We arrived at the Kirkley Hotel on Thursday night. .Friday we had a lovely luncheon where Reen Christa Bula gave a wonderful speech. We met David Doremus and Lisa Harrison. Jon Walmsley and Lisa’s daughter Brighton is also in attendance.For dinner bunch of us went out to the Logan’s Steakhouse for some fellowship.
Saturday we attended the autograph session at the hotel. I purchased 3 of Teen’s books “The Perfect Girl” for Christmas presents and got everyone’s autograph (I remember buying on elast year but have misplaced it!). Next we drove up to the mountain and we stopped by the Rockfish Post Office and took some pictures. Then we headed to Schuyler for a lovely Luncheon at the old Schuyler Hospital which is now the residence of Isis Ringrose. After we walked to the museum and I renewed my membership and visited Ike Godsey’s Store and purchased a fleece Walton Museum vest. On to the Baptist Church for some singing with Lisa Harrison and Carolyn’s son. Next we stopped at the shed, which is a store now, and made some purchases. Then we gathered at the Walton Hamner House for a group picture and tour. I purchased a beautiful throw of the house with the Walton Truck in front.
The banquet was a lot of fun! There were over 150 in attendance! We celebrated Carolyn Grinnell’s 80th birthday and mourned the end of the Walton’s International Fan Club. David Harper called and we listened to him. Carolyn was presented with a Thank you from the governors of Virginia and North Carolina and even President Jimmy Carter! Someone sent Carolyn one of Earl’s Emmy awards. There was a question and answer period with the stars. Carolyn asked them what they felt was the reason The Walton’s lasted so long? They answered that it was about family and faith and there was a magic to it. Reen’s favorite episode was “the Journey.”
Carolyn’s dream is to go to Paris. There was a Christmas Tree set up where everyone left birthday cards with donations toward her dream. Carole Johnson, owner of the Walton Hamner House, donated a throw which was raffled off and $481 was raised to give to Carolyn.
There were video presentations of past reunions which were enjoyable. Carolyn did bring a bunch of her personal Walton collection to auction off but there wasn’t enough time to hold it. However, the auction was held the next morning where I won a Walton Christmas CD and the script, "The Shivaree."
Candy Knappenberger made a beautiful cake with pictures from Fan club members surrounding it. It was so lovely!
Sunday was attnded a breakfast get-together. We heard a wonderful sermon from Reen Christa Bula! Christopher Grinnel sang old hymns accompanied by Garland on the piano.
Even though the WIFC is ending. Carolyn announced that she will have a website and there will be a group called “Forever Friends” continue her traditional reunions of fans gathering together. I am not sure if there will be actors and actresses from the show in attendance but I hope so. She also announced that Isis Ringrose will continue her annual luncheons but it will be called the Carolyn Grinnell luncheon.
Carole Johnson, owner of the Walton Hamner House announced that she has booked the Kirkley Hotel for the third weekend in October of 2019. There will be an event at the Walton Museum and the hotel. More information to come.