Utah and Colonial Flag Welcome NAVA 47

NAVA 47 LogoNAVA 47, the recently completed 47th Annual Meeting of the North American Vexillological Association, NAVA, took place in Salt Lake City.  NAVA, the premier organization of flag scholars and flag enthusiasts in the U.S. and Canada, which has met in cities ranging from Boston to Los Angeles and from Vancouver  to San Antonio, was welcomed for the first time to the Beehive State from October 11th through the 13th of 2013.

In honor of NAVA 47 coming to Utah, Governor Gary Herbert declared the week of October 7-13, 2013 as Vexillological Week in Utah encouraging Utahns to “respect and share an affinity for the heritage and tradition of flags.”

Bill Wing trims NAVA 47 flag

Bill Wing, who oversees Colonial Flag Company’s Custon Flag Department, trims one of the NAVA 47 flags made for the meetings.

Colonial Flag Company, a major sponsor of the NAVA 47, provided the specially designed NAVA 47 flag for displays at the meetings, and to make sure the meeting’s attendees were certain of their welcome Colonial displayed a gigantic 30 by 60 foot U.S. flag on the west side of the Salt Lakes Plaza Hotel where the meetings took place.  In addition to welcoming NAVA 47 participants, the huge flag announced to the City that NAVA had come to town.

Big Flag on Plaza

30 by 60 foot U.S. flag welcomes NAVA 47 to Salt Lake City.
Matt Glade, Deseret News photo

To make sure local residents could recognize that the Association was meeting at the hotel, Colonial also temporarily erected a 20 foot flag pole in front of the Plaza where the NAVA 47 flag flew over the hotel’s entrance during the weekend.

NAVA 47 in SL Room

NAVA 47 attendees hear one of the dozen presentations delivered at the two day meeting.

In addition to regular meetings in the Plaza Hotel’s Salt Lake City Room where a dozen presentations were given, attendees took part in other activities to enrich their NAVA 47 experiences.

  • On Thursday evening early arrivers attended the weekly rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
  • On Friday attendees toured the State Capitol, the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum, the Fort Douglas Military Museum, and Ensign Peak.
  • Invited NAVA flag conservation experts and specialists took part Friday morning in the examination of a historic flag purported to have been carried by the Mormon Battalion during the Mexican American War to California.
  • On Friday afternoon NAVA members and local residents attended the George Henry Preble Lecture where Dr. Richard E. Bennett, President of the Mormon History Association, addressed them in an outreach event bringing vexillologists and local historians together.  The LDS Church History Museum displayed four historic flags from their collection to illustrate Dr. Bennett’s lecture on flags used by the Mormon Pioneers.
  • On Friday evening attendees gathered in a 13th floor condominium apartment overlooking downtown Salt Lake and Temple Square.  Enjoying a Lion House Bakery cake Buffet, members renewed friendships and met first time attendees.
  • On Saturday two flags from Eisenhower’s Oval Office, including a rare hand-embroidered 49 star Presidential Flag, were displayed for NAVA 47 attendees and Utahns by Chuck & Donna Douglas in the Plaza Hotel’s Guest Library.
  • On Saturday afternoon, NAVA sponsored a Flag Exhibit in the Commons rooms of the City Creek Center where flags from four collections were on display, including the historic Life Guard Bear Flag which had been examined the day before.
  • On Saturday evening the group dined in the Banquet Room of the Lion House on a menu of Chicken Alabam, Sting of the Bee Cake and plenty of renowned Lion House Rolls.  The banquet, named the Whitney Smith Dinner in honor of the founder of NAVA and vexillology provided the setting for a report on the move of Whitney Smith’s vast collection of vexillological resources to the Dolf Brisco Center at the University of Texas in Austin.  This move insures that the books, articles and files collected by Dr. Smith over a lifetime will remain intact and available to future vexillological research.

After the Association’s annual Business Meeting on Sunday morning, attendees enjoyed the remaining papers and presentations and the meetings closed with an auction of flags to raise funds for NAVA’s activities.

Group Picture Cropped

NAVA 47 attendees gather for a group photo before entering the Lion House for the Whitney Smith Dinner.

NAVA 47 attracted more attendees than any recent regular NAVA Annual Meeting including fifteen first time attendees, also a record.  Many attendees arrived early or departed a day or two after the meeting’s close to enjoy Salt Lake City’s hospitality.  In short, Salt Lake welcomed NAVA 47 and attendees were excited to visit Utah’s capital city.  When NAVA meets for its 48th Annual Meeting next year, the bar is set higher thanks to NAVA 47’s success.

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