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Nancy Drew Sleuthsí 5th Annual Convention Highlights

Wed. Oct. 12:

What makes Nancy Drew so popular for so long? This question was pondered by reporter Jaime Rose from the Arizona Republic who visited with Sleuth Jenn Fisher for quite a long time about the Sleuths and Jennís collection and the planned convention activities. A photographer took photos.

Would-be gumshoes met up at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Mesa, AZ for dinner at 7:30 sharp--at the Redstone Restaurant and Lounge. With dinner, drinks, and delightful conversation on the menu, there was an air of mystery as Sleuths rekindled friendships and met new friends. Attending were: Amanda, Dean, Garrett, Carol, Janet, Will, Jenn, Vicki & Liz, Janee & Lindsay, Jamiee, Maxine, Patricia, Bob, Patrick, and Maria, Gary & Kimberly.

Plans were laid out for the week's events and Jaimee took notes for her article and interviewed some members. On the way out of the restaurant, some members spied a woman reading The Secret at Shadow Ranch--it was Joanna who had just arrived. Some members hung out in the lobby to visit late.

Thurs. Oct. 13:

4:00am came early--the news was to arrive for a live feed to the station at Jennís house. All went wellĖsome members were up early to watch from the hotel.

"Saddle Up Everybody!" Well, nearly all of the Sleuths were planning to ride in search of treasure at the Goldfield Ghost Town in Apache Junction as a tie into Shadow Ranch. With a treasure to hunt on their minds, everyone gathered in the hotel lobby to be transported back in time to an authentic 1800's ghost town. Members attending were all of the above who attended dinner the previous night minus Will with the additions of Jennís mom Linda and Sleuth member Jennifer Shaw.

Goody bags were passed out which included a write up of the Dirk Valentine legend and a clues booklet to be used in the treasure hunt.

The famed Superstition Mountains loomed in the distance as the Sleuths drove to Apache Junction. While it wasn't "150 miles of the hottest thirstiest ride" like in Shadow Ranch, they did stop in at a museum dedicated to the mysterious Lost Dutchman Mine. They even had maps purporting to show the location of The Lost Dutchman Mine!

Once the tenderfoots arrived at Goldfield they headed to the livery to saddle up. Riding in an old-time carriage were Jean, Dean, Garrett, Bob, Patrick, Maria, Patricia, Janee, and Lindsay along with the driver and horse Easter. A rickety carriage it was, though it held together just fine. Everyone else was on horseback and they all met up after a short scenic trip at a mine where an eccentric geologist spun a few yarns about the Lost Dutchman Mine. From an "antique" green bottle, Jean pulled a slip of paper out and read a bit about Dirk Valentine and his treasure as well as his last letter to his love Frances and a clue to the location of his treasure. Back at the ghost town, everyone began their day of adventure at Goldfield. Joanna was the first to complete her clues book. The object was to find 5 numbered stickers to place in the clues book based upon five clues to each location--located within the ghost town. Her prize which was awarded at the party the next night was a sterling silver horse pin and sterling silver horse charm. Consolation prizes given out to Joanna and everyone else were little gold hearts, part of Dirk's booty.

Some of the Sleuths ate lunch at Miner's grill and some favorites included chicken sandwiches, chicken fried steak sandwiches, and burgers. Sarsaparilla and lemonade were especially tasty. They even indulged at the ice cream shop. Some took a tour of the mine which was dark and creepy, cool and musty, and very dusty! Their tour guide was quite a character relating stories of mining and of the old times. Other attractions do to in the town were panning for gold, a reptile exhibit, train rides, shopping, and old-time photos.

The afternoon was spent antiquing including Zany Shaw's Junk Shop--seriously--it was Zany Shaw's Junk Shop! Back for dinner at the steakhouse/saloon at Goldfield, they enjoyed a western dinner: steak, baked potato, beans, salad, rolls, and drinks. A mysterious goody bag was passed around down to Jenn with what appeared to be a fake snake inside. Dumped out upon the table, though, it was revealed to be a real snake--though recently deceased. It further turned out to be a baby rattlesnake which a man at the bar wanted very much. Back at the hotel, Garrett treated everyone with a trivia contest--part one.

