Springtime in Chicago means many things for those us who love Chi-town. For those of us who live here, and for anyone in a northern clime who has endured yet another brutal winter, the traditional themes of renewal are impossible to escape. The flowers blooming along Michigan Avenue aren't simply flowers; they are colorful, petaled testimonials to our perseverance and survival skills.

We greet the rapidly approaching 2011 NRA Show, which takes place May 21–24, with no small sense of relief, knowing that the National Restaurant Association has wisely made the decision to keep its annual event in Chicago through 2016. Everyone has heard the litany of complaints that led to the very real threat of moving the NRA Show from Chicago. Hopefully, the sweeping reforms undertaken at McCormick Place will be enough to quell any future discussions along these lines. Chicago has been home to the NRA Show since 1950, and the city and show have worked together to earn their place as a touch point for the entire restaurant industry.

Here at FE&S, given our own 64-year history, we are unabashedly proud of our association with the NRA Show in Chicago. That's why we decided to pair our Dealer of the Year Awards event with the NRA Show weekend several years ago. We think it provides the perfect center stage to honor the achievements of deserving E&S industry leaders who we recognize at the DOY event.

There is still time to make plans to join us for a special evening on Saturday, May 21 at the Four Seasons Hotel. All readers of FE&S are eligible to attend, although tickets are expected to be in tight supply. Please visit us at www.fesmag.com for details or contact me directly for your ticket inquiries.