Anchorage, Alaska
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Ruth Buerkle, one of our newest members shares her thoughts about this adventure. Read her story below!

Cruising In Alaska
by Ruth Buerkle

Special Thanks to
Peggy & Jan of NCC!

Arctic 56 Welcomes NCC

On June 28, 2002 at Alaska Pacific University's Atwood Center, the club hosted its first ever event by welcoming 55 members of NCC affiliated clubs located throughout the United States. As part of the National Council of 56 Clubs 10th Anniversary celebration cruise to Alaska, the Arctic 56 Club went all out hosting a dinner reception that represented a taste of club life in Alaska with an Americana theme. Close to 80 people attended with a strong representation from Arctic 56 as well as the NCC president Peggy Culler-Hair and NCC Vice-President Jan Cooke.

Prior to the event, the club spent months planning and preparing for activities in order to ensure that club members would be able to pull the event together quickly on the final day. Rosemary and Dale-Ann, food committee chairs, co-ordinated the club catered food items for both the appetizer and desserts table. They organized early in the day with help from Evagene and Linda Teninty to prepare all of the hot dishes needed for the appetizer table.

Sean Monico in meantime with help from Shannon, Kathy and Bev started the day organizing the the setup preparations for later in the afternoon. Over 32 table floral arrangements, two large floral displays and one guest table arrangement had to be created before setup could take place. Sean and Shannon met earlier in the day to purchase over 220 red & white carnations from the wholesale flower market to supply the event with enough flowers for all the arrangements. Shannon even had to make a second run for extra greenery! But once Bev and Kathy had arrived things were well at hand and a complete assembly line was in place in Sean's garage!

Later in the afternoon, setup began at approximately 3:30 pm at the Atwood Center. The day's weather turned out to be perfect with sunny skies and the temperature in the low 70's. Other club members gathered at the university to help with the venue setup. Peg & Whiz started on the display table setup with Gale Weatherell assisting in the placement of the village display planned near the food tables. Village buildings representing nearly every collection were lined around a banquet table all themed in red, white & blue with a multitude of fresh red carnation floral displays. The top of the display was then capped off with a splash of Americana in the form of a huge floral display with white calla lilies, blue delphiniums and red carnations. All club members helped putting the final touches onto the display for guests to enjoy.

Next, twelve guest table tables needed to decorated to add to the overall theme. Blue felt squares with punch-out stars, starlight mints and metallic star garland accent the all red carnation table floral diplays. A special Christmas ornament gift provided by NCC and Department 56 also placed at each guest place setting along with a special program that outlined the evening's activities. Kathy, Peg and others helped to set up the tables while Sean and Bev prepared the dessert and appetizer tables for a beautiful food display. Rosemary and Dale-Ann soon arrived and the rest of the food tables became complete with an array of uniquely Alaskan dishes as well as a selection of desserts from club members heritages and favorites. Poached Salmon, artichoke dips and meatballs were definite favorites! (Check out the recipes!)

As with the Providence setup, Arctic 56 club members blitzed the Atwood in a record 2 and a half hours to complete the final touches for all the planned decorations, food tables and more! Teamwork in the true spirit was very evident throughout the afternoon, as club members pitched in to take care of what ever needed attention. With all things set, the club was ready!

Just shortly thereafter, the chartered coach arrived with 55 NCC guests from all around the country. Club members greeted people as they entered the complex to welcome them personnally while the sun shined brightly and the water fountain added a summer time ambience. Once guests entered the center, they were given a special nametag stamped with an Alaskan moose and proceeded to the appetizer line. Once all guests had registered and had a chance to enjoy the social hour, the Alaskan Halibut buffet dinner was served.

At approximately 8:00 pm, Sean Monico, club president, began the formal presentations by officially welcoming all of the guests to Alaska. He spoke briefly about the club and introduced the currently elected board members before chatting with the group about how their afternoon tour had gone. NCC club members reacted positively with lots of smiles and expressions of enjoyment on their faces. Next, Sean then opened the program with a brief talk about the film, "One Village, One People" which was to provide NCC guests with a restrospective view on what club life is like in Alaska. The film started with a segment that displayed how a village comes to life in four minutes set to classical music followed by club member interviews and restrospects on various club projects. The film then displayed a collage of various club members villages and activities with a humourous perspective that showed fun and liveliness of club life. It concluded with the usual credits and humorous outtakes of the Arctic 56 club members being filmed. The film was well received and a true highlight for all during the evening.

Next, Dale-Ann unveiled the new Arctic 56 club pin that was officially released during the evening. She explained the logo concept and design to all there. Following the unveiling of the club pin, Lynette and Kathy then presented the official door prizes. Arctic 56 offered to guests a Denali Wildflower handbook, a D56 mug, Kings Cross Dickens accessory, club logo shirt & pin, the Elf Spa North Pole building and the Palms Supper Club Snow Village building. Village products were generously donated by Bell's Nursery & Gifts and club members. All NCC guests were given a number with their respective name tags and the winning numbers were drawn at random. The club logo shirt and pin were among those items which drew particular interest! Lynette concluded that no one will go home emptied handed, as the Arctic 56 club had made a goodie bag available for all guests. Included in the bag, each guest was to receive an Arctic 56 logo pin!

The evening concluded with closing remarks by Sean Monico, thanking everyone involved during the preparations and also to the NCC for co-sponsoring the event. Peggy Culler-Hair, NCC president, then stood up to address the group by asking all Arctic 56 club members to stand for a round of applause. She tearfully thanked Arctic 56 for their efforts and expressed on behalf of the NCC that Arctic 56 had created a fantastic and wonderful evening for all.

Copyright 2002, Arctic 56 Collectors Club, Anchorage, Alaska
Last Updated July 4, 2002
Department 56, Copyright, Department 56, Inc., Eden Prairie, Minnesota