Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nancy Drew Sleuths 2009 Convention Recap

Jenn & Mary at Nancy Drew Disco Party

Disregarding a warning from Fleetfoot Joe to “Stay out of Nevada,” members of the Nancy Drew Sleuths converged upon Las Vegas for our 2009 convention held September 30 – October 4. Between searching for the Forgotten City, disco Nancy Drew-style, CSI: ND, and a Sleuth Survivor challenge, the week was a whirlwind! Read on for more of our adventures…

Wednesday, September 30: Nancy Drew Disco Meet & Greet Party

We donned bell bottoms, platform boots, wigs, and psychedelic patterns to converge on the Bristol Suite at the ESPN Zone restaurant at the NY NY Hotel and Casino. Our mission was to recreate a 1970s Nancy Drew atmosphere complete with disco ball, disco tunes, and a montage of 1970s covers, internals, and groovy 70’s speak playing on half a dozen large screen TVs in the room.

Mary G's Nancy Drew Bell Bottoms

Our Meet & Greet Party was complete with yummy appetizers and entrees as well as Bess’s favorite—desserts! Present were myself, my mom Linda, Amanda, Lea, Garrett, Dean, Mary T., Mary G., Anne, Marilyn, Brittany, Ellen, Kelly, Meredith, Christine, Lisa, Karen, Elizabeth, A.B., Judy, Dede, Laura, Arlene, Kathy, Patricia, Bob, Maria, Patrick, Kathleen, and Gudrun.

AB, Elizabeth, & Meredith Strike a Pose

Giveaways, info packets, and goody bags were given out. Goody bags included neat pins from Popcorn Posters, Beware! A snake/lizard warning, whistle/compass containers to wear at the Sleuth Survivor challenge, Forgotten City pins, and a really neat leather bookmark from new Nancy Drew licensee Alicia Klein (www.aliciaklein.com) complete with images of Nancy and quotes with a space to put a photo.

Lea & Amanda

Thursday, October 12, 2009: Forgotten City Day

Our main theme was the classic Nancy Drew book, #52 The Secret of the Forgotten City written by Harriet Stratemeyer Adams. Since our goal is to walk in Nancy Drew’s footsteps, we bused up to the Valley of Fire and the Lost City Museum which Harriet visited for research and which Nancy and her chums visited in the book. Upon our arrival at the Lost City Museum in Overton, Nevada, we were greeted by museum staff and curator Katherine Olson.

The Whole Gang at The Lost City Museum

A large banner was hanging out front welcoming our group to the museum. A local woman had made the sign and another had made us a delicious spice cake and punch. We listened to a talk by Ms. Olson who compared things in the Forgotten City book to what was around and inside the museum. We took group photos by Indian dwellings and browsed through the museum and gift shop. After purchases were made, we entered the residence attached to the museum for a talk given by Ann Sandstrom who was present during Harriet and Nancy Axelrad’s visit.

She spoke about meeting Harriet and Nancy and of their visit and pointed us to things in the museum that inspired Harriet and mentioned a colorful local character who most likely inspired the villain Fleetfoot Joe named Valley of Fire Charlie.

After our museum visit, we lunched at Sugar’s in Overton – a local mom and pop restaurant featuring delicious sandwiches, burgers, salads, and soups. During our lunch there, I was sitting at the counter with Patricia when a man approached me. He asked about our group and told me he had the Forgotten City book that Harriet Adams sent to the museum once it was published—signed. His father in law had been the museum’s curator at the time. It had been given to his daughter, the curator’s granddaughter, who sadly died tragically in 1991. The family had been holding on to it for sentimental reasons. He brought the book inside for us to see and we took photos of it and Harriet’s signature. It was a nice surprise and a nice way to wrap up our visit to Overton and the museum.

Balance Rock at Valley of Fire - From Cover of Forgotten City

After lunch, we converged upon the Valley of Fire making a stop at a nice area for pictures—Seven Sisters—and then headed to the Visitor’s Center where you can hike to the Balance Rock—featured on the cover of Forgotten City. The gift shop inside provided some souvenirs for members and there was a nice museum of sorts for everyone to learn about the history of the area.

