This past weekend, hundreds of fans enjoyed what was said to be the final Fanfest. It delivered what Fanfest has become famous for being: a wrestling fan's dream weekend. It never mattered whether you were a fan of the Mid-Atlantic territory or not. Any wrestling devotee could enjoy what was brought to the table over the several day extravaganza. Legends, current stars, and up-and-comers in the wrestling business all came together to deliver something that, despite their best efforts, WWE will never be able to recreate, nor would they probably care to.
Walking down a hall at the Charlotte University Place Hilton last weekend would have displayed any and all of these scenarios: wrestlers reuniting with wrestlers, fans catching up with other fans, fans rushing off to catch that next photo op or autograph session. Off to the side of one hallway, the often-misunderstood Ole Anderson sits in a wheelchair, obviously enjoying signing autographs and posing for pictures for fans. In fact, he would rather tell the fans stories than pause for lunch. Sounds a bit different than what you have read elsewhere on the Internet, doesn't it? Just a few feet away in a large ballroom, Jimmy Valiant is catching up with Exotic Adrian Street and Miss Linda. On the other side of the ballroom, Matt Hardy and Reby Sky are meeting fans of all ages.
As I rubbed elbows with so many of wrestling's greats last weekend, I thought back to Fanfests of the past. Without this amazing event, I never would have had the opportunity to meet such greats as Jackie Fargo, Gary Hart, Ernie Ladd, and Billy Robinson. I would not have gotten a hug from Sherri Martel or had dinner with Sir Oliver Humperdink. I would not have seen the Four Horsemen reunite before my very eyes or the final appearance of the Fabulous Fargos. It's things like these that other events of its kind, or WWE, will never deliver. It just isn't in the business model anywhere else. The "it" being, of course, soul.
In the days following Fanfest, social media became a hub of photos and memories. It was interesting to note that cries of "This can't be the final Fanfest" came equally as often from fans and wrestlers alike. Although there are other reunions for wrestlers themselves, many absolutely love Fanfest for its ability to combine reuniting with other wrestlers and finally getting to meet so many longtime fans. As is often forgotten in other entertainment industries, wrestlers do not necessarily stay in touch after their time in the business is over. Just like when a television program or movie wraps, everyone goes their separate ways. Seeing the wrestlers relive those long days and nights on the road together is often a treasure in itself.
Join us again next week for more Mid-Atlantic Memories!