What a weekend.
Holmes in the Heartland ended a few hours ago, and after coming home and taking a nap, I can finally start to reflect on the weekend. And it was a great weekend.
First and foremost, the planning committee, Brad Keefauver, Heather Hinson, Kristin Mertz, Adam Presswood, Cindy Brown, Joe Eckrich, and Stacey Bregenzer, put in a ton of work and had to put up with a lot of emails and deadlines from me over the past year. So I want to publicly say thank you to them for helping to make a great event.
A detailed recap of the weekend will be posted on The Parallel Case of St. Louis blog in August, so I'm just going to highlight a few points on this post.
After all of the planning and finagling it seems weird to say that my favorite moment of the weekend came from an unscheduled moment, but that's the way it worked out.
After the speakers' program ended on Saturday, we had a two hour break before the dinner banquet so I ran up to my hotel room for a minute. Coming back down to the lobby, the elevator doors opened up and I saw the lobby bar PACKED with Sherlockians. All of our local Sherlockians were mingling with out-of-towners. People were spending time with their old friends. People were meeting new folks, some that they had only interacted with online or read the name of as a mention or byline in an article.
And a huge smile spread across my face. We created that moment. If we hadn't planned Holmes in the Heartland and enticed people to visit St. Louis in July, those people would not have been enjoying their time together right there and then. Some people never would have met the folks they did this weekend. Great conversations with old friends would've gone un-had. The smiles and laughs during that time would've been spent somewhere else with other people. But instead, almost a hundred Sherlockians were able to get together for a few days and enjoyed each other's company.
I've said it over and over, but spending time with other Sherlockians is my favorite part of this hobby. When we first started planning this Holmes in the Heartland, I wanted to make sure that people had plenty of time to spend with one another and I think we really pulled that off. So to everyone who was at the Sheraton Westport in St. Louis this weekend, I hope you had a great time with great people. Because that's what these events are all about.
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But, dang, did we have some great things happening as well! Here are some quick highlights from the weekend:
The small groups that found places to hang out as people arrived in town
Saturday night's dinner. Hotel banquet food had no right to taste as good as that stuff did.
Hearing people marvel at how beautiful the St. Louis Public Library building is
Seeing vendors fill people's hands with treasures. (One vendor completely sold out of every item they brought!)
The joy on people's faces when they'd win a door prize
Watching Madeline Quinones dominate in Sherlockian trivia
Watching Steve Mason waddle around the dinner tables dressed as a goose
Seeing everyone appreciate and enjoy the history of St. Louis at the St. Louis Arch
The presentations! So many great moments, but I will just highlight one from each presenter:
Ray Betzner being eminently likeable while talking about a despicable man character
Watching Kristin Mertz deliver her first-ever speech and looking like she's done it a million times
Cindy Brown connecting Victorian crimes to their present day counterparts and making us see we readers aren't so much smarter than these folks
Steven Doyle giving the complete opposite talk than what I thought (and worried) he was going to give
Mike McSwiggin complaining that he's tired of giving Sherlockian talks during the summer when he should be vacationing
Beth Gallego making me want to add too many titles to my already too long TBR list
Monica Schmidt getting a nice surprise at the end of her presentation
Joe Eckrich, Rich Kriscuinas, and Michael Waxenberg somehow making a 150 year-old court trial a hilarious recap of the day's events
Thanks again to everyone who came to Holmes in the Heartland 2023. For those of you traveling back home today or tomorrow, I wish you an easy trip. And for those of you on the planning committee, get some rest. You deserve it!