Our last stop at the Valley of Fire was at the Mouse’s Tank where you can hike in about a fourth of a mile to the Mouse’s

Tank and view Petroglyphs on the walls along the way. This location is mentioned in the Forgotten City book. It was here that we participated in our Sleuth Survivor challenge. We had formed 3 tribes (like the CBS show Survivor) at the Meet & Greet: Nancy tribe, Bess tribe, and George Tribe. Each member had a colorful buff with our Sleuth Survivor Logo to wear. Nancy was blue, Bess pink, and George green. The challenge was laid out in four parts and members of each tribe were divided up for each challenge. The first group in the parking lot had to untie a rope that was wrapped and tied around a bag of puzzle pieces. Upon untying the bag, the next group took the puzzle pieces to a location at the start of the hiking trail by their flag to assemble them. Once assembled, the next group used Mrs. Wabash’s dictionary to decipher the petroglyph symbols on the puzzle—each petroglyph representing a letter. The letters were unscrambled to reveal: Go To Mouse’s Tank. The last group from each tribe took their flag and hiked into the Mouse’s Tank, took a photo with the flag, and the first team to hike back and cross the finish line won a prize!

George Tribe Wins Reward: Her Interactive Computer Games

As I was setting up and dodging pesky bees (that stung Amanda and my mom), a woman was coming off the trail and asked if we were doing a Survivor challenge - I told her it was a Nancy Drew Sleuth Survivor challenge—she thought that was so cool. Once the challenge began the Nancy and George tribes were almost neck and neck and the George team deciphered their puzzle just moments before the Nancy tribe did. The Bess tribe followed several minutes later. After about 15 minutes, we caught sight of Ellen and Brittany, hiking (or should I say jogging!) for the George tribe heading back on the trail. They crossed the finish line and the tribe was awarded computer games from Her Interactive: Ransom of the Seven Ships and the Dossier game Resorting to Danger. Everyone who participated was also given a mini book made by Lorraine Rogers of Forgotten City. I thought it was ironic that life imitated art in that the George and Nancy tribes were off and running and the Bess tribe was lagging behind.

After a stop at McDonald’s for refreshments, we headed back to Las Vegas and met for dinner at the Excalibur Buffet. Some members participated in a Knight’s Sword choose your own adventure challenge throughout the hotel that evening. Knights and chocolates were awarded to those who found me out front of the hotel next to a Knight.

Friday, October 2: CSI: ND

Before members were let loose to do whatever they wished for the rest of the day and evening (as they say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas—unless Nancy Drew’s on the case!), we met for a CSI: Nancy Drew challenge at the hotel. In our challenge, 4 teams visited miniature crime scenes to solve a mystery. A Nancy Drew villain had come to life and was burglarizing homes of 4 Nancy Drew collectors. To discover the villain, they had to search for footprints, fingerprints, decode numbers found, and look for invisible letters to unscramble with a black light. Clues led to them discovering that it was Bushy Trott from The Secret in the Old Attic who was the culprit. Two young girls from a local school joined us along with their chaperone from the school and had a lot of fun. They filmed the event for their video broadcast they play at the school.

Following our mini CSI event, we headed to the MGM Grand hotel for CSI: The Experience in which we went through crime scenes, noted evidence, and then processed various pieces of evidence in labs in order to discover the identity of the suspect who committed a crime. It was a neat attraction that has just opened there—and I recommend it to anyone visiting Vegas. Once we solved the case, we checked out the gift shop and signed up to receive our CSI diplomas via e-mail.

At 7pm, my mom and I met up with Kelly, Mary, Garrett, Meredith, Christine, Kathy, and Dean at the hotel’s steakhouse for dinner—and they gave us a small private room to dine in, which was perfect. Good conversation and food rounded out the evening.

Dave Farah & Rubber Chicken

Saturday, October 3: Nancy Drew Sleuth Convention Day

Today was the big convention day. And it began too early for this “night owl” at 5:30am—whaa! Set up went quick and we had a nice large room and plenty of table space to spread our Nancy Drew raffle items which benefited the Las Vegas-Clark County Library. We raffled off some of the props from the week’s events: Survivor Flags/puzzles, 70s party decorations, and the CSI: ND miniature crime scenes. I had merchandise from Café Press and crafty Nancy Drew items for sale and Lea brought neat crafty items too.

