LONG BEACH INTERNATIONAL COLLECTIBLE EXPOSITION 1999 EVENT
Long Beach Convention and Visitor's Center, Long Beach, California
April 24-25, 1999(22-23 for dealers)
This event is huge and varies from east coast to west coast each year. Last year it was held in Edison, New Jersey. Krause Publications has a web page of information and schedules on the event.
The April issue of the Squashville Gazette (the Leaf and Acorn Club newsletter) included an invitation card to the Long Beach International Collectible Exposition.
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Joanne Edmondson sent me this report.
As a rookie who had never been to a convention and never met Dean before, I excitedly walked up to the line one hour before the convention began. I was thrilled to end up right behind fellow club member and a real pro at conventions--Beth. She and two girlfriends had come all the way from Chicago. Beth took me under her wing and showed me the ropes. While in line, they handed out convention programs, door prize forms, artist signature books, and flyers and sold a convention book for $2.00. There was live music playing and jugglers entertaining the long line, so the wait went fast. We also met Jan Walker and Kit Gunn from Michigan while we were in line.
Once the door opened at 9 a.m., Beth charged ahead with us in tow--straight to Dean. He was not scheduled to sign until 10 a.m. but was there waiting for us at 9 a.m. Beth was the first person to reach Dean. She opened her tupperware box with bubble-wrapped figures, used the box lid as a serving tray, and presented Dean with around 12 pieces (the staff said three pieces per person--Beth and two friends legally had nine pieces). He signed everything she gave him plus the artist books and pin he gave us. He then posed for pictures.
My turn was next. He signed my three pieces, signed the pin that he was giving everyone, and signed my artist book "To Joanne--May all your Seasons be as Charming as you! Dean Griff '99." Im sure it is a standard thing he signs, BUT he did it in MY BOOK. I was in 7th Heaven. Dean is everything our club has ever said about him. He is absolutely adorable. I got back in line, and Dean signed my Squashville Social Club Pin, my 1998 and 1999 Leaf and Acorn pins, my club bag, and one piece. I got back in line, and he signed three more pieces for me.
While hanging out around the Charming Tails booth, we also met Cheryl from Phoenix, Arizona; Gramma Beve and her daughter-in-law Dayna from Tuscon, Arizona; Barbra and her husband Eddie from Oregon; Lauri and her husband Pat and son from Tempe, Arizona; Suzie Markovic from San Bernadino, California; Mary and her husband Denny from Lavern, California; Cindy Zugay from Virginia; and Maria from New Port Beach, California. Was Joss there from Canada?
The millenium piece A World of Good Wishes is FANTASTIC. Binkey is on the left and Mackenzie is on the right. They are both holding candles. Between them a blue glass ball represents the globe, and the continents are painted white. A dove is on top of the world holding in its beak a white ribbon with the word "Peace" in gold letters. The base is a snow base with stars sprinkled on it. This will be a limited edition of 7,500 [still not 100% decided], hand numbered at the factory [ditto] and the year 2000 will be on the bottom. It is due out in July or August. I have heard that the stores only get one shot at ordering it, and some stores are already taking preorders. Call Charming Dave or
From the seminars we learned:
The Sunday door prize was a signed prototype of Party Animals. Another four linen napkins with Party Animals embroidered on them were given out, and two of our club members won them--Lauri and Cindy.
Dean wore shirts with the Party Animals embroidered on them--blue on Saturday and yellow on Sunday.
Dean loved my OAK LEAF PIN HOLDER. I took the club bag and put it on my copier, enlarging it by 140 percent. I used that as a pattern to cut out an orange felt oak leaf. I took gold puffy paint and outlined the leaf and painted gold veins in the middle of the leaf. I made a stem at the base of the leaf big enough to paint my name in white paint. I put all my pins on the oak leaf, including the one Dean gave me at the show. The special gift due out in May will also be a pin, and I will add that for the August 15 signing in San Diego. If you want an orange felt OAK LEAF PIN HOLDER made with your name on it for FREE for Rosemont, just send me your name and address. I have made 15 so far for other club members going.
We wished we had club business cards with our names and e-mail addresses on them to share with each other. An idea for Rosemont???
Three of us stayed at the same Comfort Inn, and all three of us paid different prices for basically the same size room, so do not be afraid to bargain for your room rate.
Sunday there was no line to speak of anywhere. Dean signed six of my pieces (three at a time). I then bought 10 more at the Swap and Sell. I stood in line for three more to be signed. Dean told me since the line was not very long he would sign all seven of the rest for me my next time through the line. What a sweetheart he is.
Don't ask Gramma Beve about us following the wrong little white car and getting lost driving back to the hotel after dinner Saturday night.
I had a ball spending way too much money and was totally charmed by Dean.
How many days until Long Beach in two years, Beve????
Photos from Joanne Edmondson!
|Dean and his very cool shirt!|
Mackenzie and Maxine
Joanne Edmondson sent me the following pictures! Thanks, Joanne!
