Setting Up the 2014 Experience

by Howard Freedman

You might say from the frying pan into the fire. It was 38 degrees when I left Portland at 6:15 am on February 26 to head for Hickory Corners to help our Executive Director Katie Robbins with some of the detail for our annual Experience May 30 - June 1, 2014.

It was a cool 14 degrees when I deplaned in Grand Rapids for a 40 mile drive to our Museum. Loads of snow along the sides of the roads but driving was easy compared to hilly Portland.

Thursday morning I met with the food service department at our host hotel, the lovely Radisson in downtown Kalamazoo. We laid out our extensive meal service requirements including two dinners, two judges breakfasts, a luncheon on the Museum grounds, an awards banquet, the silent and live auctions, and entertainment at the hotel for Saturday evening. We also worked on extending our host hotel accommodations for the next four years.

I spent most of the rest of the morning at the Museum site on the Gilmore Car Museum Campus at Hickory Corners, Michigan. Gilmore Executive Director Michael Spezia and I discussed our plans for the Experience, which included the many ways they help with setup and general services.

We also reviewed our progress and ambitious plans for adding new features to our building and displays. These include insulation to mitigate temperature swings in our building, reworking our landscaping, changing our "people" entry to make it much more inviting, working on our signage, perhaps moving our mascot display to better display cabinetry, and adding some more interesting features to our displays. We have a lot going on.

Friday morning I met with another catering company to review our "on grounds" food requirements to make sure we have the best in quality and interest to the palates of our guests for the Experience weekend.

I had some time, so drove over to Marshall, Michigan to check out the Magic Museum, the Honolulu House Museum, and the Win Shuler restaurant where we will have lunch on our country tour on Friday, May 30.

Of course, with the cold weather (minus 4 when I got in the car at the hotel garage and a warming trend up to 9 as I write this) I am sure the scenery will be much nicer in late May. It looks like Marshall will be a great little town for a visit.

I don't know how Katie did all of these things herself for so many years and appreciate the opportunity to help her orchestrate our major event.

By the way, the new Lincoln Heritage Foundation Museum is now enclosed.

And the Cadillac and LaSalle building is framed. They should be well along for all of us to enjoy when we honor Cadillac and LaSalle up through 1962 at this year’s Experience.