10,000 Christmas lights greeted the more than 600 collectors, representing some 33 clubs from Hawaii to Maine, attending the 10th Southern Regional Gathering (SRG) from July31 to Aug3 2003 in Deerfield Beach, Fl. Festivities started with Bingo and a frantic scavenger hunt Thursday evening. The twenty items required on the scavenger hunt list were unique, and some of the turned in items were just as unusual. Nine teams set out to find various things and within a half hour a couple of the teams had returned, but not with everything that was required. A request for an exotic orchid, which appeared on a flyer in the hotel, was fulfilled by one team with a digital picture of an orchid from an arrangement in the hotel. What ingenuity!!! Some of the items proved to be difficult to find, even though they were within easy attainability. Just an example of something so simple that it is overlooked. All in all, fun was had by all. Prizes for these were the first of the $35,000 of prizes given out over the weekend.
Friday was the opening of the Swap & Sell room with two dozen vendors including Pretty Petals, Tracie’s Miniatures, and Betty & Jerry Vaughn. The 10 seminars started at 10:00 with Peter George followed by Melinda Seegers (D56), Vern Schwieterman, Pat Ehrenreich, Miguel Hernandez, Judith Price, Richard Tuck & Frank Biafore, Tim Stevenson, and Peggy Culler-Hair & Jan Cooke (NCC). The last seminar was to be by Gene Bergeron of the Christmas Barn from Windom, CT, but due to emergency knee surgery, Richard and Frank covered for him. That night, after a poolside cookout, the NCC hosted a pool party for the 300 in attendance with a Steel Drum Band and nine games in and around the pool. After the NCC had given out almost 6000 tickets, prizes were drawn.
In addition to the Swap & Sell and seminars on Saturday, a real time display contest was held. Three teams of three had 1 1/2 hrs to complete a display. This was frantic but all had fun and made three nice displays (Jason Wade was on the winning team). Saturday night was the Key West Banquet with a crazy hat contest (lots of hats) and Key West style entertainment including a performance by “Mustang Mary” that had everyone laughing until it hurt! This was indescribable so you will need to talk to someone that was there. Following the banquet, everyone hit the hotel for “Room Hopping”.
Friday and Saturday saw collectors participating in two “Make and Takes”. One group made wooden stairways and the other made trees from wire, rope, and Aqua Net hair spray.
The hospitality room was open from Thursday afternoon through Saturday and was a great place to relax and grab a quick snack, watch the D56 Anniversary Video, or just meander around the room looking at the awesome displays made by the talented people who belong to village clubs throughout the country. The cookies freshly baked by Mr. Food, Hershey’s Kisses, pretzels, popcorn and a warm, welcoming atmosphere made the room a special place to be. Thank you to everyone who participated in the display contests and a special thank you to the Hospitality Committee and volunteers who worked so hard to make the Hospitality Room a success. It was also home to the display contest with over 20 entries and the Club Charity Displays entered by seven of the clubs in the Southern Region. (Central Florida Club "56", North Florida Village Collectors, Orange Blossom 56ers, Sleepy Hollow Villagers, Tampa Bay 56ers, The Village Landlords, and Treasure Coast 56ers) These clubs put so much talent into their work on the displays that we almost went through an entire role of tickets selling a total of $1625. To acknowledge the fantastic jobs these clubs did on their displays, the SRG Board added $475, bringing the total to $2100, giving each club’s charity $300.
At Sunday morning’s awards, Ronald McDonald and Lotsy Dotsy helped pass out the 90 door and volunteer prizes. They also aided in the charity auction raising over $3700. Ronald McDonald worked the room getting the bidding up over $300 for the 1998 Ronald McDonald House. After the speeches and the auction, the 19 Grand Raffle items were given away. Marlene Bretl won the trip to D56.
Everyone left happy and with much more village than he or she came with!
The Crazy Hat Contest was held at the Banquet on Saturday night. There were all kinds and everyone delighted in seeing the various creative hats. The winner for the Village related hat was Harriet Abo from our club, with Larry Davis. The crazy hat related winner was someone who made his hat from various items that were in the goody bag and at the pool party on Friday night.
Village Landlord BIG winners- Grand raffle-The trip to D56 - Marlene Bretl
The Friday night pool party sponsored by the NCC was a great success. Music was provided by a Steel Drum Band, and picnic type food and plenty of games and prizes kept everyone busy and happy.
The artistry and talent exhibited in all of the displays is beyond
description. A Halloween scene in a tree stump, a three dimensional apple,
pumpkins and a liberty bell carved from Styrofoam, castles, beaches, mountain
scenes, baskets and bread were just some of the many other unique and wonderful
ideas depicted in the displays. Thanks to all those who participated in the
On the last morning of the gathering, comment sheets were passed out to the attendees. In addition to rating the various categories of the event, the question “What did you like best about the Gathering” was asked. Following, you will find some of the comments.
-“The display contest was the best I have ever experienced.” -“Vern S., poolside party and dinner. Actually, the entire gathering was wonderful”
-“The overall enthusiasm of event staff and effort to pull it off” -“4 star gathering” -“Event was well organized, events were fun, seminars were informative, volunteers were helpful, and breakfast buffet was good.”
-“Theme well coordinated.”
-“All around great job – wonderful decorations. Your club, Village Landlords, were so helpful and courtesy was extended at all times.” -“Meeting new people, sharing information. The whole experience was wonderful.”
-“Organization of gathering, informative seminars.”
-“Pete, photo person was great.”
-“Banquet entertainment. Vern’s seminar. How you set up and used the hospitality suite was excellent.”
-“Bingo – games, excellent. Mustang Mary.”
-“Prizes were great.”
-“Location and very friendly host club.”
-“Best hospitality room I’ve ever seen. Excellent displays.” -“Good bag and literature on the event – very professional.”
Copyright Village Landlords 2004.