Sunday, May 19th marked the final occurrence of TPA’s Spring Nights at Sam’s. In addition, last month’s gathering at Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim marked the end of the first year of monthly fan meets that we launched in 2012. Appropriately, it was also the largest single bunch we’ve ever had to date, with nearly 100 Theme Park Adventure fans and industry folks in attendance.
For over a decade, Theme Park Adventure has hosted various gatherings at locations throughout the Southland; most of them were not very successful at all. Quite honestly, TPA had all but abandoned the idea of in-person gatherings after what we felt was a general lack of interest. Then, along came Trader Sam’s, a Tiki bar unlike we’d ever seen. On a personal level, we fell in love with the fun, quirky bar. In the spring of 2012, we decided to give a fan gathering one more try, with Trader Sam’s the hosting location. People came from far and near, and the event was a success! Due to the growing popularity, Theme Park Adventure held a meet every month with the exception of October 2012, due to the fact that many of our attendees are active haunters and were busy during the season. We are announcing well in advance that TPA will be hosting a TPA Night gathering this coming October knowing that the group will be much smaller than normal, but also understanding that not all of our friends and fans are haunters and wish to still mix and mingle despite it being the Halloween season! Who knows? Maybe as part of this year’s October gathering, TPA will pay a visit to one of the local haunts for a special tour!
The group that gathered at Trader Sam’s last month was a fantastic mix of “regulars” and new faces, which we love! Getting new TPAers to come out (some even by themselves, which is purely badass) is thrilling for us and we are stoked that so many have in the past months; everyone is welcome, and they find that they’re in good company the moment they take that step!
A majority of the people at last month’s meet were very enthusiastic about all of the new additions and changes taking place at Knott’s Berry Farm, especially regarding the massive Timber Mountain Log Ride renovation. Garner Holt and many of his team members were in attendance; they are responsible for most of the new figures in the log ride, and TPAers were able to chat with them in person and show their sincere appreciation for all that their company has contributed to the historic project! And really, that’s what our monthly gatherings have come to be about – fans being able to mingle with players in the themed entertainment industry that actually make these things happen in a free, completely relaxed and social environment. You never know who exactly is going to show up, so it’s always fun to see what the crowd is like from month to month!
In May, we had several special guests, including Garner Holt, Paul Barrie from Window to the Magic podcast, Larry Carr of Abracadaver Productions, John Waite, and Eric Lynxwiler who is now working with Knott’s Berry Farm! Of course, we had tons of haunters representing at the gathering as well, which is always a blast.
As usual, we had a raffle giveaway in May, and it was a biggie! Our biggest ever, actually. TPAer/haunter/Disney Cast Member Austin Young donated a couple horror flicks on DVD, Larry Carr from Abracadaver Productions donated some really cool company T-shirts, and Paul Barrie from Window to the Magic donated many terrific Disney-related DVDs. In celebration of the huge things taking place this summer at Knott’s Berry Farm, our great friends in Buena Park donated two Season Passes – the biggest single giveaway we’ve ever had at a TPA meet! Talk about an incredible trove of gifts! It was awesome fun!
David Markland and Lora Ivanova of ScareLA were on hand to update TPAers on the exciting Halloween convention that is coming to Los Angeles this August. Tickets are now on sale, so if you haven’t bought yours yet, head on over to the event’s website and check it out! Confirmed participants include Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights, Knott’s Halloween Haunt, Garner Holt Productions, Chambers of the Mausoleum, Sinister Pointe, Reign of Terror, Haunted Mansion Haunt, Boot Hill, The Empty Grave, Bone Yard Effects, Jon Autopsy and more! Theme Park Adventure is a cornerstone partner in the convention’s inaugural year, and we know our fans are just as excited as we are to welcome this new event to Southern California!
This month, Theme Park Adventure kicks off its second year of fan gatherings at Trader Sam’s as we begin TPA’s Summer Nights at Sam’s, complete with a brand-new Tiki logo from our dear friend and industry artist Tom “Thor” Thordarson! Mark your calendar – Sunday, June 23rd is the night! We look forward to 12 more months of amazing mixers, gallons of Tiki drinks and loads of laughter as we party the nights away under the torches of Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel!
A special thank you to all who came out and continue to support TPA by attending these gatherings; without all of you, Theme Park Adventure would cease to exist. Also, a huge thanks to the awesome individuals who contributed to our wild raffle mayhem! Last but certainly not least, a huge shout out to the staff of Trader Sam’s, who are always so friendly and so happy to have us there as a group!
Enjoy the pictures and get ready for the next year of TPA Nights at Sam’s – the insanity begins all over again in just a few weeks!
– Rick West