Packed at the Made in Montana Trade Show

Finally settled in at our new home in Southern Montana. What do we decide to do with our very first free weekend? We wander into the Lewis and Clark Fairgrounds in Helena just in time to experience our very first Made in Montana Trade Show.  As we walked towards the main hall we were immediately met by a line that quickly began to wrap around the building.  Thankfully, there wasn’t much of a wait as we were all huddled together in 30 degree weather as it slowly warmed up and the snow was quickly melting all around us.  More than 6,000 consumers were in attendance for this years event.

“I’ve been to this trade show for the past two years and there has never been a crowd like this.  I guess it’s a good thing.  They’re getting more attention,” said a woman standing behind me in line as she waited with her husband.

Once meeting the main entrance we were greeted by a list of the more than 150 businesses in attendance for the Made in Montana Trade Show this year.  The organization supports thousands of local businesses that specialize in goods made in Montana.  They are proud of the fact that the products that are made here are also sold everywhere and that 40% of the revenue that is produced comes from out of state distribution.  Something could be found for everyone at this years show.

Along with the many businesses that specialize in home grown and manufactured produce were hand crafted art work, apparel and jewelry, and so much more.  Tastings could be found in every isle.  Accompanied by a crowd of patient natives simply waiting for a sample.  Each delectable bite had a flavor all its own.  Perfect for accompaniments with your favorite local beverage or speciality food.  Here are just some of the many options we encountered:

Raw honey and natural hand crafted products made from beautiful bee’s housed at Hindu Hillbilly Farms & Rivulet Apiaries in Missoula, Montana. Co-founder, Kavita Bay, featured holding a bar of soap.  www.hinduhillbilly.com

Hindu Hillbilly Rivulet Apiaries specializes in making raw honey, skin care products, oils, soaps and scrubs, and beeswax luminaries.  As the bee’s housed in this Missoula apiary thrive on knapweed, clovers and wildflowers, four different types of raw Montana honey were on display and available for tasting from this fantastic vendor.  My favorite of this unfiltered, unheated glob of goodness was the Osha Elderberry.  It was a smooth taste with a subtle sweet flavor that you could enjoy with anything.  I would definitely enjoy it in some tea or even on top of some vanilla ice cream.

You wouldn’t believe my excitement when I found these distributors:

Mr. Rick & Mrs. Deb Wheaton of Gluten-Free Prairie. Offering non-gmo all natural products and recipes for the health wise clean eaters. www.GlutenFreePrairie.com

As a newly discovered wheat intolerant individual, finding gluten free options in Montana have been a little challenging.  this family owned business has put it all together to make gluten-free all natural non-gmo eating easier!  There are cook books, recipes, ingredients and ready made merchandise directly from Gluten-Free Prairie.  Apparently this vendor was a returning favorite!  People were swarming to their booth to pick up products they have already come to love and were talking about how excited they were to see the company here again and how much they love the cookies!  You can actually follow Deb’s gluten-free friendly blog at www.notevenacrumb.com for tips on adapting to a gluten-free lifestyle.

Changing things up a little bit.  We found this BBQ sauce among various others at the trade show, but what really stood out for its flavor is the sweet traditional flavor that goes well with pulled pork or even fish.  As we were tasting the sauce on crackers with cheese I stopped to realize that this sauce would be truly delectable as a sauce alternative for pizza!  The sweet bbq taste would be the perfect base for a bbq chicken pizza with loaded toppings of any fancy.  I know for some it might be blasphemous, but I have to say it!  This would even be awesome with a pineapple topped pizza!

Pauline’s Rocky Mountain Premium Barbecue Sauce is available in various grocery stores around the state and online in various sizes.  Originally located in Drummond, Montana.  In this picture the star of the recipe is working hard feeding the desires of the crowd.

People were swarming for samples of this old time favorite.  The company has been in operation for decades.  Sells the one product that has never changed its recipe.  Apparently when you get it done right the first time its best to keep it as it is.  Pauline’s is a one woman show and she’s been doing quite well for herself.

