“It’s Pondemonium time, baby!”
Greg Wittstock, aka The Pond Guy, greeted us with these awesome words. Every August, pond professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world travel to St. Charles, Illinois. Pondemonium is one of the largest water garden industry events on the planet. The Good Earth Water Gardens team took a break from construction and joined our fellow pond peeps for this annual pilgrimage.
Greg is the founder and CEO of Aquascape Inc. This is the 20th year Aquascape has put on Pondemonium. Fittingly, this year’s theme was “An Attitude of Gratitude.” Aquascape has been in business for over 26 years, so Greg gave his insights for how he is grateful today. He also shared that he didn’t always have this attitude.
While Good Earth Water Gardens hasn’t been in business as long as Aquascape, we feel very blessed and grateful to be part of such a wonderful industry! Pondemonium is an event that supports bettering water garden practices and products. But also it’s a gathering where anyone can learn how to be better in business and in life in general. Stories of practices and experiences shared with one another have formed some pretty close bonds and friendships – especially after 20 years.
Our owners Kevin and Dan Stanza have attended four and five Pondemoniums respectively. But this year, new guys Joe and Jordan got to experience this event for the first time. It’s always fun being with people who have never been to Aqualand, Aquascape’s world headquarters. To say the water feature showroom and giant swimming pond are amazing is an understatement. Aqualand is where the Foreman Training Academy took place along with a waterfall building contest.
Meanwhile, many folks participated in a fountainscape build. This unique display is now the focal point of a courtyard at the event center where we stayed. This series of fountains combined formal elements of Aquascape’s classic stacked slate urns and spillway bowls along with large boulders to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Approximately 30,000 gallons of water per hour gush into the air and cascade onto boulders. It creates natural-looking waterfalls with a 360-degree view. This inspiring piece has given us some ideas for potential displays in Kansas City!
The event included inspiring keynote speakers, open networking discussions, business development sessions, a pond tour (featuring a few six-figure-plus water features!), and a celebration party at the end. Of course, time flies when you’re having fun and this four-day event was over in a flash.
We always leave Pondemonium with new insights and a rejuvenated passion about what we do. Even though attending the event means taking a break right in the middle of our working season, the trip is worth the investment. It’s important that we set company goals and achieve business milestones. But it’s the intangible things that are usually the most important in life. It’s not all about arriving at a destination but enjoying the journey with an Attitude of Gratitude.