Fri. Oct. 14:

All Aboard! Sleuths gathered at the hotel for a day tour of sites in Phoenix--mostly book hunting which included Bookmans where purchases were made and then a visit was made to Book Gallery. They had a great selection of various series books--most in dust jackets. Meredith arrived from the airport to join the group and everyone headed to Scottsdale to Old Town--an area with lots of Indian/western type of shops and gift stores and restaurants. After shopping they traveled to the Heard Museum, famous for its Indian art including a huge Kachina Doll collection.

The evening party was set up at Jennís parentís houseĖthe lower level was decorated in 3 themes: Nancy Drew room, The Old Attic room, and the Kachina fiesta area. In the living room was Jennís collection set up around the room. Across the way in the formal dining room, it was a Halloween/Nancy Drew theme: The Secret in the Old Attic was the theme complete with cobwebs, spiders, and Fipp March's skeleton and Bushy Trott's Secret Formula. Halloween Sleuth goody bags were given out as a treat to those attending.

The den/kitchen/patio area was set up with the fiesta theme with lights and lanterns. The pool was lit up and the waterfall was running in the background. A table in the entry way had books on ghost towns, Kachinas, and Canyon De Chelly (Stolen Relic), plus the Kachina Doll goody bags.

Guests arrived including everyone previously mentioned plus Sleuths Lea and Vicki and her husband Norm arrived. Some came dressed as characters from the books--Joanna was Nancy from Kachina Doll cover and Garrett came as a debonair Carson Drew in a tux. Snacks were laid out including: chips, salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, green chile dip, and chile con queso. Drinks were available as people milled around and visited. Soon, dinner was served out on the patio--red chile enchiladas, fajitas with all the trimmings, and pinto beans. After dinner, fine chocolate cake was served.

The Sleuths began the treasure clue search to find a Kachina Doll gift, everyone had to find the gift located behind an object. The name of the object was written on a puzzle which had to be put together by members. Once put together, it revealed the word to be Kachina. So, members searched for the treasure behind a Kachina which turned out to be a painting, behind which was an Indian basket holding books of authentic Kachina doll stickers. Then, everyone was asked to write down on a piece of paper the name of the person responsible for Big Jake Harris's death in Kachina Doll. A drawing was done later on and Liz was the winner of the Sun face Kachina doll that was on display--one of the Kachinas in the mural in the book. Also on display was a Cloud Kachina doll--the ghost from the book.

Everyone took group pictures in front of the collection and also in front of a banner used in NYC in June of Nancy's silhouette on the stairway. Sleuths also viewed the news interview from Thursday. Garrett did his second round of trivia.

Sat. Oct. 15:

The Arizona Republic Nancy Drew article came out. Sleuths took books for their Bring a Book for Charity drive for Phoenix Children's hospital. There were a lot of locals that came to the convention. Many had seen the paper and some had driven over 4 hours just to come to the convention, so it was impressive! Joining the Sleuths today were collector Joe who had a table of books and Renee Walker, author of The Dark Side of River Heights.

Renee spoke first about translating the Japanese Shadow Ranch and then a project she is working on about women who are named Nancy Drew and their thoughts about their famous name. It was really neat. Then Garrett spoke about Nancy Drew and had Janet and Carol reading passages from the books which was a nice touch. After lunch, Jean spoke about Shadow Ranch--original/revised and the behind the scenes information from the archives at the NYPL and then the floor was opened up for discussion about all things Nancy Drew. After a refreshment break, Dean did a little humor piece and then did some Sleuth trivia. The convention concluded with a life-size version of the 1950s Nancy Drew board game where players were the playing pieces and worked with a partner to play the game. Two rounds were played with four teams in each round. Prizes were given to winners and door prizes were given out throughout the day including some nice Nancy Drew items donated by Chronicle Books.

Dinner was at a local Gilbert hangout, Joe's Real BBQĖit was a fun and lively place. Fare ranged from ribs to BBQ sandwiches to BBQ plates and all the trimmings. Back at the hotel the Sleuths held their gift exchange and Garrett's last round of trivia where Carol had the most tickets and received a prize and a fun trophy addition from Zany Shaw's Junk Shop. The 2006 convention will be held in either Chicago or Hollywood.

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