Pezamania 24: The Dynamic Duo Takes Cleveland (continued)
Thursday was, alas, not all peaches and cream. At one point earlier in the day, on the second floor of the hotel, I had received word that a dealer on the first floor (and in the other wing of the hotel), had just gotten in one of the most sought after new sets, Scooby Doo! When I heard this, my eyes grew big and I immediately high-tailed it down to the room. Jessi tried her best to keep up, but I was really hauling tail. I think at one point she commented that she had never seen me move that fast, which I felt was both pretty inspiring and pretty sad! But it was all for naught, as I arrived at the room about 5 minutes too late, and all of the Scooby sets were sold out. I caught my breath, even if I did not make it in time to catch the Scooby gang. What's worse, as I continued to room hop, I saw that set over and over again, with people who were in the right place at the right time to scoop it up. I almost wondered if it was just the same set that followed me from room to room, like an episode of "Twilight Zone." Oh, the pain!
Scooby Pez set, mark my words: one day you will be mine!
Friday arrived, and with it came more Pez scores, of course. The biggest score came later in the day, when I realized that I still had a good chunk of change left over from my allotted Pez budget, in addition to the bit of extra cash I made from selling at the Thursday swap party. So, I ventured back to John's room, where I usually find myself when I am after vintage Pez, and decided to take the plunge with my final Eerie Spectre, Scarewolf! Usually I limit myself to one big vintage piece per year, but in this case I decided to go for it, to round out the set then rather than wait another year.
Here is that complete set. Made of plastic, springs, and win!
We also sat in on the Pez forum, which has become an annual gathering of some of the top Pez experts and asking them about their favorite sets, their greatest scores, and any other questions about the history of the hobby or its current or future state. Among the topics this year were some epic Pez vending machines finds at flea markets back in the day, as well as some concern about the new practice of 3D printing and the increased likelihood of fake Pez parts, and even entirely fake dispensers. No matter how many years I come to Pezamania, I never fail to learn something new from these forums.
The last big event of Friday, after another superb meal at The Winking Lizard, was Diceamania. We arrived armed with enthusiasm and hope, the prize list, and a significant amount of alcohol. By the time we got there, most of the tables already filled up. We were directed to a table that only had a couple of people there already. Eventually the table filled up, including a fellow Pezhead that I already knew from years past, and who also happened to be the same one who dealt me the fatal blow at Pezamania the previous night. Most others at the table were new to me (and obviously all of them were new to Jessi). We all got along quite well right away. One guy mentioned that he had been to the Pez convention in LA (PEZcific), which was a lot smaller than this one, but the quality of the pez there was quite good. This intrigued me, as I hope to make it out there someday. Maybe even next year?
A helper eventually came over and asked us who we had designated as the scorekeeper. We all looked at each other, but no one immediately volunteered. I thought back to all the previous times I had played this game at Pezamania past, and never once had I been the scorekeeper. Could I handle the pressure of such a critical task? After all, my accurate counting could mean the difference between a huge prize or a near miss. With great power comes great responsibility, I think someone once said. Justin Bieber, maybe? Not sure. Anyway, with my courage buoyed by some of the aforementioned alcohol, I rose to the occasion and became the scorekeeper.
As for the games themselves, my scorekeeping skills were decent but alas they did not get us any closer to victory. To quote the philosopher Steven Tyler, it was the same old story, same old song and dance. By which I mean, in most cases, no one at our table came close to winning. The exception was the final game, when young Giovanni emerged victorious and came away with a vintage black and brown Pez gun. Way to go, dude!
The real fun happened in between the games, as always. There were the charity auctions, including the biggest one, a William Shatner Pez dispenser that went for $675. And there was also a few games of (prepaid) Bingo, which is always a grand time (if not a victorious one). This year, a bunch of Pezheads got together for a really great gag. After the first number was called, at least 25 people shouted BINGO and stood up. In each of their hands was a stick with a picture of Rick's face on it. Rick, as mentioned previously, always does a great job as the emcee of this event. He (and everyone else) got a real kick out of it- imagine staring out to a sea of your own faces looking back at you!
Good times, man.
The final event of Pezamania was the Saturday floor show. When we arrived it was already in full swing. It's always nice to see the Pezheads and dealers one last time, or usually several last times, as I tend to take multiple passes around the show before deciding how to spend the last of my Pez loot. We ran into a couple of people from the Diceamania table the night before, and they both asked us with some degree of concern, "Are you okay?" I was like, dude, I know I may have drank an entire bottle of wine last night, but I still carried out my duties as scorekeeper, and kept it together overall. Today is a whole new day. That being said, maybe stop talking so loudly, my head is a bit sore for some reason.
We also ran into the Pez Lady, aka Yvette, and took this nice picture together.
I picked up a few more pieces, including one more vintage in the form of a Puzzy Cat. We said our goodbyes and left the floor show, and with that, our Pezamania 24 adventure was over.
I always leave Pezamania so grateful to have experienced it, to have seen so many Pez friends and to have seen- and bought- so many new Pez that I wouldn't get anywhere else. This year was no different in that regard. I had a great time. But I also had the added thrill this year of bringing my girlfriend. Through her, it brought me back to the craziness of those first few years of attending Pezamania, of never quite knowing what was coming next. (To an extent, that feeling is always there.) Plus, we always go on such great adventures together, and it was nice to add Pezamania to our ever expanding list. I got the chance to introduce her to so many of my Pez friends, many of whom had been wanting to meet her for years, and treated her with such kindness and warmth when they met her.
As for my haul? As usual, I left Pezamania with much more Pez than I went there with (even though I unloaded- pardon the pun- plenty of stuff at the Thursday swap party). This included the final two Eerie Spectres and other vintage pieces, lots of newer Disney stuff, some more promo trucks, and much more.
Here is a picture of most of my new additions. Note that this doesn't include some sets that I needed to repurchase due to being damaged last year. If I were to include those sets, I don't think I'd be able to fit them all in this picture!
Thanks again, Pezamania, for a wonderful time. See you next year for Pezamania 25!
Enjoy Pez, but please do so responsibly.