2013 BATB Convention Report
by Brenda and Jackie

We arrived in Independence, OH during the afternoon of Tuesday, July 9th. The staff at the Holiday Inn could not have been more friendly or accommodating. We were able to check in immediately upon arrival and were provided the refrigerator we requested. The bell hop was kind enough to help us unload and even made not one but two trips to and from our car to the room. In addition to our luggage, we had two boxes of banquet candles, props and costumes for the talent show, food and beverages for the room parties and necessities for the three Club sponsored panels. For dinner, we ate at the Winking Lizard, a bar and grille that we would frequent quite often in the week ahead for the lively atmosphere, tasty food and inexpensive prices. Brewzer, the rescued iguana, who occupied an enclosed area near the restaurant entrance, was also entertaining whether napping or high fiving diners as they arrived or departed.

The following day (Wednesday, July 10th), we helped the members of the con committee unload numerous boxes and unpack a multitude of items for both the art and dealers rooms. We also had the opportunity to meet and greet other Club members upon their arrival, interact with extended family members we had not seen for two or more years and introduce ourselves to folks who have now become everlasting friends. The day concluded with a group of us dining at the Winking Lizard and then adjourning to the hotel bar for an unofficial welcome reception.

On Thursday, July 11th, we joined approximately 50+ extended family members and friends on a bus tour of Cleveland, OH. The highlight of the tour was the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. Built in 1894 and designed by Cleveland architect Levi Scofield, the Monument honors more than 9,000 residents of Cuyahoga County who participated in the Civil War. Exterior statuaries depict battle scenes of the Navy, Artillery, Infantry and Cavalry. Interior reliefs feature women from the Northern Ohio Relief Society on the home front and as nurses; Ohio’s wartime leaders including two future U.S. presidents; Abraham Lincoln removing the shackles of slavery; and Lincoln’s last meeting with his generals Grant, Sherman and others at City Point, Virginia near the war’s end. Our con chair, Laura Goist, was also able to arrange a tour (typically reserved for those touring the monument on Halloween) of the tunnels underneath the monument. It was not difficult to envision Vincent, Father, Mouse and others making their way along the pathways and through the doorways of this underground historical treasure.

The city tour ended with a scenic lunch cruise along the riverbank to the mouth of Lake Erie. Although it had rained for 16 straight days prior to our tour, the weather this day was picture perfect and we were able to get some wonderful photos of the Cleveland skyline. The cruise was made extra special by our tablemates, Andrea, Carole, Gonda, Margrit, Pat and Sandy. We truly enjoyed their company and are overjoyed that they are now official members of CHSBB.

The night ended with the Club’s traditional pre-con dinner which was held this year at the Outback Steakhouse followed by get togethers in the hotel lobby bar and Club sponsored room party. We were joined by Teresa, a con virgin and avid Elvis fan, and now a member of CHSBB as well.

Friday, July 12th was the official start of the 2013 BATB Convention. The day began with a continental breakfast followed by opening ceremonies and the welcoming of the convention virgins. The remainder of the morning featured such panels as What’s in a Name, Future Con Announcement and a presentation by personnel from the Sojourner House, the designated charity for the 2013 BATB convention. David Greenlee, who played the character of Mouse on the Beauty and the Beast television show, also spoke for about 45 minutes to an hour on Friday morning. In the afternoon, H.A.T./CHSBB member Judy Loyd held her first of three Beast Bingo panels in which all proceeds raised went to the Sojourner House. On the same day, Club member Jackie Hunt held Catherine and Vincent’s Bridal Shower with assistance from Brenda, Helene and Melissa. H.A.T./CHSBB member Karen Quattlebaum also conducted a canvass panel. The remainder of the day consisted of a tunnel togs panel, the costume parade and talent show and dangly bits game. CHSBB rocked Cleveland during the talent show by presenting Friday Night at the Cavern Club featuring the Beatles with Vincent (aka Lisa Gould) as Ringo. Dinner in the hotel was followed by a Club sponsored room party.

On the morning of Saturday, July 13th, Jackie led the Catherine Chandler Baby Shower panel. Other panels included Two Truths and a Lie, Crystal Rose Lending Library, Beast Bingo, Beauty and the Beast Bracelets, Tunnel Family Feud and 3rd Season Discussion. The banquet was held during the evening hours followed by the charity auction. Laura was complimentary of this year’s CHSBB banquet candles saying that they were the best she has ever seen! We also had a very entertaining table with Pat regaling us with the story of Sven, Ollie and the goldfish and Andrea’s disappearing dessert.

Sunday, July 14th began with brunch followed by the art auction. Multiple items sold for in excess of $100 resulting in numerous belly bumps between CHSBB member and incomparable auctioneer Deb Fowler as well as the Club’s own Joann Baca. Hoping for the same results next year, JoAnn and Deb are going into belly bump training. Other panels scheduled for Sunday included Word Collage with Karen Q., Geocaching and Beast Bingo as well as Dirty Minds by our El Presidente. The con officially ended with the closing ceremonies welcoming the now former con virgins into the circle and the passing of the candle to next year’s con committee. The Club’s post con dinner was held at the Winking Lizard followed by time spent in the con hospitality suite.

On Monday, July 15th we along with 40 or more of our closest friends and family visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. We spent the majority of our time viewing the Elvis and Beatles displays. We also took time to look around the gift shop, tour the Johnny Cash tour bus and walk the waterfront area to take pictures of the Cleveland Science Museum, the Firemen’s Memorial and the Browns’ football stadium. In the evening, we, along with Helene and several of our new members, including Linda, Karen and Pat, had dinner with Eleasha Gamble, daughter of our late Club member Claretta Gamble, who was in Cleveland appearing in Disney’s The Lion King. We had dinner at The Melt, a restaurant featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Thrus and Dives.

On Tuesday, July 16th, we along with other con goers toured the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, the former home of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company co-founder F.A. Seiberling, his wife Gertrude and their family. We were greeted in the Carriage House which once served as the stable and garage for the Estate. Today, this building is used for shopping and refreshments. Our visit included a tour of the Manor House, the Gate Lodge, Corbin Conservatory and the 70 acres of landscaped grounds and formal gardens. Highlights of the Manor tour included the Music Room, the West Porch, the Library, the Great Hall, the Breakfast Room and the indoor swimming pool (aka the Plunge). While touring the Manor grounds, we were impressed by the Corbin Conservatory/Butterfly Exhibition, the English, Japanese and Rose Gardens, Birch Tree Alley Vista, the Grape Arbor and the Dell.

In the evening, we along with Helene, Linda and Karen went to the Hard Rock Café in downtown Cleveland for dinner. On Wednesday, July 17th we departed for home. Along the way, we stopped at the United 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA. The memorial consists of a marble wall on which the names of the 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93 are engraved. There are future plans for a Field of Honor, featuring 40 memorial groves, a Tower of Voices with 40 wind chimes, a Flight Path Walkway and Visitor Center. Now home, we are slowly returning to our normal routines and looking forward to the Club year ahead and the 2014 Beauty and the Beast convention. We hope to see as many of our readers there as possible.

Be Well!!! Be Happy!!!

Jackie and Brenda

re-posted with permission from the August newsletter of the Chesapeake Helper's Society for Beauty and the Beast