Now, everyone laughed when I found this next vendor.  Roots Kitchen and Cannery was covered with wholesome jarred produce that is healthy, and not only tastes good but soothes the soul.  On display were jams and pickled veggies.  So I immediately saw the beets and had to ask, “So do these taste like dirt?  No matter how anyone makes beets they still taste like dirt.”

My husband answered behind me, “Yes, that earthy taste is one that could be lacking in the desire department.”

The vendor quickly chuckled and told me, “Absolutely not.  These are quite delicious,” and insisted I try them.  He wasn’t kidding!  No earthy flavor or after taste!  They were actually quite good.  I could totally see myself enjoying them as a snack.  The vendor offered recipes to use with the products they had on display for cooking various meats, using their products as side dishes, or even adding them to sandwiches for a twist in the traditional.

Co-owner, Patrick Burr, showing off the beets I am shockingly in favor of. Handmade sauces, pickles and preserves. Located in Bozeman, Montana. Specializing in creating harmony with agriculture and consumption. www.rootskitchencannery.com

I have yet to see anyone beat these beets!  Very happy I found them and will be looking forward to continuing my patronage with them.

On the sweeter side, we found Pine Mountain Candies covered in chocolates and caramels.  These chocolaty deserts are are creatively named for unique characteristics identifiable with Montana life.  We found the candy to be a bit pricey, but we didn’t know what we were missing as we didn’t get to try any of them.  Apparently the company is doing very well!  They’ve survived 25 years and distribute to various places across the country.

Pine Mountain Candies from Missoula, Montana. Creative Montana emulated confectionaries.  www.pinemountaincandies.com

The candies can be purchased in jars and boxes for gifts and bulk sized orders.  If anything, the creative names of the chocolates is what stands out the most with this company: Huckleberry Grande’s, The Black Country Baar, The Walleye Baar, The Old Goat Baar and so much more.

If you’re looking for sweets but don’t want to be tempted by all the guilt that comes with those empty calories you can always imagine you’re delighting in decadence with Shannon’s Country Bumpkins candles instead.  They’re shaped like flavorful deserts, jarred, and offered as decorative decor for the home.  Maybe the look and smell will suffice for that sweet tooth?

Country Bumpkins Home, Health, Bath and Beauty products hand made by Shannon Brown Derudder from Bridger, Montana.

Maybe not… but she has made the largest mason jar candles I’ve ever seen!  Some of her inventory come with wooden wicks.  The candles are soy based and safe.  All hand made and absolutely adorable.  Add in their collection of beauty and bath supplies and you’ve made yourself an at home spa.  Very cute supply.

She wasn’t the only vendor with such products.  There were at least two others that had bath bombs shaped like cupcakes and cake pieces; soaps; lotions and more.  All hand crafted and made with love.

Here’s another larger vendor that I found selling toiletries that had a bit of a humorous twist to them:

Dayspa Body Basics has a little bit of something for everyone in their allergy free apothecary. www.dayspabodybasics.com

And then there’s the spicy.  There were lots of options for people that want a little spice in their lives.  Our new found favorite of the hot sauce infusions is Arthur Wayne Hot Sauce.  Their small batches of sauce made from all natural ingredients and locally grown peppers (where possible) had amazing flavors in every bottle.  It’s not only about the heat.  The mixture of herbs and sauce with the peppers give each type of sauce they sell a distinct flavor that meets any hot sauce lovers taste buds.  I’m more of a milder gal myself and the Mango Habanero was as far as I would go, but the Spicy Tomatillo had great flavor and would go fantastically with any grilled red meats.  My husband went home with the XXX Carolina Reaper Haba Haba “Dime” Sauce, which was the most hot sauce they were offering at the trade show, and their new flavor.

There is also a Huckleberry Ghost and Scorpion Pineapple flavored hot sauce that we have yet to try.  As the names of the sauces get more eerie the Scoville units apparently do as well.  Thankfully, unlike many other sauces that prioritize the heat, they do not sacrifice taste.

