Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Tonner Salute To Gone With The Wind


Yesterday, I attended my first ever doll event: A Tonner Salute To Gone With The Wind. I am not really a Gone With The Wind fan, but I am a doll fan (obviously), and since this event was in Atlanta, it was close enough for me to drive. I enlisted one of my best friends, Henny, to attend, because I didn't want to go alone. She also happens to be a huge GWTW fan, so it wasn't too difficult to convince her. Naturally, my ulterior motive is to hook her into the world of doll collecting, so we'll see how this all pans out.

Since this was my first event ever, I didn't really know what to expect. I'm going to lay everything out here, the good, the bad, and the ugly, so that if you, like me, are planning on attending a Tonner event, you can know a little more about what to expect, in terms of the event itself and costs associated with the event.

The Hotel

The event was held in the JW Marriott in Atlanta (Buckhead), and we did drive down the night before so we wouldn't feel rushed the next morning. Henny's father in law works for Marriott so we did get a little bit of a discount (about $20) on the room. The hotel itself was gorgeous, and it was one of the cleanest hotels I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. We ordered room service for breakfast (a continental) because we wanted to get ready and eat breakfast in a leisurely manner. The total cost for the room plus the room service was $126.44.

Registration began at 9:30, and we went to register around that time. There was a very nice spread of pastries and beverages available for attendees. Of course, we had already had our fill with our breakfast, but it was a nice touch, and definitely something I'll remember for the next event before I consider room service. When we registered, we got a hand stamp.

This was also when the opportunity to buy raffle tickets presented itself. I bought 50 raffle tickets for $35. 25 raffle tickets were $25, and there were bigger price breaks the more tickets you bought, just to give you an idea. I'll talk more about the raffle in a bit though, as I would like to go in chronological order. After registration, everyone was mingling and waiting on the sales room to open. There were no lines, just everyone meeting and greeting. The ladies did finally open the doors, and we walked through the main event area into the sales room. 

The Sales Room
There was not a lot of competition to get into the sales room. There were plenty of dolls to go around (I don't think this event sold out, I felt like we were a small group, maybe 80-100 people maximum). The event exclusive dolls were immediately to the right, across from the cash register when we walked into the room. There were 3 event exclusive dolls: Over the Top? Ellowyne doll, Lost Honeymoon Scarlett Doll, and Shame Scarlett doll. I grabbed an Ellowyne and a Lost Honeymoon doll, but the Shame dolls seemed to already be sold out. How could that I be? I was one of the first in the room...more on that later. Since we were in the sales room early, I was able to check out with ease. The Ellowyne doll was $165, and the Scarlett doll was $225. With sales tax, the total cost came to $421.20. Ouch. What follows are some pics from the sales room.

That sales room is a bit dangerous. I had never been a fan of Evangeline before, but seeing her in person really piqued my interested. I think I will probably buy one in a few months. She is really stunning in person.
The Lost Honeymoon Scarlett was also the centerpiece of the tables
Gorgeous Ellowyne

She has the prettiest coloring.

Meeting Robert Tonner
We were among the first folks to check out in the sales room, so we had a quite a bit of down time afterwards. We had gone to pick our table and stood by our chairs talking, people watching, etc. We chose a table in the back, and we were the only two people at our table at that time. About the time I had organized my purchases underneath my chair, Robert Tonner walked over to us and started chatting. The 3 of us chatted for about 10 minutes, and he is such a nice person. I didn't really expect to get to talk to him much other than a "Hey, how are you, could you sign my doll" kind of situation, but it wasn't like that at all. We didn't even talk about dolls, we just had a normal conversation about life, what we do, and business in general. It was really nice and I was so happy to be able to have that experience and to meet him, and to be able to have a normal conversation (not about dolls). He even teased us a little about maybe having a convention in Atlanta, they were so impressed with the hotel. He also let us take this selfie:
Henny, Robert Tonner, and Me

The Raffle
After he walked away, I decided to choose my raffle dolls. I was trying to wait until everyone had put their tickets in so I could see which dolls had the least amount of tickets. I put 25 tickets into Golden Gothess Evangeline, about 20 tickets into a Parnilla doll, and the last 5 into some random bags. The drawing was held later in the program, and very sadly, I did not win anything. This was actually very disappointing for me as I felt sure I would win, since I had put 25 tickets in one bag. I think that was a bit of naivety from me, because I'm sure other people bought a lot more raffle tickets. Two gentlemen in the audience won raffle drawings twice. You want to be happy for them, but well, you know...Anyway, I'm sure I would buy raffle tickets again. The anticipation of waiting to hear your name called is so exciting. I think next time I will spread my tickets out and put at least one in each bag so that I still have a chance up to the end.

