Chicago Pen Show - The Newbie File, #1

By Jennifer Houghton

The Chicago Pen Show is coming! And if you’ve never attended a pen show, we’re going to get you ready!

Running September 30th through October 3rd, fountain pen lovers of all varieties can gather together to experience classes, products, and services.

According to the Chicago Pen Show website,, this event will bring together over 100 vendors. Atlas Stationers will be there and serves as one of the sponsors. Be sure to come visit us at one of our five tables.

So how do you get ready to attend? Research. With an event of this size, the trick is to see what you’re most interested in and how much time you have to spend. You can scour the pen show’s website for details on the schedule of activities. Or you can check out community threads and online sources for more local chatter. And, stay tuned to hear from us directly on one of our many Instagram Live events leading up to the show.

The Chicago Pen Show offers a weekend pass, a great value if you plan to bring a friend and want to get into some of the events with vendors. For example, Thursday’s session is open only to vendors and weekend pass holders. It includes a pizza party and a whiskey tasting event. Browse the schedule, determine which things you don’t want to miss, and allot your time accordingly.

In addition to having items to purchase, nibmeisters will be on hand. This allows you to have custom work done on your pens while onsite. No mailing things off and emailing back and forth. It can be a great way to get work done quickly and exactly the way you want. But time will be limited which means you might need to either check with the nibmeister in advance to see if they are booking appointments or get to them early at the event.

There will also be classes and inks and stationery and samples and lots of people who love pens as much as we do. You might find that vintage or limited edition pen you’ve been looking for. So consider whether a pass that allows you early access might help you snag something in particular.

Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll pick up something not yet available to the general public, like I did at the Sidewalk Sale. Heaven! Our next post will give you some pointers about onsite etiquette, getting around, and who to bring with you. Oh, yeah, and we will tell you how to stay in the know for our specials.

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