Another tasty treet that is sold primarily as a beverage, can also be used for marinading meats: Parker’s Hangover Tonic was originally intended to be the answer to finding the best bloody mary mix.  It started as a small idea that quickly became a large project and has been thriving since 2010.

Founder, Amy, of Parker’s Hangover Tonic Caesar Drink Mix is intended to be added with vodka and tomato or clamato juice to create that perfect bloody mary flavor without adding anything more. www.parkershangovertonic.com 

The ingredients for this blend basically make up a flavorful horseradish hot sauce that can be used for more than just bloody mary’s.  Definitely not as health conscious.  Worth the cheater moment.

Tired of food?  I know it seems like a lot of a little things all over the place.  So much more cool stuff to show off!

I, of course, am particular partial to the artists and there surely was not a shortage of talented individuals showing off their work.  John Ashley is a fellow photographer specializing in the fine arts and hails from Kila, Montana.  I loved his images of animals in their natural habitats and the vibrant colors he maintains in his photographic style.  In respect for his photographic work I did not take a picture of the booth, so instead please visit his official web page to admire his pieces at www.JohnAshleyFineArt.com

Jeff and Heather Kempka of Salvage Signs Rustic Wood Art from Hamilton, Montana. www.salvagesigns.etsy.com

I had managed to catch Jeff and Heather off guard as they were trying to take a snack break through all the bodies trying to make their way into their unique booth that displayed their many custom made signs that are created from recycled up wood and given new life as home decor.  The beauty in the aged wood makes all the difference.  Each piece has an antique distressed look that adds to the rustic wilderness feel.  Their signs and silhouette’s bring the outdoors home.

Talk about sporting wood; this guy’s got some beauties.

Owner and craftsman, Eric Winegart of Missoula, Montana for The Growler Girdle. Specializing in handmade growlers, bottle cases, growler carriers and accessories. www.thegrowlergirdle.com

I immediately fell in love with his wine box that he is holding up in the picture as part of his display for the Made in Montana Trade Show.  Lined with red velvet, the boxes are custom designed for gifts and hand crafted from various types of wood that the company gets from a local supplier just three miles from their workshop.  Many options are offered for wood types, all stained for a natural look.  These growler girdles are brilliant: they protect the growlers, keep the beer fresher a little bit longer because they aren’t as exposed to light through the glass, and have an awesome look to them.  I’m half tempted to see if they work for river/lake floating and help the bottles float along with the rafts…  Too expensive of a challenge.  Wouldn’t want to ruin the hand craftsmanship.  Eric, if you’re reading this, please consider that for a new product option?  Maybe the markets already been taken.

Another amazing craftsman, Michael Meissner, works with wood and various other mixed media for displaying his print work and custom artwork.

Artist, Michael Meissner of Glendive, Montana creates various types of art with wood. Visit www.michaelmeissnerart.com for a full list of items.

 

Along with Meissner’s carved wood is his collection of prints that have been sold around the globe.  They focus on the surreal, landscapes, wildlife and more.

These electric guitars are taken apart for the whittled detail and then put back together.  Michael carves through both sides of the pieces and leaves subtle surprises in each piece.  We were also admiring the many hiking staffs that were on display in his collection.  The staffs made from populous wood were my favorite.  Light weight, soft, yet strong.

Sharon Wald was also present as a vendor for the Made in Montana Trade Show.  Featuring her mixed media art work that displayed her prints in hand crafted frames that use nature for a three dimensional effect with her drawings of local wildlife.  Her series is called “Making Tracks.”

Sharon Wald of Kalispell, Montana, with her series, Making Tracks. Specializing in sculptured scratchboard art prints. www.makingtracksinmontana.com

Stepping away from the traditional art, we found an amazing group of women who work with glass.  Mary Harris is another artist that works with mixed media to create home decor that is both large and small: from lighting, to coffee tables and more.

Mary Harris of Harris Art Glass of Helena, Montana. www.harrisartglass.com

 

Lynn Knight of Designs by Knight glass art.

