Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pez Convention in Stamford... by Guest Blogger Justin!

A huge thank you to my buddy Justin for composing this wonderful post on a local event I hadn't heard about!
The 11th annual Pez Convention, held yesterday at the Stamford Hilton, probably featured more candy than any place west of Willy Wonka’s factory. The event, which I lovingly dubbed “Stamford Dorkapalooza 2009,” drew hundreds of people, young and old, who couldn’t wait to weed through normal and not-so-normal dispensers.

It wasn’t exactly easy to find. First of all, I’ve lived in Stamford for more than a year, and had absolutely no idea there even was a Hilton in town, as it is past the mall and I’ve never found much of a need to go any further than the mall. Once inside, the convention was tucked away far down the hall on the second floor, with nary a sign to lead the way—and of course, being a guy, I wandered around lost for at least five minutes looking for it before finally asking for help.

This is the first year I’ve made it to the convention—I heard about it last year, but lost track of days and completely forgot to go. But I was excited. Of course, the draw is not the candy itself but the dispensers. My personal collection is both extensive and modest. I have a whole lot—I think I’m in the triple digits at this point—but I don’t have anything rare, or particularly noteworthy. Anyone can get a Miss Piggy dispenser, just about anywhere. It’s worth approximately nothing, which is fine, because you only paid like a buck for it. That’s the fun of pez collecting—it’s easy. They’re not difficult to find, and best of all, cheap. You buy one for a buck this week, and another one for a buck in two weeks.

The convention was set up in a large hall, with about thirty dealers set up throughout the room. I was mostly looking for the weird stuff, not necessarily to buy, but for the sheer amusement of it. I have Homer Simpson, but I certainly don’t have a Daffy Duck from the 70s. Or t-shirts from 1999 conventions in Michigan. Or a German board game with a Charlie Brown dispenser as the game piece.

But, wait, I do now! For $5, I bought a slightly-damaged German board game with a Charlie Brown dispenser…how could I resist? THAT is a conversation starter. Who do you know has something like that? However, most of the weirder stuff was out of my price range. I only gave myself $20 to spend, not counting the $5 admission fee, and most of the great items were far more than that, ranging anywhere from a few bucks to several hundred.

There were old pez—the ones without feet—and new, from the U.S. and around the world (obviously, around the world were far more expensive.) There were loose pez, the opened ones of the easily available dispensers, for sale for 50 cents next to displays of hundreds of rare items.

There were fantasy pez, which are custom-made by private collectors—I liked the four Beatles, but they were $100, so no go. I also really wanted an old Huckleberry Hound, but for $17, not in my future. There were candies in every language known to man in every flavor. All tasty. Except Chocolate. I didn’t see any chocolate pez there, but if you ever see, AVOID, it’s disgusting.

My final haul included my German board game ($5), a dispenser made for Chick-fil-a (couldn’t resist…I love that place…$5), a complete set of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($5), a card from the discontinued pez card game ($1), and a grab bag filled with old holiday pez ($1). I think that’s pretty good. And I will be attending the 12th annual convention…if I remember to.

3 comments:

Chris Preovolos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Preovolos said...

Yeah. I've been before but got freaked out by all the "back room deals" done up in the hotel rooms and the guy with the custom Pez dispenser that bears his resemblance.

BTW: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/19/nyregion/made-in-connecticut-pez-is-in-orange-but-please-don-t-call.html?fta=y

JR said...

Ah, man! I wish I had known about this convention - the wife loves Pez!!