Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Funday: It's Toonfest Time!

Once a year, for the last decade or so, one or more of us have trundled our belongings together, packed up, and headed for the place where every REAL Disney fan knows the magic really came from.

We're not talking about the Magic Kingdom. That's just up the road from our Florida offices, and we can go there, with a discount, any time we feel like it.

No, the REAL House of Mouse, where the world's most well-known cartoon mouse came to life in the mind of a young man, is in the small town of Marceline, Missouri, the boyhood home of cartooning legend Walt Disney - and Disney's Hometown Toonfest.

We're proud that Paul Fell Cartoons and the North Central Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) have been such strong promoters of this event over the last 13 years - and if you're anywhere in near Missouri (or if you can catch a great discount flight to K.C. or St Louis) we highly recommend you join us this weekend.

Some fantastic cartoonists will be there this year, including Lee Judge, whose work you've probably seen in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Playboy, Washington Monthly or National Review. Bill Whitehead, a longtime humor writer for Hallmark Cards, and the weekly editorial cartoonist for the Kansas City Business Journal (for twenty years), will also be at Toonfest.

Jeff Keane - the inspiration for the legendary Jeffy from The Family Circus cartoons will be running around Marceline too - though we're not going to follow him around with a dotted line, like in the cartoon. The second- generation cartoonist and current creator of The Family Circus, is also a two-time former President of the NCS, and a long- time colleague of Paul's.

Finally, as far as the official guests go, Glenn McCoy, one of our own North Central Chapter members, one half of The Flying McCoys, and one of the most versatile cartoonists we know (and are proud to know), will also be in Marceline to help us celebrate the life of Walt Disney (and maybe pick up the bar tab this time).

We love autumn, and we love the Toonfest too. While it's mostly a festival for the town and the north central region of Missouri, there are people that come from all over the world to enjoy the Toonfest.

The festival focuses a great deal on exposing kids to the depth and history of Walt Disney, beyond the hyper-commercialized image most of us are used to seeing. It's a wonderful event, filled with cartoon artwork and fun.

For us, it's a way to celebrate the coming of autumn, a chance to catch up with old friends, and meet some new ones, as well as a chance for us to see the work of great cartoonists we're proud to share our broader media field with. If you ever get the chance to go, we highly recommend it.

We hope that, whatever you do this weekend, you get a chance to revel in the camaraderie, commiseration, companionship, and contentment that can only be found in the company of good friends.

If good food and fine beverages are a part of that? Even better.

Enjoy your weekend.

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