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My Adventures at the UFDC Doll Convention 2011

Les Celebrations des Poupees in Anaheim

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The UFDC Doll Convention is complete, utter, exciting doll madness to anyone who loves dolls! Due to personal reasons (business, teenagetrs, illness) I haven't been able to attend a UFDC National Doll Convention since the Las Vegas convention in 2008, and that was so disappointing. I really missed going to the conventions--there is no better way to learn about dolls from every era, antique to modern, as well as buy dolls, reconnect with doll collecting friends and make new doll friends, and to just have a fantastic, doll-centric time!

Thursday Morning Early A.M. - Tired but Happy!

Actually, as I sit here it is Thursday morning, and I have two full days of convention left. Convention technically started on Monday, although I've been busy with dolls straight through since Saturday. This year, I've been a dealer in the salesroom for the first time as well as a monitor for the antique dolls competition, and I've hardly had a spare minute! Which of course is O.K. by me when dolls are involved!

Right now, I'm sitting here desperately trying to finish my article before the annual UFDC meeting which starts in an hour...but I digress. Lets go back in time....

Saturday - Extra Doll Show and Doll Friends

I drove to Anaheim actually last Friday with a truck full of dolls. That is correct--a truck full. With my very gracious and put-upon 18 year old son Alex. Let's just say he recognizes in this economy a job is a job and that a doll gig was thereby O.K. with him. The truck was so full that we had to put our clothing luggage in the back seat! Getting everything up to the hotel room was quite an adventure, made easier by the wonderful Anaheim Hilton staff.

On Saturday, the Rowbear & Friends Doll Festival opened at a nearby hotel. It cost a ridiculous $50 to get in early on Saturday, which I paid since I didn't really have another time to check this show out. This doll show is quite controversial--it feeds off of the UFDC Convention and takes business away from it (as well as UFDC members away from the hotel room block...a major problem to be discussed at another time). I can't say that I don't enjoy going to the show as a collector, as a dealer I even found dolls to buy and re-sell at my booth. However, as a dealer this year, I'm sure that the show cut into my UFDC salesroom sales. In any event, I had a good time at the show and I met up with some great doll friends from the East coast. However, I did have dinner with my son, since if you are at a week-long doll collecting event with a non-collector, I think you should at least spend some non-doll related time with them!

Sunday - Theriault's Auction, ODACA Show, Newcomers, Dynamic Doll Dialogues

Sunday is technically still a pre-convention day. Another non-UFDC event happens on Sunday (also in a nearby hotel,) the Theriault's doll auction. This auction of antique and vintage dolls is another tradition and people feel the same way about it (good and bad) as the Rowbear Doll Show. I of course, love antique doll auctions and Theriault auctions especially, and had a great time at the auction (and even bought a great french fashion doll at the auction for my collection, but more about her at a later date too!)I had to leave the auction early so I could move my dolls into the showroom. Big job, well done with the help of my son. I tried to get my son to go to the Newcomer's Orientation program but he said he didn't need it since he had me to guide him. I also regretted not having time to attend the fantastic, free Dynamic Doll Dialogues. These are doll discussions given in small groups. Topics this year included wooden dolls and doll hats among many others. We walked to a great dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and tried to go to bed early since we knew Monday (setting up our doll dealer booth and the grand opening of the salesroom) was going to be a long day!

Monday - Being a UFDC Doll Dealer is Hard Work!

I've sold at doll shows before, but not for a number of years, and I've never transported as many dolls as I transported to this UFDC show. Goodness, being a UFDC Doll Dealer is hard work! My son and I worked straight through from 9am to 5pm (the entire time alotted) to unpack and set up our dolls in our booth. The booth consisted of three tables and a glass showcase for smaller items. We atractively (we hoped!) arranged everything and although many items were priced, many still needed price tags, so we did that as well. On Monday there was also, for me, a meeting of Doll Competition Monitors. Other daytime Monday activities included putting dolls into competition, various ticketed meals and events incljuding a Kish luncheon, set up of the special exhibits, Programs on dolls such as the antique Kestner Daisy (celebrating her 100th year in 2011), more Dynamic Doll Dialogues, etc.

Grand Opening of the UFDC Salesroom

The UFDC Salesroom this year had over 100 doll dealers from all over the United States and the World. The grand opening of the salesroom is a big event attended by all of the well over 1,000 attendees of the convention. After the grand opening ceremonies, everyone comes in about 8:30pm and the Salesroom is open until 11:30pm. Having never had a booth here before, I didn't know what to expect...did I bring the right merchandise? Did I price it right? Would anyone buy anything from me with well over 100 dealers in attendance? Well, I shouldn't have worried...my dolls were quite popular on opening night, my booth was crowded, and I never worked so hard in all my life! My son and I didn't sit down or stop for a second between 8:30 and 11:30. We ended the day tired but happy, grateful for our many customers, and in great need of some pie before bedtime (thank goodness for late room service!).

Part II....Tuesday and Wednesday at the UFDC Convention!

More about Convention in Part II. As you can see, I'm having a great if exhausting time. If you love dolls and you are not a member of the UFDC, you need to join. And, if you've never been to a UFDC national doll convention, the 2012 convention will be in New Orleans...make your plans now to join in the doll fun!

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