| Raggedy Ann Rally |

A Raggedy Ann fan meetup!

We've seen a lot more interest from the Raggedy Ann fandom in joining us at the Rally this year, so I decided to put all the info you need into one place!

The Raggedy Ann Rally is the most recent iteration of a gathering of Raggedy Ann fans that has existed since the 90's. Previously the Raggedy Ann Festival, this gathering of fans has attracted people from all over the globe to buy & sell Raggedy merch and meet up with friends! These days, it is a slightly smaller production, but with the new energy that the fandom has seen recently, we have the perfect opportunity to bring some life back into it.

At the moment, the only official way to connect with the Rally organizers is through their Facebook groups. They have two, the Raggedy Ann Rally group for official announcements, and the Raggedy Ann Rally Social Club for general discussion.

But if you don't use Facebook and are still interested in discussing plans for the Rally, you can join the Raggedy Ann Rally Discord Server, run by us here at RARE.

FAQ:


The character theme for the 2024 Rally is Cleety the Clown!

Each year, people get a chance to vote on which Gruelle character will get to be next year's theme. This character appears on flyers, t-shirts, happies, and just generally anything involving the rally for that specific year.


Art by November Gorrell/NovellaG

Where is it?

In Arcola, Illinois, the birthplace of Johnny Gruelle! A small town in the middle of Amish country, 2 1/2 hours south of Chicago. The banquet takes place in Arthur, another town just 15 minutes away.

When is it?

The Rally always takes place in the first half of June. In 2024, it will be held June 6th, 7th, and 8th.

What sort of events are there?

DISCLAIMER: this schedule is from 2023! Exact times may change, but it will still be helpful for getting the general idea of events and timeline.

Thursday:

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Early Bird Get-together: a meetup for people who arrive early!
  • Time: 4:00 pm
  • Location: The Pavilion

Friday:

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RARE Meetup & Copslay Photo Op: a meetup for revival effort members and fans of the musical! Come in cosplay if you have it, we'll be goofing around and taking photos!
  • Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Location: Johnny Gruelle Memorial (The Raggedy bench!)

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Nickel Auction:
  • Time: 1:00 - 3:00 pm
  • Location: The Pavilion

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Banquet Dinner & Silent Auction: the first main event; hear the opening announcements, chat with friends, and give out "happies" (little handmade trinkets based on this year's theme)! This is the only event to require an entry ticket; the $28 meal ticket includes the buffet dinner plus a discount in the vendor hall.
  • Time: 6:00 - 9:00 pm
  • Location: Yoder’s Kitchen in Arthur, Il

Saturday:

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Vendor Hall: a market of Raggedy Ann goods and art, vintage and homemade
  • Time: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Location: Arcola Center

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Bingo:
  • Time: 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  • Location: Arcola Center

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RARE Cracker Barrel Dinner: another meetup! Afterward we make plans for a watch party of the musical
  • Time: 6:00 pm
  • Location: Cracker Barrel in Mattoon, Il

What are the accommodations?

Transportation:

The nearest airport is in Champaign, Illinois, though you can also fly into Chicago. If you're lucky enough to be near an AMTRAK station, you can also take the train! It stops in Chicago, Champaign, and Mattoon.

Once in town, there is no public transportation. We've been able to get an Uber from Champaign to Arcola, though. Since many of the events are scattered throughout the town and surrounding area, you will have to plan ahead to make sure you have a ride. Many of the people who are going are happy to help!

Hotels:

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Best Western
917 Green Mill Road, Arcola, IL

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Quality Inn
610 East Springfield, Arcola, IL

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Arcola Inn
236 S Jacques St, Arcola, IL

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Holiday Inn Express
1201 Tuscola Boulevard, Tuscola, IL (~15 min drive from Arcola)

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Super 8
1007 East Southline Drive, Tuscola, IL (~15 min drive from Arcola)

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Baymont by Wyndham
1006 Southline Road, Tuscola IL (~15 min drive from Arcola)

Food:

Arcola has a handful of small resturants, as well as a McDonalds and a Dairy Queen. If you're staying in the Arcola Inn or Quality Inn they will be within walking distance, if you're staying at Best Western they will still be close, but you'll have to cross the highway. There are also several small grocery stores in town.