Forty girls from the local school came with ten chaperones and they were very excited to be at the convention and learn about Nancy Drew! With our members and guests, we had about 85 in all attending. Speaking were myself (about Forgotten City and Harriet’s research plus Nancy Drew 101 for the kids), Lea (Nancy Drew in French Translation), Dean (BOLO Books – Be On the Look Out), and David Farah (The Mysterious Appearances of Rubber Chickens in Nancy Drew Mystery Stories). We had a snack break in the afternoon of various desserts and fresh fruit and presented David Farah with our Sleuth Award.

A funny story – when David signed up to speak, he jokingly gave me his speech title—and I took him literally and threw up the title on the website. I kept wondering what he was up to with these “mysterious rubber chickens” and it turned out even with his humorous prop of rubber chickens and rubber chicken key chains for the school girls, that there are no rubber chickens in Nancy Drew mysteries. HA! He instead spoke about how he got into Nancy Drew collecting and related interesting stories from over the years including the reason why Mildred Wirt Benson said she was so sick of Nancy Drew she could vomit. It was great and everyone enjoyed it very much. He gave out envelopes to everyone who had to literally say The Password to Larkspur Lane which had a mixture of Nancy Drew modeling shots that Rudy Nappi took when creating the Nancy Drew covers. Everyone poured over theirs trying to figure out which covers they came from. One of mine was the cover shot for The Secret of the Forgotten City which thrilled me since that was our theme.

Brittany & Ellen Scrapbooking Nancy Style

Following our convention, we participated in a scrapbooking activity put on by Sleuths Judy and Dede to create a Nancy Drew convention scrap page with space for a photo. Everyone enjoyed the event and it went off very well. Our first crafty activity. Look for Nancy Drew sleuth kits with Penny Warner in 2010!

After setting up for the mystery dinner party—a 1947 gangster theme set at the old Flamingo Casino in Vegas—I changed into my costume complete with a large white and black feather boa. And as everyone said, if I’d committed a crime that night, I would have been caught immediately, as I was molting everywhere I went. A trail of black and white feathers followed me from Tower 2 in the hotel to the 3rd floor meeting rooms and all over. I wasn’t responsible for any feathers found in the food either!

Dean & Jenn's Molting Feather Boa

Our decorating crew had decked out the room in pink flamingos, decks of cards, and poker chips featuring the silhouette of Nancy Drew. Our red felt panels with the 2 sets of silhouettes of Nancy and the 3 girls from the endpapers used at the 2005 conventions made a nice backdrop for photos. In the center of each table was a Nancy Drew silhouette hurricane that glowed from the candle inside. The food was Italian and we had 5 suspects who participated in skits throughout the evening. Dean was mobster Meyer Lansky, Garrett was mobster Gus Greenbaum, Mary was mobster Molly Capone, and Elizabeth and A.B. were mobsters Virginia Hill and Bugsy Siegel’s ghost. We alternated with evidence reports from Nancy Drew and everyone had a chance to solve the mystery of who committed the casino heist. It was Virginia! Laura won free land convention registration for next year for her correct solution.

Lea and Amanda ran our gift exchange and many neat hand-crafted Nancy Drew items were exchanged including towels, paper bag albums, textiles, decoupaged boxes, items made from Nancy Drew fabric, and Nancy’s blue convertible. Gudrun presented me with a neat Swedish anniversary edition Nancy Drew book that I’ll treasure as my first Swedish book. David Farah spoke and related more stories to the crowd and gave out more of those neat modeling shots, copies of the Nancy Drew Cameos flyer, and the original text outline for The Bungalow Mystery.

Some of us met for breakfast the next morning before heading off in search of other adventures. All in all, I think it was a great convention and everyone seemed to have a really good time. Quite a few of us are meeting up in just six months in Florida for mystery and mayhem—might you join us? If you do, grab your magnifying glass and blaze a trail in your snappy roadsters, for it’s going to be an exciting 2010 celebration of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys that you won’t want to miss!


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