Sunday, December 1, 2013

50th Anniversary Party for Doctor Who "Day of the Doctor"

November 23, 2013, 2:50 pm. To many people that date means nothing. For 225 people at a bowling alley and many millions more around the globe this was the date the that the longest continuously running TV show would celebrate it's 50th anniversary on.  This was the "Day of the Doctor".  Doctor Who you may ask, but the answer overly concisely is he is a time traveling alien traveling time and space in a blue box with his companion(s) adventuring and making things better armed with a sonic screwdriver and is amazing.  The BBC broke a second world record on this day, simultaneously showing this show/movie in 94 countries in 6 continents; including being shown in 3D in select theaters. A month before the big day I looked around online to see who was hosting the big Doctor Who party in Cleveland. I only found one choice I'd be happy with, me. The search was on for a location.

When the call came for a place for the Whovians of Cleveland and Lakewood to flock to on their celebration, one of the biggest bars in town rose to the challenge. Mahall's 20 Lanes gave us use of their 150 seat concert room.  As the event expanded we were able to show the movie in the bar as well. Mahall's newest chef, Andy Dubyoski, created an original menu for the event. The menu was both creative and incorporated the higher quality ingredients, which Mahall's is known for. We even had multiple types of pop corn and candy available in the room with us during the show.  Andy was one of many Whovians we found that had been looking for an event like this one and was excited to be a part.

Kelly Flamos, one of the owners of the bar does not watch the show but quickly got caught up in the excitement of the event. She made sure that Every Bar in Lakewood would be able to both afford to host it and worked around the changes that were made as the celebration expanded.  Mahall's adapted their audio-visual systems to create a quality experience through their projection system. They were also able to handle our large event while hosting two bowling parties at the same time. This party would have been impossible without all the work Mahall's staff put into making everything work on a tight schedule. A schedule that was made tighter with the BBC witholding the official time of the episode until two weeks beforehand.

It takes a village to raise a child and it turns out it took just as many people to make an extraterrestrial time traveler's anniversary party a success. After Kelly Griffith of Rock Paper Cut created our amazing flyers and other visual elements; we went in search of other businesses that would help us. Most of the business owners were not only enthusiastic about donating, but they wanted to attend it and in some cases even set up their own tables.

One of the biggest promoters of this event was GeekCle, They jumped whole heartedly into supporting the 50th Anniversary party anyway they could. Our celebration was listed on their websites calendar and was talked about at their events. They embraced the task of running a trivia contest before the episode began, complete with prizes and a trophy.  Keep an eye on GeekCle.  They enthusiastically promote all things Geek; giving people new places they can play vintage arcade games, geeky trivia, table top games and even try their hands at cool crafts. They also write articles on a regular basis. You can check out a great article about them in the Plain Dealer here.

They're on the right.

Hashtag Nerd,, was one of sponsors for the event. This is a great website and blog that talks about nerd life. They range from media and technology to games and nerd's lifestyles. They also sold cool prints as one of our vendors.

Andrea Sokol also sponsored the event and manned a kissing booth. Sorry guys, she only offered Hersey's kisses.

Spooky Grrrl Bath and Body both donated Doctor Who themed soap and manned a table selling her soaps and other bath supplies. Bella Sin's Spooky Grrl creates soaps that are a mixture of spooky and cute trying to make something for everyone. My wife even took home a pink R2D2 soap. Bella, who is also the producer at Ohio Burlesque, was one of celebrity judges for our costume contest as well.

Fears' Confections creates gourmet brownies and candies, including chocolate Daleks that were donated for our raffle. She was super enthusiastic about becoming one of our vendors and enriched the event.

Breakneck Gallery is one of Lakewood's many art galleries but stands out as a leader in alternative and nerdy art. Along with a lot of great works of art, you can also purchase t-shirts, jewelry, toys, books and prints from their gallery. The Breakneck puts on interesting shows on a regular basis that can range from a fundraiser for the local animal rescue to an art show that requires you sport 3D glasses! They donated one of our most popular gift baskets and were selling awesome prints at the vendor tables.

Carol and John's Comic Book Shop donated two of our raffle prizes. They are one of the top comic book shops in the Greater Cleveland area. Their staff is knowledgable, friendly and helpful whether you're in the store or just trying to update your subscriptions via email. They are the place that helped me get back into buying comic books again and always guide me in the directions that I want to go. All of this isn't why they are one of the best. Carol and John's strives to creates community. They want a place comic book lovers and newbies can hang out together to talk and explore. It's a place where you can meet your friends and make new ones. They put on events throughout the year and get to know their customers. Carol and John's were also a driving force behind the previous week's 50th Anniversary party by the Doctor Who Society of Cleveland. Carol and John's is a place you want to go and it's a bonus that you can buy comics there as well.