The raffle dolls

More raffle dolls

Not a winner :(

The Luncheon
The lunch was served buffet style, and we were dismissed table by table to serve ourselves. The food was excellent, and much better than I expected. On the buffet were the following: mixed green salad, shredded carrots, red wine vinaigrette dressing, tomatoes, tomato and cucumber salad, shrimp and pasta salad, marinated tomato and mozzarella salad, spiced collard greens, green bean almondine, sweet potato hash, baked chicken with a mushroom gravy, bbq pulled pork with a Georgia peach sauce, Parmesan crusted trout, mini pecan pies, peach melba, and a triple chocolate mousse. Man, was that lunch good.
My plate

Mini pecan pie

A nice surprise: a choice of red or white wine

Gettin' crunk at the doll event

The Event Presentation
While everyone was wrapping up lunch, the presentation began. First to speak was a lady whose mother was Margaret Mitchell's first cousin. She brought a few things that personally belonged to Margaret Mitchell, and they were on display (now that I'm thinking about it, this lady may have actually spoken to us before lunch, but I considered her part of the presentation). 
A Madame Alexander Scarlett doll, belonging to Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell's perfume jar and powder jar, plus some GWTW memorabilia
The display

Next to speak was a local Atlanta historian and writer for the Atlanta Constitution. She gave us some interesting stories about Margaret Mitchell, and invited everyone to come visit The Margaret Mitchell house, where she gives tours on Tuesdays and Fridays. She also gave our her email address, and told everyone to email her if we were going to be visiting, and she would make sure she was there. It was interesting and informative, and probably more so for Henny who is a GWTW buff. Next, RT did a short presentation about the GWTW dolls that they have done, and told us that they will continue to make them because the line does very well. He also said they were "scraping the bottom of the barrel" on dresses, so they were making a lot of costumes that had been created as prototypes but never actually used in the movie. The Lost Honeymoon doll and souvenir doll are both lost costumes.

The Door Prizes
Once the presentation was complete, it was time for door prizes! We were told to number off at our table. At our table, there was one other couple that was together, and then a lady we met who was also a newbie that we invited to sit with us. We had three empty chairs at our table, so we numbered off. For the empty chairs, we gave each couple another number, and the lady by herself also got another number. So really, we all had more than one chance to win. Note to self: always sit at the back for optimum chances at winning. The tables were all numbered. The way the door prizes were awarded was RT would pull a person number, and then he would pull a table number. They gave away quite a few door prizes, and one of the guys at our table won a doll, but not us sadly. At this point I wasn't totally disappointed because I still had the raffle to come (see above for the sad ending to that tale), but I thought it was so exciting to have the door prizes. That's something I would definitely look forward to at another event.  

The Souvenirs
At the table itself, we had a small table gift, which was a cute little ceramic Scarlett bell.

The table gift

The teaser all along about the souvenir doll had been that she would be featured in a dress from the movie, but in an original color that was rejected from film. And we weren't disappointed:

Shame Doll (Duh--of course she wasn't sold out)

One Last Surprise
Just when we thought it was over, they revealed one last surprise. They had brought the factory sale to us! My blood pressure shot up as I looked over at the bags of dolls they were unloading onto the table behind us. RT drew 3 people numbers, and those people could go to the table first. They had 2 minutes to make their selections, time was called, and then the next 3 people numbers were called. I got in on the 2nd round at the table, but with only 2 minutes to decide, it was so hard! I ended up with a Disney Small World doll for $20.
The factory sale dolls are all bagged like this and priced.

By the time I was finished checking out, everyone had a chance to have their turn at the table, and so it was open and you could just browse with less pressure. On my second round, I picked up a Prudence for $65, and a Cami and Jon for $35 each.
My Prudence

Some sample items they had and their prices were: Glinda for $80, several Lizettes and Prudences for $65 (I wanted a Lizette but they went too fast so I didn't get one), lots of Tonner Models who I don't recognize were $60, Rufus for $70, some male dolls I didn't recognize for $50-$60, Viktor Krum for $70. I was a little sour about the pile of Viktor Krums there, since I paid full price for mine way back when. One lady scored an Ellowyne wig for $10. 

I could have gone totally nuts on that table, but I didn't, thank goodness. I got home and totaled my bill:
Registration: $225
Raffle Tickets: $35
Event Exclusives: $421.20
Factory Sales: $167.40
Hotel: $126.44
Parking: $12 (Tonner validated our parking but it only covered the hours we were in the show)
Total Cost: $987.04

Wow. Not for the faint of heart. I will definitely have to let some other dolls go to make room for the new ones (and recoup some money). The surprise factory sale took me by, well, surprise. Overall, I loved my experience. It was expensive, yes, but less expensive than travelling to one farther away. The most important thing is I had a great time, with a great friend, doing something I love. In fact, the entire Tonner staff is so friendly, you feel like you're there with lots of great friends. I will definitely be attending other Tonner events in my future. If you've never been, and you've been considering it, I'd say go for it, but keep in mind you need to be financially prepared.


  1. We met, as one Tonnerite said, "the David Bowie of the doll world". Rock on!!

  2. I enjoyed your article very much - almost felt like I was there! Thank you!

  3. Enjoyed your blog of the event. I was there and I love how you summed everything up so nicely. Great job!

  4. Thanks for all the comments guys! I'm glad you enjoyed my synopsis of the event :)