Sharing her booth with friends of similar talents, Mary was featuring pieces by Lynn Knight alongside her work (who is holding a votive candle holder that she enjoys making with her spare time).  Lynn also makes larger pieces of similar design for chandeliers and light fixtures.  As Lynn said, “The glow of the light makes all the difference.”  Regardless, every piece from each of these ladies is hand made and custom designed.  These quick pic’s don’t do them justice.  They’re absolutely gorgeous in person.

Now, for the story teller:

Stories by James P. Sticka of Bigfork, Montana. Featuring his latest childrens book, “Jacob and the Giant.” www.stickastories.com

Jacob has made quite an impact on the young readers of today.  Mr. James Sticka let us know that his readers truly admire his book so much that they often send him thank you cards for writing his book.  As we left his booth he was quickly greeted by a young lady who looked to be about 9 years old.  She quickly told James how much she admired his story and asked for an autograph, which James happily obliged.  Jacob goes on an unexpected adventure through the woods  as he attempts to escape the clutches of a giant in this first book that Sticka intends to expand into three novels, according to his promotional page.

Unlike most other writers, James has committed to contributing all of his profits to children’s charities throughout the United States should the book do well in publication.  Children were the inspiration for writing the story and he feels that they deserve the benefit in his appreciation for their spirit.  The book is recommended for ages 3 and up.  It is an easy read and very well detailed.  Illustrations by Shane Morgan.  Truly an old fashioned bedtime story that stirs together simple life, before the industrial revolution, with the Hans Christian Anderson type of fairytale theme.  Though, that might not be fairly stated, since the internet documents history of giants existing before the settlement of Europeans in the U.S. as Native Americans drove them from this land and remains of their large bones were all that was left to be found.  Maybe this truly can be considered an original western-american fairytale as it was passed down from generation to generation.  James is very eager to receive feedback from others.  Visit his website and tell him what you think of his story.

If anything, this book is about taking on a new adventure.  What better way to have an adventure than to go exploring through the wilderness that surrounds us everyday.  Hike734 was among the groups promoting their detailed hiking guides at the trade show Saturday.

For guides on hiking Yellowstone, Zion, and various other national parks and recreational areas throughout the country, Jake’s website is definitely one worth visiting.  He explained to a guest that he hikes through specific trails, taking detailed notes and pictures, and publishes the information a year later for other people to take the opportunity to experience the trails as well.  His best selling hiking books have detailed maps and information for the traveler to take advantage of as they are exploring through the wild.  His attention to detail was what got me most.

Not last, and not least, we found this Medicine Springs Mineral Therapy company sporting red long johns at the end of one of the isle-ways telling people how to take baths.

Brandon and Julie of Medicine Springs. “Harnessing the Geothermal Healing Powers of Mother Nature.” www.medicinesprings.com 

The Medicine Springs team established their bath salt combinations with the specific intent to naturally help people suffering from specific pains and conditions that can be soothed and helped through proven treatments from various natural hot springs that were said to have healing properties around the world.  This water was tested for chemical aspects that have proven to help the body heal and implemented in the creation of the products displayed.

Joint Therapy, Skin, and Sport

Brandon and Julie had a rolling bath on display for people to rest their hands in to see wha the product can do for consumers.  Brilliant idea.  Bring the hot springs home.

Finally, saving the best for last, as a new member to the community I just discovered the Helena Industries non-profit organization at one of the booths at the Made in Montana event.  This organization offers vocational rehabilitation and employment services for improving the growth of individuals with special needs.  The organization has been in operation in Montana since 1970 and maintains its headquarters in Helena, Montana.  Products provided by the organization include wood work, textiles, mailings and other tasks that are intended to help businesses with custom solutions for their service needs.

Featuring custom made pallets. Visit HelenaIndustries.org for more options on services.