Lauri sent me this information:
Everything you're about to read here was seen through the eyes of a first-time time show/event attendee, so please bear with me as I try to gather all my thoughts. The show was a tremendous experience, absolutely overwhelming, but in a wonderful, delightful way! First of all, Dean is everything you all said he was--charming, gracious, patient, and so very generous. At the signing itself we were each allowed to bring three pieces through at a time, and then go back to the end of the line for another three. No matter how often he looked up to see you there, he was friendly and seemed genuinely happy to sign your pieces and glad that you appreciate them. He even signed pins and tote bags, as well as brochures. He is such a generous man.
I attended both seminars. The basic content was pretty much the same both days--slides and descriptions of the new pieces. But each day brought new questions from the audience and of course new winners of the door prizes. Each day a door prize of a prototype Party Animals was given away--after the winning ticket had been drawn out of the bag my Maxine Mouse herself! Both Maxine & Mackenzie put in an appearance at each seminar as well as at the Charming Tails booth, and were happy to pose for pictures. After Dean answered questions, tickets were drawn for each of the eight machine-embroidered, hand-signed linen napkins (four on Saturday and four on Sunday). The napkins are embroidered with Mackenzie sitting, wearing a rainbow-striped party hat (the same one he's wearing in Party Animals), holding a spotted balloon and surrounded by multi-colored confetti. I lost track of Saturday's winners, but on Sunday, two of our club members won napkins--Cindy Zugay and...me! I was so excited and astonished that I didn't even get up right away to accept the napkin. Tomorrow I'm off to the framer's with it. By the way, Party Animals is wonderfully colorful and festive, with so much detail. I love the confetti!
It was announced at the seminar that Fitz and Floyd's web site should be up and running in June, perhaps earlier. The address will be www.charmingtails.com. The suspended Squashville village pieces are "essentially" retired--but there could be new houses in the future. We were told that "Squashville is not abandoned." Dean also told us the stories (previously posted by Fling reporters) of the beginnings of Charming Tails and process of creating the pieces--from his drawings to the sculptor's work.
Enough can't be said about the "millennium" piece, World of Good Wishes. There was only one on display, and it was in a protective case. I took a lot of photos, and hopefully didn't not get too much glare. As others have reported, the globe itself is glass. The base and figures are resin, and a cloth ribbon with "peace" printed on it at intervals is held in the bird's beak. It is a little larger than most pieces and will have a special bottom stamp in gold and be hand numbered at the factory.
Dean's favorite piece is still Reach for the Stars. To him, the star represents a goal, and as there are billions of stars, once you reach your goal, there are many more to chose from to reach for!
Someone asked Dean if he would write a book. He has actually, with his sister, drafted out a book (I believe it is a children's book), and we may hear more about it actually happening in about a year. Another person asked if Reginald will have a "partner in crime." Dean said that eventually, over the years, all the Squashville residents would have a "significant other."
Speaking of significant others, here I want to say many thanks to my husband Pat, who took thorough, copious notes for me while I was wrapped up. Also with us was our 10-year-old son Sean, who asked Dean what his favorite piece was--and Dean actually remembered that he was the boy who liked the peppermint pieces (Sean had brought his Sticky Situations pieces to be signed--Dean signed the ear of one and the foot of another; he manages the tiniest and yet perfectly clear signatures!).
The entire expo was wonderful. The Fitz and Floyd people were patient and helpful. Lots of membership kits were sold. Buttons were handed out. And in the party bags handed out at the seminar, some (maybe most?) of the buttons were signed. The Swap 'n' Sell was fun, but there weren't as many Tails as I'd hoped to see--maybe I just got there late. I know that some of our members had a very good time there! I would love to go again. I'm certainly planning on being at the signing event in San Diego on August 15!!!
Jan Walker attended the show and sent me this information:
The new pieces that are mid-year intros not in the new catalog were on display, and I feel a BIG dip into the bank account coming! The theme piece for the seminar, Party Animals, was very detailed--little confetti on tiny wires--and a good sized piece. It was very colorful. Mackenzie wears a rainbow-hued hat and was also seen popping out of Dean's bright blue shirt pocket in a colorful swirl of streamer/confetti embroidery, aka the white longsleeve shirts the reps wear! (Someone designed it for him, and it's not available for us, though--sniff!)
Take Two Aspirin was adorable, with a real ribbon holding a clear ice cube on top of Mackenzie's head, which causes his ears to "droop"!!
A Gift of Love finds Binkey holding up a yellow daffodil bigger than he is! Very "charming"
Together Every Step of the Way is the baby walking piece, which also has Sidney and Lydia tagging along.
Someone else talked about Along for the Ride and You Quack Me Up--all these new pieces are too cute!
It was mentioned that the ornaments were smaller. I wanted to let you know Binkey's Candy Cane Flyer is about the same size as last year's Tricycle Built from Treats.
