Every year during the Designer Awards Gala, the producers of FLOAT do several raffle drawings, among them is a free registration to the following FLOAT Convention. As you can imagine, this is a highly sought after prize. But it seems that this particular giveaway has frequently found itself in some unusual coincidences over the years.
At our very first FLOAT in 2008, one of the producers at the time was Tina Sharp, Steven Jones' then significant other. Due to low attendance and high food requirements from the host hotel, nearly all of Tina's family living in Cincinnati was invited to attend the then Final Night dinner. And to be supportive, many of them bought raffle tickets that evening. Well, imagine everyone's surprise when the winning ticket was drawn and it happened to go to one of Tina's sisters-in-law....who had absolutely nothing to do with the balloon industry and a severe latex allergy to boot! Needless to say, she graciously declined the prize and another winner was chosen.
History kind of repeated itself in 2009, but this time the winner wasn't part of Tina's extended family...it was from her immediate family! Her then ten-year old son, Austin, held the winning ticket for the free registration to FLOAT 2010. He really didn't understand why he had to decline the prize, simply because (A) he wasn't a balloon person and (B) he was the son of a producer and hence a conflict of interest. After all, didn't he just win?
The curse of the Sharp family was finally broken in 2010 when the drawing went to Joy Stern, who won a free registration to the 2013 convention. But imagine everyone's shock and amazement when in 2013, who's name was pulled for the free ticket to 2015? Yep....you guessed it...Joy Stern again! As fate would have it, Joy won back-to-back free registrations to FLOAT. I'm sure with that kind of luck, FLOAT is Joy's favorite convention now!