All in all, this trade show was definitely a lot of fun!  From the looks of this years turn out it is very likely that the venue may need a bigger space to satisfy the demand for next year.  With more than 6,000 people in attendance this year and only a fraction of the vendors available for display this event could continue to boom in popularity in the short time between each annual show.  Looking forward to what next year has to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

KAABOO is a great close to summer

Pictures taken from KAABOO Del Mar 2016

Pictures taken from KAABOO Del Mar 2016

KAABOO has taken over the Del Mar Fairgrounds to host over a hundred musical artists from all over the world. With artists traveling from all across the globe to be included in this festival lineup, more than 40,000 attendees were present the weekend’s fantastic food, fun, leisure, and a variety of entertainment.

Octopus dish that was sheer perfection by CA'MOMI

Octopus dish that was sheer perfection by CA’MOMI

All the way from Napa Valley to participate in the Palate Chef's competition.

All the way from Napa Valley to participate in the Palate Chef’s competition.

As KABOO looks to feature new and upcoming talent, they have worked together with GigTown of San Diego to host this years ‘Discovery Tour’ which allowed for local artists to show off their talents in hopes of becoming a part of this extensive lineup of amazing talent. For next year’s tryouts, keep an eye on the scheduled events at https://www.kaaboodelmar.com/discovery-tour/ to take your opportunity in sharing your talents for 2017s big event.

Sunset Cliffs Stage crowd for Third Eye Blind.

Sunset Cliffs Stage crowd for Third Eye Blind.

Every ticket sold for KABOO provides a donation of $1 to the events KINDNESS program: a charitable giving program that contributes the proceeds to local organizations that are designed to help our local communities in San Diego County. This years organizations include the San Diego County Surfrider Foundation, Voices for Children, San Diego Music Foundation, and The Armed Services YMCA. Other causes towards helping our community will be contributing to the festivities of the weekend.

Almost Monday rocking out on stage.

Almost Monday rocking out on stage.

The evenings crowd for GooGoo Dolls.

The evenings crowd for GooGoo Dolls.

Aerosmith Saturday Nigh.  Steven Tyler doesn't seem to ever change.

Aerosmith Saturday Nigh. Steven Tyler doesn’t seem to ever change.

KABOO is in support of taking environmental responsibility and nurturing sustainability. With that, they contribute all food that is not consumed at the event to local food banks, offer recycling bins during the event weekend, offer numerous transportation alternatives for attending the venue and more.

Full Moon view from Del Mar Fairgrounds at KAABOO 2016.

Full Moon view from Del Mar Fairgrounds at KAABOO 2016.

Shameful advertising using Veterans

For years now, Veterans have been sick and tired of companies using them as key factors in their advertising strategies. It has been voiced in various platforms that primarily promote scam jobs. Veterans now have to be warned where to properly search for work as a civilian, not like transitioning from service isn’t complicated enough. http://www.onedayonejob.com/jobs/the-landers-group/

As a Veteran, I spoke up about an advertising for Solar companies hiring Veterans. They fail to mention that they’re strictly commission based companies that can pay well if you make a sale but pay only based on sales commissions. It can take years to truly be making a steady income within these types of companies and most Veterans have dependents and tend to function as a team or as the sole provider for a minimum of a 4 person household or more. Younger Veterans take advantage of their GI Bills and go to college or enroll in specialty schools if they haven’t already made other plans, but the likelihood of that Veteran who needs a job being able to support their families isn’t going to easily coming from something like this.

Solar companies work within specific boundaries to offer government incentives and a buyer has to be able to purchase in full or finance over time. Government incentives and tax breaks only apply within a certain amount of cost that is paid in full. Granted the employee just has to sell, regardless of how a consumer pays, but because of these “limitations” people that consider solar don’t necessarily choose to purchase. Especially if their homes are in need of additional repair in order to accommodate the installation of solar panels on their property.

The advertisement doesn’t say anything of course:

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Great job telling a disabled veteran who happens to be a photojournalist that they're psycho.  With nothing better to say in order to defend your reasoning for using veterans as a means for advertising your business model.

