Bill Shear
> I do understand the concern over the costs of AIS
> conventions.  But that is
> a problem that I think could rather easily be
> addressed--after all, if TBIS
> can have a convention "on the cheap" then why
> cannot costs of AIS
> conventions be reduced?

   V. sez:
   It should be noted that the registration fee of the
National convention is set by the host club, not by AIS.
Also, the goal is to set the registration fees to just
cover the expenses and not lose money - they are not jacked
up to generate income for either the host club or AIS. The
last time that the Susquehanna Iris Society hosted a
convention in PA, they lost money. (Since we are doing it
again next year, we obviously haven't learned from our
experience...) The shortage was covered by donations from
the other clubs in the region, and from the regional
treasury. Neither the AIS nor the attendees were asked to
make up the shortfall.
   I attended the convention planning meeting in Dallas.
Bonnie Nichols had set the Dallas registration cost based
on a breakdown on each expense, including how many dollars
worth of snacks each attendee could be expected to consume
at the tour gardens. (Convention highlight for me - when
she mentioned this, Clarence Mahan said, "Oh yeah, that
reminds me," and reaches into his pocket and pulls out a
handful of Goldfish crackers that he had been carrying
around all day.)
   One thing that limits the ability to do a cheap national
convention is that the hotel has to have an adequate number
of meeting rooms, plus a large enough banquet hall to hold
400-700 attendees. The pool of potential hotels that are
large enough to do this is quite small. A smaller section
or regional convention has more options, and may be able to
find someplace smaller and cheaper.
   One major expense is the cost of mailing all the guest
irises back to the hybridizers after the convention is
over. Another expense is paying for all the labels for the
guest irises. (You will be happy to know that we did not
use the "mouse graveyard" plastic spoons.) These are
expenses that are not incurred by other group's
"preconvention" tours, or by a visit to Cooley's or
   All said and done, though, most of the expense of
attending the convention is travel expenses getting there,
and cost of the hotel room. The registration fee is only a
small part of the total.

--- Martha Brown <mbrown@pldi.net> wrote:
>  AIS Conventions showcased the 434 TBs and
> basically ignored the 420 non-TBs registered in
> that year.  Is that fair to the hybridizers and
> enthusiasts of the other 420 Iris?
> Especially when it is done every year?  Could
> there be a correlation between the lack of
> emphasis placed on non-TBs by the AIS and the fact
> there are not as many hybridizers or growers?
> Therefore not as many registrations?
> If AIS is going to continue to primarily focus on
> TBs then they need to eliminate AIS membership
> dues, implement TB section dues and every one only
> pays dues for the section or sections they are
> interested in.  Each section could then operate
> independently in the matter of conventions.
> Instead those people who cannot or do not care to
> grow TBs continue to subsidize YOUR interest in
> TBs with their AIS dues.  Does that seem fair to
> you?
> Martha

   V. sez:
   Please note that the AIS does not specify what types of
irises are to be submitted as guests. Any hybridizer is
free to send any type that they wish. Because most intros
are TBs, though, most guests will be TBs. Knowing this, the
convention is set for when it will be peak TB bloom.
(Hopefully!) Please note that the convention dates are NOT
determined by the AIS - they are determined by the host
   There will certainly be irises other than TBs at a
national convention. There were SDBs, IBs, BBs, MTBs, SPUs,
and LAs in Dallas, all of which were in bloom during the
convention. (Although I only remember seeing one SDB still
out.) There weren't any Siberians, because they don't like
the hot weather in Texas, but there will be a significant
number of Siberian guests at the convention next year -
this is a good area for them. There will also be Spurias,
medians, and I know I saw one I. Pseudacorus variant as a
guest. Rest assured that there will be irises besides TBs.
   Some types are underrepresented at the national
conventions, though. Not too many dwarf guests are sent,
because they will probably be done blooming before the
convention. PCNs won't grow in most of the country, so no
one wants to send them just to have them die. JIs bloom too
late to make a significant showing during the National.
However, there is a convention for the little guys in New
England next spring, just before the National. There is a
separate convention for JIs, generally every three years.
This gives these types an opportunity to be showcased and
have their moment in the sun. (sic)

Vince Lewonski
Secane, PA
Zone 6b
Region 3 RVP, worker bee for next year's National
convention in York, PA/Hunt Valley, MD, and grower of both
TBs and "others"

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