The Chicago Pipe Show is an event that occurs every year in the late spring or early summer. The Chicago Pipe Show has its roots as a small meeting of the Chicagoland Pipe Collectors Club in 1993. It didn’t stay small for long. What began as a small group of pipe smoking enthusiasts getting together at local restaurants and lounges to hang out with like-minded people and trade ideas and information about pipe collecting, eventually evolved into large public gatherings where enthusiasts could display their collections, share their thoughts and offer pipes, accessories and tobacco to buy, sell and trade.
In 1996, the first true Chicago Pipe Show was held and since that time, it has grown into one of the largest and most well known hobby shows of its kind. Now, what is officially known as the Chicagoland International Pipe and & Tobacciana Show occupies entire convention halls with an average of more than 80 tables worth of vendors, pipe makers and enthusiasts and last three to four days. At these tables, vendors and enthusiasts are able to display their pipes and pipe accessories, as well as a wide variety of other tobacco products and accessories.
On top of the convention halls, the Chicago Pipe Show also features vast smoke-friendly outdoor tents that stretch thousands of square feet in size that, as of the 2012 show in early May, have been coined as “The Smoke and Swap” pre-show events. In these tent events, enthusiasts can buy, sell and trade pipes, accessories and tobacco, sample various tobaccos, eat, drink and hang out with like-minded people. Smoking in the tents is not only allowed, it is actually encouraged. These smoke-friendly tent events were created due to Illinois laws restricting smoking in public places. The best part is that the pre-show tent events are free of charge.
With the ever increasing popularity of the Chicago Pipe show, various guest speakers from the pipe tobacco industry attend and give presentations to the attendees, host seminars and hold question and answer sessions. This gives the average enthusiast the chance to ask the tough questions of those who have the power to make significant changes and advances to the industry. There are also slow smoking competitions, tobacco blending contests and raffles. Along with all of the pipe and tobacco events, there are often silent auctions, dinners and banquets where attendees can mingle with the some of the best pipe makers and industry professionals in the trade.