Great job telling a disabled veteran who happens to be a photojournalist that they’re psycho. With nothing better to say in order to defend your reasoning for using veterans as a means for advertising your business model.  Original url for advertisement: http://www1.solar-energy-today.com/solar/index-veteran.html?lp=veteran&note=Anssen_CA_vethug01&sxid=9t0lchu6k9p8

I contemplated forwarding this story to Readers Digest in order to get more opinions from active duty and veteran readers about how they feel about being used as pawns for promoting businesses that claim to help the economy but actually thrive on poor labor strategies.  No benefits are given to employees in sales; very few jobs exist within the corporate level to receive benefits and full time pay… the list goes on.

Part time employment increases does not improve the economy.  It just leaves the average American with no choice but to work harder in multiple jobs in order to survive in an economy that continuously has rising costs while minimum wage is kept low and the average wage doesn’t necessarily amount to the average cost of living per region: https://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/

 

 

Stone and Glass of Escondido

James Stone and Carol Rogers of Escondido's Stone and Glass.

James Stone and Carol Rogers of Escondido’s Stone and Glass.

James Stone has been a business owner in Escondido for two years now and has done a great deal to help influence positive change within the community through arts education, public awareness and group interaction. Because of this, the Escondido Times-Advocate has chosen to feature the business for its contribution to local community and in education. Stone and Glass has begun working directly with San Diego Coastkeepers to incorporate the arts with fundraising to help support and create public awareness for Coastal Cleanup Day, Ocean Conservancy, animal cruelty and endangerment.

Glass jewelry pieces by James Stone as they're still being shaped and cut.

Glass jewelry pieces by James Stone as they’re still being shaped and cut.

 

Molding glass on a Saturday morning for a private order.

Molding glass on a Saturday morning for a private order.

Along with helping to create public awareness for endangerment of our ecosystem and the near extinction of numerous species throughout the seven seas, Stone and Glass has their gallery open to the public from 1 to 6 pm Thursdays through Sundays at 1285 Simpson Way, Escondido, CA 92029. General public are invited to join James and his assistants in taking part in regularly scheduled classes that are geared to accommodate varying experience levels and age ranges. From nine to 90-years old, Stone and Glass has taught people of all walks of life to create custom blown glass pieces. Classes are now available for seasonal pieces that allow guests to create glass pumpkins or ghosts, possibly even make the glow-in-the-dark, or ornamental balls for the holidays that are all a one-of-a-kind. Even create your own custom glassware, have a private party, or take lessons one-on-one. For official information about the company and its endeavors visit http://stoneandglass.com/
For more information about what Stone and Glass has to offer San Diego County look for the featured article in the Escondido Times-Advocate this September. Printed versions of the newspaper can be picked up from various locations around Escondido and Valley Center, like Mike’s BBQ and Country Junction Deli. Articles can also be found online at http://www.times-advocate.com. For more information about San Diego Coastal Cleanup visit http://www.oceanconservancy.org.
James Stone has been working as a professional glass blower for more than 15-years now and continues to evolve as an artist. Teaching is all a part of the experience. Having the hands-on opportunity while lecturing on technique, style, creative methods and arts inspirations, Stone’s courses have truly inspired and motivated patrons to return to his classes for more and more opportunities to participate in his creative process and combine it with their own. Stay tuned for many great things from Stone and Glass as James Stone takes his business to the next level in the coming months.

Comikaze 2016 is well underway

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It’s that time of year again! Comikaze 2016 is open for purchasing tickets and planning your stay for the Los Angeles Convention Center. This years event will take place October 28-30. You can click the following link to purchase: https://www.showclix.com/event/comikaze2016
Since the event has continued to grow over the past five years, there are more rooms in the convention center that the Stan Lee expo covers! Last year was quite a whirl wind when trying to get across the building to be present in time for whatever special event or panel you want to get to, so be prepared, wear good walking shoes, have lots of snacks hidden in your travel bag and be prepared for fit bit overloads as you’re guaranteed to walk miles if you’re as into this pop culture event as we are!
The past two years have proven to make Comikaze an amazing place to take your kids out for Halloween.  Fitting right in with all the cosplay wandering through the convention center all weekend long.  Stay tuned for the list of special events that take place. Like previous events, lots of cast members are present for autographs, lots of artists and once in a lifetime autograph opportunities. People stood in line for hours for last years autographs. Visit http://comikazeexpo.com/ for more information.

