and son Nathan show off a couple of Todd's first day covers at the
Holiday Cookies first day ceremony in Minneapolis. Nathan's big brother
Evan snapped the photo.
MINNEAPOLIS, OCT. 20: The United States Postal Service unveiled its
2005 holiday stamps in suburban Minneapolis this morning, at the world
headquarters of General Mills, parent company of Pillsbury.
It was a crisp fall morning, and all festivities were
held outdoors--quite nippy before the ceremony, but comfortable later
when the sun warmed the air. One distinct disadvantage to being
outdoors was the thick layer of dew on nearly every surface, which made
protecting paper collectibles somewhat tricky.
I arrived with my sons Evan and Nathan at about 9:00 am, and promptly
began servicing first day covers. I created six cachets for the event,
all of which received numerous favorable comments from other attendees.
I was surprised by the lack of other cachetmakers on hand; I saw only
two others servicing their own cachets.
After servicing a number of covers, we moved across the lawn for the
ceremony, which was held under a large open-air tent. Warming up the
crowd before things got underway was the Metropolitan Boys Choir of
Minneapolis, which performed a number of Christmas standards. The MC
Jensen of KARE-11 TV. Ms. Jensen, one of the station's
meteorologists, took credit for the beautiful sunny day.
A heartfelt rendition of the National Anthem was delivered by Vonzell
Solomon. Vonzell was an American
Idol finalist this past May, and was formerly a carrier
with the United States Postal Service.
The stamps are
unveiled. Left to right: MC Belinda Jensen, singer Vonzell Solomon,
Pillsbury President Peter Robinson, USPS executive Anita Bizzotto, and
the famous Pillsbury Doughboy.
Peter Robinson, President of Pillsbury USA, welcomed the overflow crowd
to the home of the Pillsbury Doughboy. Mr. Robinson said how pleased
Pillsbury was to be working with the USPS, and told us the
2005 Holiday Mailing Guide from the USPS would soon be delivered to
every household in America. The Doughboy will be featured throughout
the Guide. Mr. Robinson's comments were echoed by Anita Bizzotto, Chief
Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of the Postal Service.
Other honored guests in attendance included Minneapolis Postmaster
Anthony Williams, Becky Vermilyea (cookie designer), Emily
Diffrient-Crumpton (cookie baker) and Sally Andersen-Bruce (cookie
photographer). We learned that approximately 1,000 cookies were baked
in the process of choosing the six that appear on the four stamps. The
actual cookies that appear on the stamps, now four years old, were also
on hand (but not on public display).
After the stamps were unveiled, Vonzell again took the microphone and
gave a stunning performance of Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas is You.
Vonzell moved around the entire tent as she sang, getting up close and
personal with folks throughout the crowd. She
cheering and applause at the end of her
The ceremony completed, much of the crowd moved into the autograph line
for the traditional signing of the ceremony programs. While waiting in
line, I was approached by a television reporter who asked if she could
interview me, and I agreed. With the camera rolling, I
explained what a first day ceremony was all about, gave a quick
tutorial on first day covers, and answered questions about other
ceremonies I had attended in Minnesota.