Star Pop Vintage and Modern was excited when we contacted them about this event. He not only donated a cool prize set but contacted Keven's Customs to donate a custom made, one of a kind, David Tennant action figure as well. What is Star Pop? Imagine if everyone at this event picked the coolest toys, clothing, classic video games, music, movies, books, art, & other pop culture collectibles out of their attic and put them in one place. That's what Star Pop buys and sells.

Big Fun also donated some cool glasses and toy Dalek toys for our event. They gave me a lot of help putting flyers in their stores where they would get the most traffic. “Big Fun is a veritable cornucopia of delights, a cathedral of counter-culture, a warehouse of nerdabilia and nostalgia.” This is how they describe themselves, and I can't disagree.

Papyrusaurus donated a cool Tardis Print. Papyrusaurus offers a wide variety of decorations and art made mostly from upcycled paper and discarded books.

Ground Zero Comics and Cards donated interchangable sonic screwdriver that ended up being our 1st place prize in the costume contest. He runs a very cool store for both games and comics. His store also hosts GeekCle's table top game night.

Cleveland Mop Shop, is where I've gotten my hair cut for most of the last decade. They donated some hair supplies and a gift certificate in a Doctor Who lunch box. Judy was our contact for the event and you should give her a call the next time your hair is too long.

Fathom Events gave us a dozen tickets to the Monday showing of 3D version of “the Day of the Doctor” at Crocker Park and South Park Mall. They were very excited about the event and gave us some helpful materials to pick the winners.

Six Point Brewing gave us cheap beer for the event. I love Six Point Brewing. If you haven't tried it you should.

Many of the pictures used in this blog article were taken by Nottage Productions. You'll recognize the photographer, Donn R. Nottage, as the man greatly resembling David Tennant at the event. Linked pictures are copy written by Nottage Productions.

We moved the event back an hour to give people less time standing out in the snow.  So of course, people started showing up at noon. We had a non-stop line of people entering the event until we ran out of room a little after 2:00pm.  I apologize for any confusion of when the opening was going to be.  After some prompting we changed the direction of the still growing line into the bar to watch the show on its TV.

I've seen the show three times now:  at the event, home, and at the movie theater.  Not to brag, but it was best at Mahall's. Getting to enjoy the show with 150 other people made everything about it better. It's easier to laugh out loud or cheer when you have a crowd of people that are having the same reaction. The excitement of the evening was palatable in the air. The most amazing thing that happened was I didn't have to ssh or kick anyone out for being disruptive during the show. The only people that got up went to the bathroom as fast as possible usually after waiting an hour and eventually noticing there weren't any commercials.

Meanwhile, at the bar something magical happened. Instead of moping about the smaller TV, all the Whovians in the Who bar gathered the chairs together and made their own movie theater. They didn't need any projector or sonic screwdrivers nor any timey-wimey Tardis or raffle prizes. The 50th Anniversary was about more than that. It was about a community of people getting together and enjoying something they love. Two of my friends that showed up late and my wife protected the vendor tables. She said both rooms laughed, cheered and reacted simultaneously throughout the movie. It's a fun thought that when I laughed at Matt Smith stealing a fez, there were people laughing at the exact moment in England, Canada and another 90 countries around the world. That also means that at that moment when thousands of Australians laughed at the same time I did they were also laughing tomorrow (real life timey-wimey.)

I had people come find me after the show to tell me what a great time they had crammed into the bar.

We opened the event to all the bar Whovians for the raffle and the costume contest. The contest was judged by three celebrity judges. Carol, the founder of the Doctor Who Society of Cleveland was our second judge. You should Like her Facebook page it's a good place to find local and less than local Whovian news and pictures. Bella Sin was asked to be our second judge due to her Doctor Who enthusiasm and expertise at costume making. I was a judge because it was my event. There were less people that wanted to be in the contest than I expected but that didn't make the judging easier. All the costumes were amazing. We rapidly picked the top 10 for the the crowd to pick the top three out of. In retrospect we should have gone with cutting out people as we may have left out a costume or two that should have made it. Picking who gets the loudest cheers doesn't work well either but I'm pretty sure we got the fans' favorites in the right order.  Regardless they all did an amazing job on their costumes.

Thanks to our sponsors, vendors, Mahall's, and our crowd buying tickets for our 10 raffle prizes and the 50/50 raffle we were able to pay for all our expenses!

I'd like to thank Jonn and Lynn for taking the reigns of the raffle. Also, thanks to Dean that had to stop 75 temporarily disappointed Whovians from entering our sold out ticketless event. Again thank you Kelly for doing so much work at and leading up to this event that it couldn't have happened without you. You're amazing.

If you enjoyed the event, have a picture in this blog or simply liked the blog please share this blog. The more people that see this blog will make it easier for more events and projects like this to be put on in the future.  Also, if you attended please answer the questions on the poll on the event page.  Thank you!

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