I don’t know if there’s anything better than getting dressed up to attend an evening gala with your closest tea friends. Rachel Carter had the brilliant idea of reserving a table for all of us. Everyone looked fabulous, particularly Geoffrey Norman who had borrowed a festive hat from Michael Petersen. I had a bit of nervous excitement because I was nominated for two awards, Best Tea Blog and Best Social Media Reach. Our hosts Kevin Gascoyne and Bruce Richardson wrangled the crowd well, peppering in plenty of laughs. I couldn’t help but smile at the camaraderie among all of the industry greats. It was especially significant for me to be aboard the Queen Mary. I wasn’t aware of it last year but my great-grandfather worked on the grand ocean liner. How cool is that?
Dinner was served speedily as everyone eagerly anticipated the announcements. Best Social Media Reach was the first to be called and I was in a bit of shock when I heard my name. As I made my way up to the stage the only thing I could think was, please don’t let me fall! My heels and those high gloss hardwood floors were not a match made in heaven. I just want to say a big thank you to every one of my readers and social media followers. Your enthusiasm for tea makes it very easy to do what I do. Who wouldn’t want to engage with such awesome people? Congratulations to all of my fellow nominees and winners! It was an honor to be on the same stage as all of you.
I didn’t win Best Blog but I was very glad that Tony Gebely did. World of Tea provides a wealth of information for tea lovers, something that we all strive for. Elyse Petersen won the well-deserved award for Best Industry Innovator. She’s a mover and a shaker, exactly what this industry needs! The Cha-Ching Lifetime Achievement Award was officially renamed in memory of John Harney. Many of us felt his absence this year and it made me a bit misty-eyed to hear so many wonderful memories shared. The award was presented to James Norwood Pratt this year. I could truly listen to that man talk about tea for hours and his acceptance speech was one for the ages.
Although there were several mentions of John Harney’s passing, I was disappointed that no mention was made of Steven Smith. He was an industry innovator in his own right and his legacy deserved recognition. The rest of the night was a whirlwind of warm hugs, congratulations, and fun photo booth moments.