I am bringing you the day 3 AT5 – Reverberation daily report, so grab a chair and enjoy!
After waking up at 6am and a final 10 minutes of a laying in bed, my roommate and I got up. Even though the lack of sleep could be felt, we were really happy. We knew it was the last day of the convention but also that it was to be filled with new fun! So after grabbing quick shower, we ventured downstairs to meet with the rest of the fellow nubbins, as we like to call ourselves.
You could feel the love and excitement floating through the lobby immediately after stepping out of the elevator on the hotel. While sitting in the lobby after eating the famous English breakfast with other fans sitting close and laughing, we suddenly heard screams of happiness and saw Amanda Tapping entering the hotel.
She smiled sweetly to all of us and started to wave enthusiastically. Small bits and pieces like that make you realize how unique she is. She does not shy away, she is open and friendly with all her fans and they appreciate that. With the arriving of our guest we knew it is time we took our seats in the main hall.
Now, if you ever go to one of the GABIT AT events, you will be hypnotized by the atmosphere there. Excited whispers and laughs of the attendees, overhearing Sanctuary quotes here and there, GABIT logo turning on the screen… add to that the realization that Amanda will take up the scene in a few minutes and it is all a fan can ask of. Dream coming true.
At 8.30am Becky Preen, one of the great G4, went on the stage, and with the help of her Little Red Book (which became something of a legend over the weekend), she familiarized us with the rules again and what was on schedule for the day.
After that the Queen of Sci-Fi herself, Amanda Tapping, came onto the stage bouncing with energy and smiling, accompanied by loud applause and cheers. Even the short ‘how are you’ exchanged between her and the audience made us feel like her friends.
The Q&A was once again hilarious and serious at the same time. The questions spanned from Amanda’s bucket list, through Nepal adoption Programme up to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Forty five minutes later, all too soon the session was finished and Amanda was hurried of the stage in a funny GABIT manner. It was time for the autograph op. Seriously, I have no idea where she gets all her energy from. When rows A and B were meeting with Amanda in the room nearby, the rest of us was treated to the AT2 Highlights video in the Main Hall. That was a great opportunity for the fans to re-live or experience that event for the first time.
Around 11:20am the winners of Coffee With Amanda were collected by some of the GABIT people and went upstairs. After a few minutes the lady herself passed us by, waving and smiling. The rest of the attendees sat in the lobby laughing, goofing around, talking to the stewards and generally having a great time while patiently waiting. It was not long before she returned and the autograph session was re-opened.
Seeing as I was seated in the row J, I expected my autograph to take place after the lunch, but GABIT planning never fails and before I knew it I was sitting in the autograph room chatting with the stewards and waiting in the queue.
But suddenly the music started playing loud and the girls of the GABIT – Becky, Jenn, Becks (Julia’s daughter) and Tracy came running in, dressed in purple cheerleaders’ outfits with pompoms in their hands and dancing to the music. That was done in honour of Julia Hague, who at the moment was sitting with Amanda at the table, completely surprised.
Amanda was, on the other hand, laughing her head off, as were we, sitting in the queue on the chairs. The girls danced and goofed around then gave each of us a paper cut out of a letter, the whole spelled JULIA, then stood behind us and shouted “Give me …” and the letter, at which we put them in the air. The whole thing, hilarious, was finished in a couple of minutes and we all, along with Julia and Amanda, laughed wholeheartedly and clapped. To the accompaniment of “That was awesome!” shouted by Amanda and the rest, the girls cleared out the room.
I still was smiling when I approached the autograph table and spoke to her. Autograph and photograph ops are those especially precious moments for both the guest and the attendees, as then you can freely talk to Amanda and tell her what you were dying to say all this time… It is one the most incredible feelings.
I exited the room shaking all over with emotions, but having a big goofy grin on my face.
After a few minutes, we again saw staff and guest leave the suite, and we knew it was time for lunch. In a couple of minutes we all devoured our sandwiches and sat there chatting and waiting for the last Q&A.
At 2:25pm the last session started. We all were a bit sad, but Ms. Tapping soon lifted our spirits with her genuine humour and funny stories. The whole 45 minutes passed with laughter and squees as we were made privy to some hilarious set situations and heard a bit more about the rest of the season 3 episodes.
When that fun time reached its end, Amanda again hurried to the second part of the autographs and those who had theirs already either went to pack or just chilled out in the reception area, trying to calm down and prepare for the closing ceremony. We were all hugely excited about the anticipated announcement of the amount raised for Sanctuary For Kids and Hearing Dogs For Deaf People, two charities helped by AT5 and close to all our hearts. We could also say hi to the cute doggies and puppies in the lobby as they had given a presentation in the main hall earlier.
At 6:15pm the “Closing Ceremony” started. You were able to see people proudly wearing their AT5 badges and many of them had also packs of tissues prepared…. After all were seated and silence could be heard, we were presented with the amount of money raised – over £40 000!!! However, we were warned it was still raising as they were still counting the money! Now, few days after the event we know it raised around £40,224.06! for charity! To use Ms. Tappings words: “we were GOBSMACKED!”.
The applause was wild… then again when the two cheques were presented. You could see Amanda was deeply moved. Then GABIT chairwoman, Julia Hague, took the stage and gave her poignant speech. Good thing we all had tissues because you could hear sobs in almost every seat. My eyes watered and tears fell down my cheeks when, after Julia, Amanda came onto the stage, tissue in her hand, red eyes and crying.
She was touched so deeply by this weekend, as was every single one of the attendees. Her beautiful words, the thank you’s and love she felt towards us, the love and friendship she gave us… Truly, there are no words. You cannot possibly describe it.
After her speech, Amanda got a long standing ovation, straight from the bottom of our hearts. Then we sat down for the closing video, which brought new tears to our eyes, as it showed many beautiful and really sweet photos of Amanda, GABIT, stewards and us fans…. add to that emotional music and you have Gabiteers crying again.
Again, Amanda got a second standing ovation, she thanked us again. Acompanied by the clapping of many hands, as well as cheers, she exited the hall. You were able to see tears still glistening in her eyes.
After trying to mingle for as long as possible, we finally managed to get to our rooms to refresh. Our group went to the pub down the road; we needed that final evening together. We cried and laughed, and it was wonderful to be ourselves.
Upon coming back to the hotel we met the whole G4 and GABIT there in the lobby. Beautiful people. We hung out for a couple of hours and talked. Cameras ruled the evening and all you could see was flashes going off and groups of new and old friends grinning.
Late hour came and we all, dead on our feet said bye to the friends that were leaving on that evening and then retired to our rooms for the final night sleep. AT5 was over. From here, I would like to extend my huge THANK YOU to Ms. Amanda Tapping for being her lovely, funny, goofy, open-minded and beautiful self. This all was possible thanks to you. We just reflect your spirit.
To G4 and GABIT, I am not even able to begin to say how welcome you made us all feel. This weekend was simply one of the best in our lives. Your hard work and care for not only Amanda, but all the attendees, is truly admirable.
To the stewards, for all the hugs, smiles, laughs, great conversations at the photo and autograph ops, and for “keeping those doors open”, as Amanda said almost two years ago at AT4. And to ALL the attendees, you are beautiful people, generous and I truly have no words to describe how amazingly close to my heart you all are.
Much love and peace to you all.