Thursday June 6, 2024

 

We always look forward to our annual weekend in Dayton Ohio.  The Dayton Disneyana club hosts a wonderful gathering for Disney fans and since we began attending in 2013 we've made lots of good friends!

 

We don't look forward to the 654 mile (1,050 km) drive so we set a leisurely pace and take two days to get there.

 

We left home just after 8:00 a.m., stopped for a bite of lunch in Buffalo NY and pulled off I-90 in Erie PA at about 3:30 p.m.  That gave Carol a bit of time to shop before we checked in at Springhill Suites for the night.

 

After a nice dinner at Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen we watched a bit of TV and enjoyed a relaxing night.


Friday June 7, 2024

 

On Friday we left Erie at about 8:00 a.m. and drove right on past Dayton to Monroe OH.  Carol wanted to visit the Disney Outlet Store which is in that Cincinnati suburb.  She enjoyed browsing the aisles but there were only a few items that caught her eye.

 

After a quick lunch in Monroe we returned to Dayton and checked in at the Hope Hotel where the Disneyana event is held.

 

The Event Coordinator, Anita, and her crew of volunteers have been busy all week setting up the hotel for our arrival.

 

Dayton Disneyana operates a charitable foundation and provides funding for Pirate Packs, a local school program.  The school district provides lunch each day for the children and Pirate Packs steps in to cover the weekends for needy kids.  They provide a backpack filled with food every Friday and Dayton Disneyana is their largest source of funding.

 

Last June the Dayton Disneyana weekend raised $13,000 to support Pirate Packs.  Their goal this year is $13,001 and we're going to help them get there!

It takes lots of planning!

There's about 7,700 square feet of space for the 100 vendors in the ballroom.

The vendors were busy unloading and setting up when we arrived.

Gary and Gary from Ozark MO

Recycling The Magic from Lakeland FL

The luggage carts got a good workout!

So did the crew of volunteers!

This is a stocking palm.  It's the only one of it's kind!

All of it's fruit is sent to Igloolik so needy children can enjoy Christmas!

What's an Igloolik?  It's a small Inuit village in a very remote part of northern Canada.  It's above the Arctic Circle in the vast Canadian Territory known as Nunavut.  You'll read a bit more about Igloolik later on in this story about our Dayton trip.

There was a 'Ticket to Ride' raffle in the front foyer.

You purchase tickets and put them into the bag beside the item you want to win.

Paddles were on sale for the 'Paddle Auction' 

The weekend always starts with a unique 'Paddle Auction' on Friday night.  Before the auction begins you buy one or more paddles.  The more paddles you buy the better your odds of winning get.  Each paddle is numbered and when you buy one a poker chip with the same number on it goes into a basket for the draws.  Then they pull prizes (donated by club members and friends) and draw a number out of the basket.  If the number is yours, you get the prize.  Your number goes back in the basket and can be drawn again.  There are some really good prizes and it's great fun!

 

As you can see, folks buy lots of paddles.  One family bought 20 of them!  It's not terribly expensive.  One paddle is $15, two paddles cost $25, three paddles are $30 and every one above three is $10.  The family who bought 20 paid $200.  That's probably cheaper than a movie and popcorn would cost them!  Every cent from the paddle auction goes to Pirate Packs and paddle sales were over $2,000.  It costs Pirate Packs about $3.50 to fill a weekend backpack, so that simple little auction will pay for food for about 570 kids!

 

Well done folks!

 

After the auction I went to the room and relaxed while Carol headed out to the pin trading room to see if she could find any pins she needs.  She was back in less than an hour and was happy with the trades she made.

 

Linda looks pretty happy with her prize!

During the paddle auction they drew tickets for the 'Ticket To Ride' raffle and the winners were announced during a break in the auction action.  Carol won a very nice hand made cosmetics bag made with dark green fabric with a Mickey Mouse print.  It was made by a friend of Sue Kaiser from Dayton OH.


Saturday June 8, 2024

 

 

 

Carol bought us both one of the 100 'Earlybird' tickets.  They allowed us to enter The Marketplace (the ballroom where the vendors are set up) at 8:30 a.m. and shop for 90 minutes, before the doors open for everyone at 10:00 a.m.  This is an exciting time for Carol.  She gets about 90% of her shopping done in that first 90 minutes.

 

As the day progresses the vendors pull more product out of boxes under their tables to keep the tables and shelves full so Carol walks the aisles of The Marketplace again every few hours to see what's new.

Earlybirds waiting to register.

We waited in the hall outside the ballroom until Anita opened The Marketplace at 8:30.

Carol dashed directly to Gary's Collectibles.  She had her eye on something special!

The vendors were ready.  This is Bob from Mentor OH

He and his wife Latosha have the same space in The Marketplace every year.

Tom and Diana (TD Collectibles) from Winter Garden FL

Eric & Trisha from Cleveland OH with vendors Cherrie & Tony from Dayton OH

Ginger had an 'Earlybird' special!

