Welcome to Page 2...  Day One! - Page 2  (Friday, May 25th, 2007)

After we spent some time at the Birthplace, talked to Melinda, spent time at the gift shop, checked out the fairgrounds, called Wayne, then we decided it was time to check into out hotel and get ready for the first big event of the weekend, the VIP Dinner.  From Winterset we traveled north on Hwy. 169 and picked up I-80 at Exit 110, then traveled East on I-80 until Exit 121 where we got off and found our resrot for the weeekend, the
Marriott Hotels & Resorts West Des Moines
.   It wasn't more than 35 - 40 miles and a nice drive.

Since this was sort of a birthday present for me we decided to stay at a nice place, out of the way and away from the other tourists around for the weekend.  We did find out that some of the Wayne family and a couple of Wayne Enterprise employees were staying at the same hotel so that was nice.  We sure picked a nice place... look at these digs:

Marriott West Des Moines
Marriott King Guest Rooms

We unpacked and rested for a bit and then got ready for the big VIP Dinner out at the Stoney Creek Inn up in North Des Moines or what they called Johnston, Iowa.

Pretty nice place, almost wished we would have stayed here but it was another half an hour away but may be an idea for when we go for the dedication of the new museum.  This place had several conference rooms/banquet halls and our VIP Dinner was held in the largest room, it seated about 275 people and we packed it to capacity.  When we drove up we were greated by a beautiful and fitting group of individuals.

Top Hands Rodeo Drill Team and Chief Iron Tail
Chief Iron Tail

The VIP Dinner was a fantastic event.  It was held like I mentioned above at the Stoney Creek Inn in one of it's ballrooms that seated around 275 people.  I saw maybe one or two seats open.  They were sold out when we got there but fortunately I ordered our invititations early.  The kickoff event started with a Social/Cocktail Hour at 6:00 p.m.  We mingled with the other people, tried to meet some of the family and co-stars and when we were sent to our tables they had left us a surprise.  A gift sack for each of us.

VIP Invitation
VIP Dinner Gift

There were 8 seated at each table and once our table was full we started chatting and wondering where everyone was from, we also were given a couple drink tickets.  I got up and took a few pictures of the room.  It was fairly big but it was definitely full.  We even had some social entertainment.  Carin Mari and Pony Express who were named the 2006 Youth Entertainers of the Year.  They are lead by Carin a 16 year old National Yodeling Champion, along with her 17 and 12 year old brothers, Colin & Evan.  They have played everywhere from Colorado to South Dakota and are scheduled to play in Texas and Utah later this year.  Many times they are the lead off group for Michael Martin Murphey who also had a concert at this celebration.

Just Being Seated
Carin Mari &
Pony Express

Head Tables

To continue with the evening events we were served a great meal, we had to choose between a Grilled Iowa Chop or Chicken Cordon Bleu.  The chop was over 1" thick, then you can see the rest of the menu on the invitation.  After the dinner we had a little time to mingle and we were able to meet 2 of the co-stars and another big name in Hollywood.  We got autographs from all the co-stars and even some pictures as you can see below.  I will have to say, my wife did this trip for me and my birthday but when we went up to get the autographs they always grabbed her to take the picture with except for Ed.