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Spring Flowers First Day Ceremony Photos

(Click Linked Pictures for a Larger View)

The stamps are unveiled!

Standing beside the unveiled stamps are (L-R) Master of Ceremonies Kenton Morris, the Show Director for the Chicago Flower and Garden Show; Jo Ann Feindt, Vice President - Great Lakes Area, U.S. Postal Service; June Wood, President of the National Garden Club, Inc.: and Anne-Marie St. Germaine, Vice President, External Affairs for the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Note the stamp pins on the hat worn to the ceremony by Rich Sandowski (a member of the VSC, Chicagoland FDC Society and the American Ceremony Program Society).  It got him noticed as the ceremony ended when a reporter from HDN (who was apparently filming the ceremony for a High Definition cultural network) came to the logical conclusion that Sandowski was at least one person in the audience who was there for the philatelic connection and not just because he likes flowers, and started interviewing him.

Even the Flower and Garden Show staff got into getting their Ceremony Programs autographed.  Here we see a staffer from the show's press room having her Ceremony Program autographed by National Garden Club President Jane Wood.

One problem collectors did face that day at the show was the relatively small booth area the Postal Service had inside the show hall.  While the USPS had the booth available with supplies and other stamps since the show began on Saturday, March 12, it became clear that there was a space problem for the day of the First Day Ceremony, particularly for having space to affix cancels, as Rich Sandowski and Kay Young were finding out in a hurry.  Fortunately, the Postal Service had a second station for stamps, related items and cancellations outside the hall on the day of the First Day Ceremony...

In the relative calm of the outer sales station, armed with his steady hands and a quick-drying ink pad, was American Ceremony Program Society President (and VSCer) Jay Bigalke.  After taking care of his famed FPMG cachets, Jay was more than willing to handle the cancellation needs for the Chicagoland FDC Society; the various souvenir items and Navy Pier post card that I had affixed the new stamps to (in order to create an instant single-frame exhibit of the Spring Flowers Stamps... which will be shown at the COMPEX 2005 Stamp Show in Arlington Heights, Illinois this coming May 27-29); and even some copies of the March edition of the CPS Bulletin that I was mailing out to various philatelic leaders... including one to a guy in Paramus, New Jersey.  Thanks Jay!

Rest assured, the show had plenty of the real versions of the flowers there, such as these tulips.

Unfortunately, I can't do justice to the hundreds of displays of flowers and plants (and yes, I believe this photo shows part of one of those 70 palm trees that were brought into the show).
A round of thanks and a "Well done" go out to the show's organizers
and to the U.S. Postal Service for a noteworthy ceremony.

Randall Sherman

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