Gary & Gary (Gary's Collectibles) from Ozark MO

The vendors come from far and wide and there is a dazzling variety of Disney stuff!

Recycling The Magic brought 50 tables from the All Star Resort.

They were a bargain at $75.00 and they sold like hotcakes!

Decisions . . . decisions . . . what do I want in the earlybird draw?

Each of the vendors donated a prize for the earlybird draw.  The items were on display

in the workers room and earlybirds like Paul, pictured above had until 4:00 p.m.to drop

their tickets into the appropriate plastic cup. You can spread your tickets all around or

put them all in one cup.

Ginger sure wishes she had some earlybird tickets!

   

Across the hall from The Marketplace is 'The Grotto'.  This large meeting room is set up theatre style and is the site for speaker's presentations.  The Grotto is also where you'll find of the Friday and Saturday night auctions.

Anita, the event coordinator, welcomed us to Dayton at 10:30 a.m. and then introduced the first speaker, Jim Hill who is always entertaining.  He knows a lot of background and insider information about the Disney universe.  Today he told us about some of the challenges that the producers and directors had when working on The Lion King animated feature. 

After lunch we listened to Scoop Sanderson.  Actor Holland Hayes portrayed Scoop, a character on Main Street USA at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom for many years.  Most of the day he acted as a reporter for the local newspaper, but every day at 1:00 p.m. he met guests at the same designated spot on Main Street to talk about pins and do some pin trading.

Carol brought along a jumbo pin showing Mickey Mouse dressed as Scoop that she hoped to have Scoop sign.  He was on stage describing that very pin when Carol held it up and said, 'It looks like this.'

 

Scoop invited her up to show everyone the pin, then he gave her another pin showing him on Main Street.

 

 

 

Next came one of our favourite speakers, Disney Artist Alex Maher.  Alex was asked to lead the pin design team in about 1998 and was involved in all aspects of pin design, manufacture and distribution until a few years ago when he was promoted to a new area.

 

Alex gave us an insider's look at the entire pin process including some pictures from his visits to pin factories in China.

A pin Alex designed.  It's a 'slider' featuring Walt's barn and train.

They invited 'the oldtimers' to design some pins for the 2024 Pin Event at EPCOT

These are the four pins that Alex designed.

The costume parade is always fun!

Ariel, you look marvellous!

And the winners are . . .

Many attendees also bring along food donations to help Pirate Packs fill up those weekly backpacks.  Obviously one of our Canadian friends must have brought this stuff.  Kraft peanut butter is not available in the USA.

The general theme for the weekend was Pin Trading and there were lots of traders.

There were games for the traders to play.

Some of the die-hards traded all night long!

How much does that jacket weigh?

There's more fruit on the stocking palm every time we see it!

Flounder and Anita kicked off the Lively Auction at 7:00 p.m.

This was a traditional auction.  Anita was the auctioneer asking for bids.

You signified your bid by raising your paddle.

This is a one-of-a-kind cut glass work of art made especially for the auction.

A large sketch by Alex Maher

When the bidding got down to the last two people there was often a 'stare-down'.  Sometimes they lasted for several minutes while the bids rose and rose.  I'm not sure that the two folks pictured here were bidding for that Tinker Bell cut glass piece shown above, but the gentleman on the right, from Annapolis MD, took Tink home.  If I remember correctly his winning bid was $700. 

Club President Lucy was the top bidder for this Alex Maher print and Alex signed it for her.

Jim Kupec made this table and chair set for the auction.

Another Alex Maher sketch.  The proceeds from Alex's work

will go to The Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline MO.

The kids all wanted the light sabres!

I made the six-and-a-half foot tall Mickey lamp which Carol and I donated!

Club President Lucy liked it.  So did the couple who bid $450 and took it home!

That will feed 125 kids for the weekend.

I also made a rope light that looks like a Mickey balloon.

It sold for $160.  That's 45 more backpacks for Pirate Packs!


Sunday June 9, 2024

 

Sunday morning the ballroom full of vendors didn't open until 10:00 a.m. and we took advantage of the opportunity to sleep in.  After a nice breakfast at Packy's, the restaurant in the hotel, Carol did a quick lap through The Marketplace and then we were ready for the first session in the grotto.

 

Anita started by announcing that the proceeds from Friday night's Paddle Auction and Ticket To Ride Raffle plus the Saturday night Lively Auction added up to over $20,000.  They have blown well past their goal of $13,001.  What an amazing achievement . . . how could it possibly get better?

 

Last year at the Dayton event our Earlybird goody bags each contained one Christmas stocking. Carol told a friend, Susan, that the two stocking she and I got would go to our friend Kim who fills stockings with toys, treats and clothing and sends them to a small Inuit village in Canada's far north.  Then Susan gave us her stocking, and so did others who were standing nearby and heard Carol's story.  We took home a total of 17 stockings for Kim.

