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Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum Makes Seventh Quest to Martin Factory

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Nazareth, PA -Nearly two hundred Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum (UMGF) members made their pilgrimage to the birthplace of their beloved Martin guitars to tour the factory, have lunch with Chris and the employees, play some new guitars and basically enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded individuals.

This year, an exciting new twist was added to their Saturday schedule. UMGF members were invited to participate in the C. F. Martin 175th Anniversary celebration held on Main Street in Nazareth. The event was orchestrated by the Borough of Nazareth, Nazareth Chamber of Commerce, The Nazareth Downtown Association and Martin's Manager of Guest Relations, Sherri Hoff.

An estimated five thousand visitors were treated to enthusiastic musical performances. The Martin Band even played. Local merchants supported the event with food and services and the event was deemed an overwhelming success. Discussion is already underway to turn this community day into an annual occurrence.

Sunday began at Borough Park with a memorial service for fallen UMGF members, the planting of a third commemorative tree and the annual softball game between forum members (Aging Toners) and Martin employees (Dreadnoughts). Luckily, this game ended with no serious injuries and a 9-9 tie. Fortunately, there was plenty of energy left for music making throughout the remainder of the day. Mandolin, banjo and fiddle players flavored the musical stew. A forum tradition was preserved as prized Martins (both old and new) were passed around for others to play. At 6 P.M. they assembled for a group picture.

Monday, members arrived at the Martin Factory prepared to absorb everything Martin. Blessed with great weather, the atmosphere was uplifting and festive. The new guitar models from the Nashville 2008 show, as well as exotic customs and one-offs, were made available to play. Inlay artist Tracy Cox demonstrated his craft and artist Robert Goetzl signed post card recreations of the DX 175th Limited Edition guitar top. Members were given the factory tour and treated to a fine catered lunch under the gigantic tent. The Martin employees also ate lunch at this time and were invited to mingle with our guests. After lunch, Chris Martin addressed the group and later autographed guitars, including many LX 175th Little Martin® models that were only available for purchase at the Martin factory.

The day's factory events came to a close, but members headed back to Nazareth Park to regroup. Former Martin employee Dave Musselwhite was the guest speaker at the afternoon session. Dave is an expert repairman and is a well-known collector/trader of vintage Martin guitars.

Forum members were glad to see that many new faces made the trip this year and were thankful for the opportunity to meet each other in person. Many new memories were created and we are looking forward to next year.

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