 

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Highlights of Stan Lee's Comikaze 2014 by Anne S. Hall of Syrenia Imagery.

Highlights of Stan Lee’s Comikaze 2014 by Anne S. Hall of Syrenia Imagery.

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Highlight images from Comikaze 2015 by Anne S. Hall and William Walbourne of Syrenia Imagery

Highlight images from Comikaze 2015 by Anne S. Hall and William Walbourne of Syrenia Imagery

 

The Romantics hits Harrahs Resort and Casino in Valley Center

Image provided by Glass Onyon PR

Image provided by Glass Onyon Public Relations

Mike Skill, Wally Palmer, Rich Cole and Brad Elvis will be touring together through 2017 to help promote their new album released this June from K-Tel Records, “Up From the Rubble.” They will be performing with Rick Springfield and Loverboy at Harrah’s Resort and Casino in Vally Center on Sunday, July 17, at 7 PM, for their hot Night of Flashback Favorites. Tickets start at $45. For details of my exclusive interview with the lead singer, visit http://www.times-advocate.com/ or pick up a printed copy July 12.

For more information about the band and tour dates, visit http://www.romanticsdetroit.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/romatnicsdetroit

I found a fun video of the bands official interview for American Bandstand with Dick Clark on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfLUTkf9myw

 

4 Color Fantasies celebrates 10 year anniversary

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Regal Cinema’s Edwards Theater in Ontario CA

Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War is a great way to start off the celebrations for 4 Color Fantasies festivities as their annual free comic book day continues to wow and draw crowds in from all over the west coast.  Not only will they be celebrating their growing popularity, but this years event marks the comic shops 10 year anniversary in Rancho Cucamonga.  4 Color Fantasies owners, Chris Brady and Nat Leamwongnukul, have the only premier night packages that allow comic fans to view their favorite characters on the big screen for a set price that allows them to receive customized t-shirts featuring local artists, fandom art on patch work for every movie hosted, goodie bags and more.

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Not only has 4 Color Fantasies been growing in fame from the great deals they offer in store, along with the space for customers to interact and play table card games and such at their store location, but they help to support local artists as they contribute to the events that these guys host throughout the year.  People have come from San Diego, Arizona, and Nevada to attend these special events.  Some learning about the store and its popularity through mass media and others just being lucky enough to accompany family and friends.

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This free comic book day, visit 4 Color Fantasies and help them to celebrate their 10 year anniversary in style at 8045 Archibald Avenue,
Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Be prepared to stand in line a while as there is a lot that is offered throughout the day and the crowd steadily organizes through the artist booths and shop to browse, network, and purchase items.  Food is always available.  But if they ever run out, there is an awesome Chinese place in the same parking lot, along with a yogurt shop that is worth giving a try at least once.  I can definitely say that various San Diego residents have made the trip just to experience the 4 Color Fantasies highly acclaimed Free Comic Book Day festivities and have not been disappointed.

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This years festivities will feature a costume contest where attendees decide who wins.  All participants will be collecting tickets from people attending the event and whoever has the most at the end of the day can win from one of the two categories: 13 and up or 12 years old and younger.  Every year a blood drive is held at the venue.  Featured artists for the day include Kenneth Rocaford (artist), Whilce Portacio (artist and co-founder of Image Comics), Danny Miki (artist), Dean White (colorist), Mick Gray (Eisner Award winning inker), Mat Nastos (artist and writer), John Narcomey (writer and artist), Jimmy Purcell (artist and writer), James Ninness (writer), Luis Escobar (writer), Dean Rulan (illustrator and co-creator of LET IT BURN), Jay and Chris Salce (together artist-writer and co-creators of BloodRed), Justin White (artist), Danie Whitfield (artist), AJ Herrera and Geo Brawn (just about a do it all kind of guys), Patrick Scullin (Illustrator), Gavin Andazola (writer and creator of The Stone Legacy).  Theres so much more to do and see.  If you’re really into comics definitely plan on being there more than an hour!

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