Thursday, September 13, 2012

Of Banquets and Boredom

Some people really, really, really get into banquets. Those are usually the people planning the banquets. The people attending are there for the free food and a chance to win one of the used centerpieces. Ok, maybe that's overstating it; some people don't even care about the centerpieces... But honestly, you probably won't go to many banquets that make you think, "That was the most fun I've had in a long time!"

Unless... the entertainment/activities are very well chosen. For example, we had the privilege to boost the fun factor at an international student banquet, earlier this year. The Grinnin' Booth was open during the time folks were waiting for the food to be served, and then when they were waiting for the awards and speeches, and then for a little while when it was time for folks to say good bye to each other (some for the last time--so sad). So, who needs a little cheering up? Well, just stick out your chin and grin and, oh look!

I think some folks were testing us to see if there was a limit to how many times they could come back, but we let 'em come until it was time to pack up. And, as usual, we try to give everybody in the room a chance, including the folks there to serve. After all, wouldn't you want a chance in the booth, if you were serving? Sure you would. Just like these folks.

Clearly, they needed the break...

So, maybe next time you have to go to a banquet, you can look forward to it. I know you will, if the Grinnin' Booth is going to be there. And when it's over, you'll probably be thinking, "That was the most fun I've had in a long time!"

Where else can you have food, and, if you're lucky, a fun time in the Grinnin' Booth, and there's brides and grooms, but it's not a wedding? How about a bridal fair? Yeah, maybe that's what we'll talk about next time, since we'll be at the Central Virginia Bridal Guide's Bridal Showcase at the Kirkley Hotel in Lynchburg, this weekend. So, we'll share some highlights from that. Until then...

Keep Grinnin'

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reunions: Make New Memories

Reunions can be a miserable time to remember why you've avoided your old classmates/relatives for all these years, or to have a sick satisfaction in seeing the cheerleaders get old and the athletes lose their touch. But at their best, they give us a chance to forget the disagreements and tensions, and only remember good times and share only the funny stories. And, of course, to make new memories. Ah. And that's where the Grinnin' Booth comes in.

Cameras as cameras, as well as cell phone features, are ubiquitous, these days. Today's reunion would probably have more cameras than people. It's good to be able to get pictures with the folks you have missed. In fact, even the ones you didn't miss might look a bit better in the softer light (and softer vision) of time and age. It's good to have those pictures. But we find something else: it's good to make the pictures. By that, I mean that the experience of the photo is special. It's actually a memory, as well. Of course, if it's a photobooth picture, with props, the experience is loaded with fun. And I do mean loaded.

We had the privilege of taking part in a multi-year reunion in which the oldest class had graduated 70 years earlier. Three members of the class actually made it to the reunion. The three of them had not been together in all those years, and what a joy they had, seeing each other again. But there were lots of other classes there, getting together after so long. There were roommates who were seeing each other for the first time in 10, 20, 30, 40 years!

Some of the folks wanted to fit their entire class in the booth. Fortunately, we can fit quite a few, and also, the largest class that wanted to do that was only about 14 people. So, we did it! We had some rowdy groups, and some that were just quietly happy to be together. We even had an incident where yours truly photobombed...

Family reunions are special, too, with all of the potential drama and joy as a school reunion, plus shared DNA and multiple generations... While we were setting up the booth, folks got started before the backdrop even went up... Well, not a great background in the pictures, but a blast, nonetheless.

That's just the way people act on a hot and muggy night... when the Grinnin' Booth is there. Otherwise, they would've been sitting back, complaining about the weather, and how bored they are... You know the drill. Good thing we were there to save the party.

So, are there other parties needing a hand? How about banquets. They can be fun. Or completely not. We'll have to explore, next time. Until then,

Keep Grinnin'