There are two ceremonies at Toonfest. The first happens after the parade when each of the honored guests are presented with a plaque which holds a small piece of Walt Disney's "dreaming tree". A large cottonwood, this is the tree under which, as a child, Disney would sit with his younger sister Ruth and daydream. Since Walt made his fortune turning those daydreams into entertainment for the world, his place of inspiration holds a special significance.
Each plaque has a photo of Walt and his brother Roy at the dreaming tree holding a piece of the bark as well as an actual piece of the tree and some words of appreciation.
Past and present honored guests of Toonfest. From left to right: Dr. Robin Allan, Guy Gilchrist, Stan Goldberg, John Hambrock, Marcus Hamilton, Shirley Schmidt, Paul Fell, Albert Schmidt, Mike Edholm, Tom Thornton, and Ken Alvine.
Dr. Robin Allan author of "Walt Disney and Europe"
John Hambrock of The Brilliant Mind Of Edison Lee
John Read - publisher of Stay Tooned and Curator of "One Fine Sunday in The Funny Pages".
Guy Gilchrest of Today's Dogg and Nancy
Marcus Hamilton of Dennis The Menace
Stan Goldberg of Archie Comics
"Marcus the Menace"
I don't know who said what but it must have been hilarious!
Later that night there was another ceremony at the dreaming tree. There were some speeches, including one by "Young Walt" (Colby Sims) and "Young Ruth"(Sarah Kussman).
Each guest was inducted into the "order of planteers" complete with hard hat fitted with Mickey Mouse ears.
They were then escorted down to an arboretum where they each planted a tree in honor of the dreaming tree.
Cindy Thornton played the pipes for the occasion.
Planting the tree (a willow) with a little help from daughter Kate.
Finally, it was time to sign Walt's barn. The original barn has not survived but a replica has been built in it's place. It is supposed to be a place, like the dreaming tree, for reflection and inspiration.
John signing the barn.
Kate is now also officially a "planteer"
There was one more signing ceremony the next day. Debbie Foster has a room in the Uptown with a wall devoted to the famous cartoonists who have stayed there.
John signs the wall.
It's a little hard to see but some of the other signatures on the wall are: Jim Borgman (Zits) Pete Doctor (Monster's Inc), Chris Browne (Hagar the Horrible) Jay Jackson (Little Mermaid) Michael Jantze (The Norm) Tom Wilson (Ziggy) and Tom Baxter (Figment)
As Kris is hoping to work at pixar someday, he thought he'd try tracing some pixar characters. (Settle down - he didn't really!)
Marcus Hamilton's contribution from this weekend.
Another wall - here we have: Jan Eliot (Stone Soup) Dan Piraro (Bizarro) and Greg Evens (Luann) (My apologies to the others - I can't read them and I can't remember them!)
And the inimitable Dan Piraro a little closer up.
Finally, Mark Fiore (Editorial Cartoonist) and Dave Mowder (Hallmark Cards)
Next installment: The Disney museum and the One Fine Sunday Exhibit.