Bernie Pacyniak

As we - at least those of us who live in northern climes - watch the last vestiges of winter give way to tulip tips breaking through the ground, it becomes just that much easier to start thinking about spring.

This, in turn, prompts everyone to check their appointment books (some of us still carry those), cell phones, laptops and computers for the rush of meetings, shows and conferences that are traditionally held during this time.

In doing so, I wanted to take the occasion to alert those of you who regularly attend theSweets & Snacks Expo(formerly known as the All Candy Expo) that this year’s confectionery “Oscars” - the Kettle Awards - will have a new venue, the prestigious Union League Club of Chicago (ULCC).

Located on 65 W. Jackson in downtown Chicago, ULCC was voted the No. 1 private city club in America by the Club Leaders Forum last year. It has been a Chicago treasure for the past 130 years and provides a most appropriate setting for the 2010 Kettle Awards Reception and Dinner.

Established in 1879 to uphold the sacred obligations of citizenship, promote honesty and efficiency in government, and support cultural institutions and the beautification of the city, ULCC has been a key player in the growth and development of Chicago.

As early as 1893, Chicago gained recognition as a world-class city when it hosted the World’s Columbian Exposition. Club members were instrumental in having Chicago named the site of the exposition by the United States Congress.

Since that time, club members have played a role in establishing many of the city’s cultural organizations, including Orchestra Hall and The Field Museum. In the 1990s, the club celebrated its part in the opening of the Harold Washington Library Center.

Typically most visitors to the Windy City won’t have an opportunity to visit this piece of Chicago’s history, given that the ULCC is open to members only. Consequently, we welcome the opportunity to partner with the ULCC in hosting the Kettle Awards Reception and Dinner, which will allow hundreds who work in the confectionery industry to experience this truly wonderful place.

The reception will be held in the Main Dining Room, a spectacular space, as you can tell by the photo shown. And as in the past, we have an exemplary slate of nominees with the likes of Eric Atkinson, John Brooks Sr., Michael Rosenberg and Ed Seguine.

So please, set aside the evening of May 26 for a wonderful time at the Union League Club of Chicago, one where we can honor the accomplishments of our nominees and anxiously await the Committee Chairman’s call for the envelope containing the name of this year’s recipient. See you there!