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Thursday, 10 August 2017

USA 2017 - Sasha festival part 1

Years of dreaming, planning and saving was at last paying off as the long awaited trip to the USA had arrived.  We had wanted to attend a Sasha Doll Festival in the USA ever since the 2012 festival in the UK and we had plans to extend the holiday after the 2017 Festival with an epic roadtrip.

There was great excitement and anticipation in the days leading up to our travelling day - a lot of clothes sorting, packing and doll organisation went on and the usual pre-travel nerves.  We set off very early on the Wednesday morning with a taxi to Heathrow airport where we boarded a flight to Dublin.  Just as we were about to board the crew decided to check one of our 2 larger carry on bags into the hold as it was a very full flight, so I did a quick swap around of contents to ensure that none of the dolls went in the hold.
Waiting for our flight at Heathrow
When we got to Dublin the pre-clearance customs checks for the USA went swiftly and smoothly, far better than my long queue experience in November 2014 on my previous visit to Washington DC (for a work conference, when I met Norvell).  Our second flight of the day was delayed a bit by a passenger becoming ill, so their hold baggage had to be unloaded which  meant we later discovered some of our hold luggage got a bit wet as it was raining in Dublin.
Theo and Laura on the flight from Dublin to the USA

Viewing Dulles from the air as we were coming in to land
When we walked out of the air conditioned Washington Dulles airport building late on Wednesday afternoon, the heat hit us!  It was still so warm and we were glad of shelter from the sun as we waited for the hotel shuttle bus to arrive.  Three other Sasha festival attendees got on the bus too.  Soon we had checked in, found our room at the Marriott Hotel Dulles airport and started to see and chat with other Sasha collectors in the lobby restaurant area.  It was so lovely to meet Norvell again and she was happy to take us to her room to collect two parcels she had received on behalf of Lorraine and I. Lorraine had given me permission to unpack her parcel and dress her doll as we couldn't carry the large box home, so her Schoenhut doll joined our newly extended Sasha family on the desk in the hotel room.  My parcel contained a much longed for toddler girl who had been shipped to Norvell just in case the seller couldn't attend the festival (she did, which was wonderful).  My little Iona (who took her time telling me her name, to be revealed in another post) was in her complete original outfit with her tube and tags, so I carefully removed her original clothes and she changed into crop trousers (which were full length on her) and a summer top.  We were tired after all the travelling, so after dinner we soon went to bed.

l-r: Isabel (Makie), Schoenhut girl, Iona, Amy, Edmund, Florence, Theo, Nina, Timothy, Mabel and Laura in our hotel room
The first day of the festival dawned warm.  After breakfast we caught a taxi to the Dulles Shopping Centre to look around.  It was my family's first experience of a USA shopping Mall, if we had walked across the road in the oppressive heat we would have found some of our Sasha friends enjoying lunch together in the Cheesecake factory.  We caught two buses back to the hotel (cheaper than the taxi and fun to explore a bit, though it took longer).

Starring in amazement at a Candy store in the Mall
The festival started in the afternoon with registration and the meet and greet, where cake was provided.  Not only had we brought along more than half of our Sasha family in our flight carry on bags, we had also brought the Ponfa pram we had restored 2 years ago! It was one of 2 prams at the festival, as Dawn had brought one for Anne V.  Florence (in an outfit I made for her), Laura, Timothy, Edmund, my new Iona and Theo came to the meet and greet and we were soon chatting with Julie, who is brilliant at smocking, which delighted my girl who wants to learn how to smock and admires all the smocked dresses she sees.  My husband enjoyed chatting with people about the pram restoration.

Meeting Julie at the Meet and Greet

Cake for Sasha's birthday!

Theo, Florence and Timothy at the Meet and Greet

A group of Gotz and Trendon Sasha's at the Meet and Greet

A glorious gaggle of toddlers and babies at the Meet and Greet - I wonder what mischief they were planning

Sasha dolls, drinks and cake

Ginger's gorgeous Gracie

A lovely studio girl with some Trendon and Gotz Sasha dolls at the Meet and Greet
We had dinner in the hotel restaurant while chatting with Sasha friends, it was such a relaxed and happy way to start our holiday as we looked forward to day 2 of the festival.


Gregor Daddies said...

Sounds like a great time so far. I love the little baby boy with the short spiky hair. Can't wait for the next installment.

Serenata said...

A wonderful first instalment. The excitement as you arrive and the fun that is about to begin is palpable. Lovely to see my girl in her pretty dress. A great experience for you all but especially for your daughter.

twizel said...

Great post, I will remember the Cheesecake factory forever.

Ginger said...

How exciting to share your family's trip to the Sashha Festival and afterwards. Oh, and Gracie sends her love to you and yours. I can hardly wait to read each installment of this special family time. 😊 xxx

jamamy said...

Wonderful first post. Thank you for sharing your experiences and I felt the anticipation building as we got closer to the Festival!

Jane said...

Wonderful! I hope to be able to go to a Sasha Festival/Celebration one of these years :)