2014 June – The EX

MEOW Goes to The EX – June 2014
By Penny Johnson

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In March, I received a letter from Jodi Johnson, my daughter, (who would much rather not be mentioned – ha ha) the Communications and Marketing Manager for the Red River EX, inviting MEOW to participate in its hobbies section during the exhibition in June. In recent years, The EX has been working hard to “put the fair back into the fair” by bringing back some of the very popular lifestyle exhibits and attractions that were once featured in the old Winnipeg arena. Things like hobbies, gardening, quilts, photography and art have been reintroduced to the fair in order to engage the community as an important part of the traditions that have served The EX so well in years past. So, with invitation in hand at the next MEOW club meeting, I proposed that we participate. The club members agreed, and Betsy and I began preparations.

At the Manitoba Miniature Meet in Portage la Prairie, I approached the gals from the Little Bits of Brandon club who had brought projects for MEOW members to see, and I asked if they would like to participate with us at The EX. They thought that was a great idea, so I took their minis home with me. Many thanks to Marg F., Beth S., Shirley K., Connie S., Roberta B. and Bobbie B., who had their projects featured at The EX this year.

Meanwhile, I was collecting miniatures from MEOW members who had also agreed to participate. A big thank you goes out to Michelle A., Dianna B., Michelle B., Norma B., Virginia B., Carole F., Karen G., Cheryl H., Penny J., Betsy K., Sharon R., Margaret S., Judy T., Nadine V., and Georgina W.

I associate The EX with the excitement and sounds of the midway, screaming kids on rides, the smell of popcorn, hotdogs, fried “whatever” and the taste of candy apples and cotton candy! Well, the first Monday morning of The EX was an entirely different experience.

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That Monday began early in the morning at my house which is approximately two minutes from The EX, less if you get the flashing green light on Portage Avenue at Tim Horton’s. (No stopping there today however.) Betsy, my husband Darryl and I loaded up two cars with our very precious cargo. Armed with security passes on the dashboards, a nice security guard waved us through the gate and into Red River Exhibition Park. The feeling was very surreal. All was quiet and still – The EX was closed until three in the afternoon. With Jodi on the phone, guiding us to our destination, we passed by the Crazy Mouse roller coaster and wound around numerous other very scary looking rides. “Hang a right at the Niagara Falls water ride,” she said. Our little caravan was now driving down a seemingly unending midway. It was a very eerie feeling to see all the closed and shroud-covered booths, especially when you expect the hustle and bustle that the idea of a midway conjures up. “Oops!” said Jodi. “I can see you now. You’ve gone too far. Swing around and make a left at the food court.” We did, and a little further on we came to our final destination, Exhibition Place. Cell phone in hand, Jodi came walking toward us, opened the side door of the 40,000 square foot indoor building and showed us to our display area.

Our display area was large and easily accommodated three pedestal display cases and one display table, with lots of room for people to walk around and view the miniatures from all angles.  I had recreated the displays in my house beforehand and took pictures of how things were to be arranged, so setting up went very smoothly.  Being in the minority, Darryl was elected to clean the Plexiglas display covers and affix the two club signs.  He had the hardest job and we thanked him kindly for it!

[To ZOOM IN on pictures, click on image. To return to this page, click on the BACK arrow. ]

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After everything was set up; pictures taken (by me, so not very good ones); cars loaded with empty boxes, bags, etc., we manoeuvred our way back the way we came, waved to the security guard, who nodded – our work was done. Well, almost.

Now, I have a five year old granddaughter, Lucy, who LOVES to go to The EX – EVERYDAY (8 out of 10 this year to be exact)!  So, I had ample opportunities to check on our displays.  I was amazed!  Every time I went by, there were people milling around, pointing out things of interest and commenting on various aspects of the projects.  I was very pleased that our members’ work was being appreciated.

So, all in all, MEOW’S first foray into displaying our projects at the Red River EX in June 2014 was a real success!  I hope we get invited back next year, as it allows us to display what we do as miniaturists to an audience who might not otherwise be familiar with dollhouse miniatures.

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