 

These are the stockings we took home last year.

A few months after the 2023 Dayton Disneyana event our friend Anita, the event coordinator, heard that something special had happened with some of those Earlybird stocking so she got in touch with Carol to get some details.

 

We told her about our friend Kim and Kim's friend Krista.  Kim and Krista have prepared stockings for several years and send them to Igloolik.  It's a very small Inuit village in the remote Canadian Territory known as Nunavut.  The population of Igloolik is about 2,700 and there are about 750 children.  In 2023 the two ladies sent 350 stocking to help needy and underprivileged children have a Merry Christmas.

 

Check out the Facebook page Kim and Krista maintain.  Search Facebook for 'Love and Stockings for Igloolik'

 

When Anita heard about what Kim and Krista do every year she said, 'I think that's the sort of project our members can support.'

 

She arranged for a substantial donation from the Dayton Disneyana Foundation and also challenged the groups members to help out.  By the time the 350 stockings were shipped at the end of October the financial support from Dayton Disneyana and their members was enough to pay for about 60 of those stockings.  WOW!  Thanks!

 

Then Anita said, 'Let's have a contest.  After Christmas everyone should go out and buy some stockings while they are on sale.  We'll have some prizes for the stocking contest in June and Carol and Gary can take them all home for Kim and Krista.'

That red dot shows how far north Igloolik is.  Santa Clause lives just around the corner.

 

We knew that we'd have some stocking to take home . . . but we weren't prepared for the boxes and bags, filled to the brim, that awaited us in The Grotto.  They were stacked on tables that stretched all across the back of the meeting room.  Over 1,200 stockings as well as hats, mittens, plushies and toys to go into the stockings.

 

Carol and I were stunned!  We just stood and gaped for a few minutes with an OMG expression on our faces.

OMG!  WOWSA!  IT'S UNBELIEVABLE!

Kim and Krista joined us in a video live-stream chat

and they were as astounded as we were.

These are most of our fellow Canadians who joined us to give

a big Thank You to our friends at Dayton Disneyana.

Michelle Kupec (second from the right) took a day off work after Christmas and

scoured the stores looking for stockings on sale at clearance prices.

She had 5 boxes filled with 547 stocking waiting for us!  Yes 547!

These are a few of the stocking donors.  See all the boxes and bags at the back?

Lucy, Anita and Rebekah

Kim and Krista joined us for a live chat.

Kim and Krista told people a bit about Igloolik.  It's the land of the midnight sun.  In December the sun never rises; it's dark all day long.  In June the sun never sets, there's 24 hours of daylight.

 

In February the average low temperature is -20F and the average high is -14F.  In July it warms right up with an average high of 45F and an average low of 39F.  The ground never thaws so it's always too cold for seeds to germinate.  There are no trees, there are no gardens, there are no farms.  People trap, hunt and fish to survive.

 

There are no roads, everything has to come in by air or sea.  Everything is expensive.  A Halloween pumpkin is about $95 and a bottle of orange juice is about $28.  When Kim and Krista send a box of stockings they fill up every bit of extra space with food products.

 

When the ladies finished telling us about the conditions in the far north there wasn't a dry eye in the room.  JoAnne was sitting in the front row just in front of Carol and I.  She picked up a box of Kleenex tissues and handed them out to Anita, Lucy and Rebekah before she headed down the aisle passing them out to everyone.

Both Anita and Lucy are sniffling with joy!

The Mickey balloon rope light pictured on the left was awarded to the donor who had the most stockings.

That was Michelle Kupec (547 stockings) who is pictured above hugging her husband Jimmie!

Wow!  Thanks Michelle!

Janell took second place.  We haven't heard how many stockings, but it was a bunch!

Sue was third with 39 stockings and a giant red tote bin filled with stocking stuffers!

Megan is a talented young artist who took home four prizes for her wonderful creations!

We couldn't fit all of the stocking in our car.  We had about half in and

had to call on our friend Paul from Hamilton to take the rest home in his van.

We'll pick it up at Paul's place when we're there in July.  Thanks Paul!

 

Then it was time to say goodbye to all of our Dayton friends!

We had a 10 hour drive and wanted to be on the road by noon!

More goodbyes!

This is the free stuff and prizes Carol picked up over the weekend.

This is what she bought!


Monday June 10, 2024

 

Kim couldn't wait to see what we brought home from Dayton.  She dropped by about 10:00 Monday morning.  She and Carol had a blast looking through all of the goodies!

Some stockings were hand made!

Sue, your bin full of stocking stuffers is awesome!

How can we say thank you to our friends at Dayton Disneyana?  Simply saying the words seems so inadequate!

 

Kim and Krista now have enough stockings to keep them going for two years, plus a lot of stuffers, hats and mittens to go in the socks.

 

We are still dumbfounded by the generosity of our Dayton friends! 

 

                   WOW!