Thursday, July 4, 2013

This August, It's Nothin' But Mid-Atlantic Memories!

Occasionally, even a person such as myself who positively thrives off of nostalgia will admit that yesterday wasn't necessarily better.  I've been called everything from "born too late" to "an old soul," but it doesn't bother me.  I take pride in remembering, honoring, and re-living the past as much as possible.  The truth is, however, that one of the highlights of my calendar year wouldn't have had a chance of happening just two decades ago.  That event is Greg Price's Wrestling Legends Fanfest, formerly known as NWA Fanfest, and this year formally titled "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest Weekend."

Back in the eras that many fans would deem the "glory years" of pro wrestling, an idea like Fanfest would have been unheard of.  Wrestlers may have occasionally given an autograph, posed for a photo, and gotten to know some of the more diehard fans, but an actual event designed for fans to meet the wrestlers?  It would've broken the secrecy of the wrestling business that those in it held so dear.  In this case, changes in the industry have become our gain.

If you've never previously heard of Fanfest, I encourage you to click the "label" below this entry and brush up.  The event is a four day extravaganza celebrating wrestling's past.  Fans can meet dozens of wrestling's greats, get autographs and photos, attend the Hall of Heroes dinner and ceremony, and even see some live wrestling action.  Magnum T.A., Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, Mr. Wrestling II, Ivan Koloff, The Rock & Roll Express, The Midnight Express, Baron Von Raschke, Ken Patera, and Manny Fernandez are just some of the names already announced to appear.

My personal highlight of the weekend is the aforementioned Hall of Heroes dinner.  Following a spectacular meal, everyone is treated to a Hall of Fame-style ceremony that often surpasses other similar events.  Inductees already announced for this year are both The Rock & Roll Express and Midnight Express with Jim Cornette, as well as wrestler, trainer, promoter, publisher, and announcer Les Thatcher and former Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Danny Miller.  Cornette, who has been on a self-imposed exile from wrestling as of late, says that this will be his only 2013 appearance related to the business.  In addition to being a featured guest and Hall of Heroes inductee, Cornette will host one of his legendary late-night question and answer sessions.  Definitely not one for all ages, but nothing less than you would expect from "The Louisville Lip."

Two new features are front and center at Fanfest this year as well.  One is a four-day wrestling training camp to be run by Dr. Tom Prichard.  The good doctor and his co-trainers including Leilani Kai, Tully Blanchard, Les Thatcher, and Jerry Brisco will instruct two dozen young wrestlers over the weekend and ultimately decide upon one "Best-of-Camp" prospect.  That chosen talent will be the recipient of the $2,500 Reid Fliehr Memorial Scholarship. 

The other new addition to Fanfest's lineup of events is the filming of a new documentary appropriately titled "Mid-Atlantic Memories."  The movie will capture the memories, thoughts, and feelings of the wrestlers, promoters, and fans who lived Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.  If you've been to a previous Fanfest in Charlotte, you have met many of those individuals who were there for the glory days of MACW and know that they absolutely loved it.  Even those of us who weren't fortunate enough to have lived it have been drawn in by the magic.

As is the case every year, Fanfest is a place for fans of all wrestling promotions to gather.  After all, so much of the top talent of the '70s, '80s, and even '90s once called Jim Crockett Promotions their home.  In addition to talent, JCP spawned so many events and concepts that have never left the minds of fans.  Starrcade, the Great American Bash, and the match that inspired so many copycats, War Games, were all born under the Crockett umbrella.

This year, perhaps more than ever, may be the Fanfest in which we remember those who have passed just as often as those who are sitting next to us at the Hall of Heroes banquet or signing an autograph.  With all of the remembrances for the film project we'll think of names like Wahoo McDaniel and Gene Anderson, both of whom didn't live to attend a Fanfest.  We'll also fondly recall virtual staples of the weekend, such as Sir Oliver Humperdink and Jack Brisco, who have sadly since passed.  In the end, those recollections will help us appreciate the present all the more.  It will also remind us to thank those who will be present in Charlotte for the memories, while we're still able to do so.

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest Weekend will take place August 1-4 in Charlotte, NC.  For more information you can check out and plan to make new memories!


Anonymous said...

Always wanted to attend one of these. Unfortunatley coming from the midwest it just makes it difficult. Money wise it just isn't cheap, so making the choice of this or a vacation with the wife and kids I'll always choose the latter. Maybe some day. JCP was one of my favorite promotions growing up.

I'm sure those old WFIA conventions were cool as well despite still keeping kayfabe.

Brad said...

Hey man, I'll be at mid atlantic memories my. I see you have lots of memorbilia. DO you have an extra Ole Anderson Wonderama card I could buy from you.

thanks, Brad