How do I get my ticket for the banquet?

Reservations for the banquet must be sent in in advance via a check and printed (or handwritten) form. Details are copied below from a post Kathy made to the Facebook groups. The address for mailing the form can be found on the PDF below. You can also message Kathy Ellis directly on Facebook (preffered) or use her email, rags_r_us@yahoo.com (may take longer, or get lost), or contact Kathy or us via the Facebook and Discord groups above.

UPDATE! There is now a PDF you can download which has all the needed information, and the form included on the bottom!

Raggedy Ann Rally Banquet & Silent Auction Reservation Info (via Kathy Ellis)

We have again secured the large room for the Raggedy Ann Rally Friday Night Banquet and Silent Auction at Yoder’s Kitchen, 1195 E. Columbia St, Arthur, IL.
Friday, June 7, 2024
6:00 P.M. serving time
Arrive no earlier than 5:30 pm, to view & bid on auction items

The “all you can eat” buffet menu again will feature Yoder’s delicious fried chicken, shrimp, and roast beef, home made pies & other select Amish homemade fare.
Entertainment by R.A.R.E
Special Table gifts - Bring your Happies!

Dinner Reservation fees are:
Children under 3 are free
Children 3 to 10 are $23
All others: $28

Return the bottom of this form to: Andrea Simmons [CONTACT FOR ADDRESS]
Please include your check made out to: John Ellis
All Reservations MUST be received by: May 22, 2024
Checks must be received by May 22nd.

Yoder's is under different management currently so any reservations after May 22, called in or payments at the door will have a late fee charge of $5.00 each.

We are looking forward to seeing you again this year!

Reservation Form (via Kathy Ellis)

Name__
Address__
Phone __
Children under 3 #___ No Charge
Children 3 to 10 #___ at $23 each: $___
Adults #___ at $28 each: $___
Name of each Adult or Child wishing to bid @ Auction:


Check number: ___ Amount of check: $___

What are "happies"?

"Happies" are little trinkets given out during the banquet dinner. They can be little toys, keychains, cards, stickers, like little party favors! They're almost always Raggedy Ann themed, and often also themed around the year's character.

The tradition was started years ago in the earlier days of the Raggedy Ann Festival, when Japanese members of the community who were traveling would bring little gifts and say they're “happy to see you!”. More people began bringing little gifts and trinkets, and it evolved into part of the festivities!

The rally organizers stress that new people are not expected to bring happies. Even people who are regulars do not bring happies every year. If you are planning on bringing something, you will need about 100 for each person at the banquet, so please do not spend too much time or money on them!

Do people come in cosplay?

At one point, the festival had a whole costume parade! It doesn't anymore, but that doesn't mean we don't show up in cosplay!

On Friday there will be a designated Raggedy Ann Revival Effort hangout and cosplay meetup. You don't have to show up in costume, but you're invited to! This started as a way for those with complicated Raggedy Ann musical costumes (namely, General D. and Wolf) to take pictures and be silly while leaving Saturday free to hang out at the market.

But you also won't be alone in cosplay at the market either, there will always be a couple RARE members in costume. Many regular rallygoers miss the days when more people dressed up, and are always excited when people do!

How do I become a vendor?

Vendor applications for 2024 are still open!

The vendor fee is $20, and you fill out a simple form. You're also allowed to add helpers to the form, but the vendor hall doesn't require paid tickets in the first place. Vendor set up takes place Friday afternoon and Saturday morning before it opens to the public, and take down is Saturday after closing. Vendors are provided with an 8ft square space and a table, and arrangements can be made if you need more.

To get a vendor form, either message Kathy Ellis directly on Facebook (preffered) or use her email, rags_r_us@yahoo.com (may take longer, or get lost).

Stay tuned for more updates as the 2024 schedule is released, see you soon!