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The First North American Ballfest


Ballfest '99

Plainfield, Indiana

July 1999

Lee's Inn

Monday, July 26, 1999  

Hi everyone!

We are finally home, unpacked, trying to catch up on mail, email, etc., and still marveling at how wonderful the First Annual North American Ballfest was!

Merrill and I got to Plainfield, Indiana on July 14th, minutes after Linda Bates (who traveled from the U.K.) checked into the hotel.  It was so wonderful to see her again after nearly a year!  The first thing we did was meet our Ballfest co-hostess Beth Ann (who lives in Plainfield) for dinner.  I want to thank the entire 80 member Ballfest group for keeping our secret for so long...Beth Ann was truly surprised at finally meeting Linda in person! 

Thursday we did a bit of shopping and exploring and soon decided that Plainfield was the truly perfect spot for our Ballfest, and Lee's Inn the greatest meeting place we could imagine!  For Linda, Merrill and I, it was the beginning of a dream come true - a year of planning, dreaming, wishing, praying and hoping.  As the other early arrivals checked in, excitement was mounting, and I think I can safely say that a feeling of joy and love was felt and shared by all.  We had a great dinner at a lovely restaurant and surprised Linda with a dozen pink "Sweetheart" roses, (the closest to "First Love" we could find, and Linda's very first roses!)

In all the excitement,  the photographer (who shall remain nameless,) cut off the top of Linda's head in this photo.

Friday, the rest of our group arrived and were welcomed amid squeals, laughter, hugs and excited babbling!  This was meant to be unstructured time, so the day was spent in a variety of ways - but mostly in sharing Michael stories, photos, memorabilia, shopping, exploring and taking care of of last minute details for the upcoming "Ballfest" itself.  Sharon  distributed packets to everyone - they included our first Ballfest program which contained lots of information, and nametags for everyone - just one of Sharon's projects and contributions to this event. 

Friday turned out to be a memorable day for me when Lora arrived, much to my complete surprise!  Since Lora was an attendee at what later turned out to be the very first Ballfest back on that July 4th 1997 weekend in California, and a Ballfest committee member since the very earliest days, this was an especially happy surprise.  I had no idea that she would be thank you to everyone who was part of this well-kept secret.              

Some of us discovered a few of Plainfield's many great and varied places to eat, including the fabulous "Ritter's" frozen custard; Kojo's a wonderful Japanese restaurant where the food is prepared right at your table; "Dog 'n Suds" a 50s style drive-in complete with car-hops and meals served on trays in your car; and "The Golden Corral" a wonderful buffet where a great array of food is available, all-you-can-eat style lunch for less than $6.00 with real home-style Indiana cooking!  Maintaining our diets was definitely the hardest part of our Ballfest week!

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Then travel to Seattle, Washington

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