The piece that surprise me size-wise was the limited edition piece Sleighride Sweeties. It was much bigger than I thought. I thought it was going to be relatively small--like Tricycle Built from Treats--but it is quite large. It could be a float piece for the parade!
I loved the new float piece--Sugar Time Band Float. The gumdrops look real!
In Harvest Time Sweeties, they are sitting on a piece of Indian Corn. You can see the corn rows from the back.
Another favorite I wasn't expecting to like was Hocus Pocus. The little pumpkins are so lifelike, and the leaves on top of them are nicely done. The wand in his hand moves! The frog is whimsical!
Previous posts talked about the millennium piece. Don't wait to get it! Sign up now! It was dramatic! They said in the seminar it should be out in July or August.
Other seminar notes I had: Dean said that they are not going to be offering the white longsleeve mouse-in-the-pocket shirts they all wear because so far the cost factor has been prohibitive. Same for T-shirts. He said they are still working on it. Someone asked if it was OK to copy Charming Tails designs. She was a quilter and wanted to do a quilt. Dean said that as long as you are making your creation for your own use and not selling it, it's OK.
Someone asked about cats for future pieces, and Dean said Mackenzie and Maxine love everyone, but not everyone loves them!!! No cats in the future. But who knows, someday maybe a line of cats and dogs!
He said he will be doing QVC possibly next year. He said it's taken this long for him to get up and talk to us! He needs more time to psych himself up for TV!!!
All in all, it was great to meet online club members!! I was only able to attend the Saturday show, not Sunday. I'd love to hear some Sunday reports. I was disappointed in the Swap and Sell. There weren't many Charming Tails for sale, at least not as many as there were at Rosemont last year. JoAnne did pretty well, though!!!
Wish you all could have been there! WE HAD A GREAT TIME!!!
Heather attended the show and sent me this information:
I brought two pieces with me. When I was in line, one of the reps told me they were allowing up to three to be signed.
The millennium piece [89/2000 A World of Good Wishes] is really beautiful and will have a limit of 5,000 pieces [this number has not yet been set in stone--more like 7,500]. It has a dove sitting on top of a glass globe, holding a banner (in its beak, I think) that says "peace." On one side of the globe is Binkey, the other side Mackenzie. Dean said he deliberately did not put the year 2000 on the piece where it would show because he felt it had a theme for all times, not just that year. It will say 2000 on the bottom. It may start showing up in stores in August.
He did say that Tea Party Train Ride was the last train piece but alluded to something yet to come with the train. Michelle, I was reading the old notes from your page, where someone wrote questions to Dean and asked about the new squirrels being with the train, and he mentioned something about them playing "catch up," so maybe it will be a piece with them running to catch the train or something? I'm just guessing, but who knows? Before I read that from your page, I was thinking maybe a train station...but I think I'm wrong on that. Anyway...
The new Christmas ornaments seem much lighter than previous ones. Maybe they will hang easier on the tree! Also, the animals are tinier than normal size too...very cute! Not as small as Teeny Tiny Tails, but definitely not normal size. They also seemed smaller on the new Tea Party Train Ride as well as the Sugar Time Band Float.
Someone in the audience asked if Dean ever thought of creating a majorette for the Christmas parade. He really seemed to like the idea. He told us that he has used suggestions in the past and then said that the new piece with the motorcycle, Along for the Ride, came from someone suggesting a mouse on a motorcycle because they were Harley people. Then Dean said he thought Mackenzie could have a ladybug tattoo, so Lydia is on his arm where a tattoo would be. And the guy who suggested the bike said to have a side car because his wife rode in one with him. It was fun to hear him tell about the reason behind a piece.
There have been no new Chauncey pieces this year so far, but he said he still is definitely a part of the group. They just feel that Mackenzie and Binkey are the main draw for the line, so they will still feature characters such as Chauncey mainly in pieces that have several animals rather than by themselves.
They said You Quack Me Up is a reintroduction of the duck, and there should be more pieces with the duck in the future. Also, the frog on the new Halloween piece, Hocus Pocus, will most likely show up again. They said maybe in the future they will have a naming contest if he continues to appear.
Someone asked Dean if the dishes will match in pattern more in the future. He said he didn't set out planning a whole set, but who knows, that could be a future idea. He also said something like "maybe a cookie jar" so maybe something is in the works? I'm not sure if he was just talking out loud with ideas, or dropping hints at times!
In the bags they gave us at the seminar, along with party favors (and candy!) there were stickers they said Dean printed on his computer himself! They are copies of a drawing of Mackenzie with a party hat on, probably from the design of that piece. They have a sticky backing on the back (if you were to peel of the paper) and were each signed by Dean!
They had a drawing for a signed Party Animals piece, and after questions they drew four names for some embroidered cloths. And they said that at 4 p.m. they were drawing for a signed You Quack Me Up, but I had somewhere I had to be, so I wasn't there for that, unfortunately.
It was great seeing all the new pieces, and Dean was such a nice man, as everyone always mentions!
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