Avalon 2006. November 24-26, 2006
Convention, Wells, England
Each evening an auction was held to raise funds for charity, and the proceeds of the Avalon weekend were given in support of Comic Relief, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The auctions were intended to be held in the Town Hall, but on Friday evening another event scheduled for that venue conflicted with the plans, and the Avalon auction was moved instead to the Cathedral. There, within the majestic surroundings of the 12th century Cathedral, fans from both the Friday morning and afternoon sessions gathered to raise money for charity.
The day's events had run slightly behind schedule, and Richard and Amanda were still finishing their dinner when the auction was scheduled to begin. However, soon afterward Amanda appeared. Richard had to finish signing the autographed pictures that would be given to all the attendees, and as he remained in the back of the Cathedral to complete the task, Dan Shea filled in for him as a guest auctioneer.
The auction was somewhat subdued in deference to the setting, but there were still many moments of lighthearted silliness as the guests encouraged the fans to raise their bids for a worthy cause. Amanda began by sharing an anecdote. Warning that "Rick is going to kill me if he finds out I told this story," she described what had happened during a break earlier in the day. Richard and Amanda had been exploring some of the rooms in the Bishop's Palace when they discovered a hidden door in the oratory leading to a spiral staircase. They had climbed up the stairs to another room of artifacts when Richard's mischievous sense of humor got the better of him. Spying a call button on the wall, he pressed it and announced, "Jesus to the Oratory…"
Amanda, too, shared in the silliness. One item that she presented was a set of pictures that included a portrait of General O'Neill and a pose of Amanda draped only in the American flag. She pretended to kiss and flirt with O'Neill's picture to encourage bids, and when someone called out, "How many stars are on that flag?" she blurted out, "Trust me, no one is looking at the flag!" Then, as if remembering where she was, she glanced toward the front of the church and jokingly whispered under her breath, "I am so going to purgatory!" Then, without explanation, she suddenly ran down the aisle and disappeared in the back of the church where Richard was still signing autographs. Soon she came running back up the aisle to the front of the church, held up the pictures, and announced triumphantly, "Signed!" Richard had obliged her with an additional autograph to increase the bids.
The items offered for the auction included pictures, DVDs, T-shirts, props, and various memorabilia, and Amanda and Dan worked the crowd, moving up and down the aisles and demonstrating the items. For a set of miniature zat guns, they demonstrated a shootout complete with their own sound effects and a stunt fall from Dan Shea.
After the first few items had been sold, Richard finished his autograph session and joined Amanda and Dan. At first he was a bit uncertain about his role, and as Amanda and Dan tried to demonstrate how the auction worked, he protested, "It's my first day on the set!" He caught on quickly, however, and soon was parading items down the aisles, posing for pictures, and joking with the crowd. One of the items he presented was a picture of himself with a baby seal, autographed by both Paul Watson and himself, and he spoke passionately about the work that Sea Shepherd is doing. As bidding began for another item, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a Power Bar that he had apparently been carrying around all day. He attempted to flatten it back into shape, and offered to autograph it and add it to the deal, which raised the bidding even higher.
The final item of the evening was an opportunity for two people to visit the "Atlantis" set during filming, and the bidding rose quickly for that, eventually going for approximately £2000. It was about 10:00 when the auction ended, and the organizers tallied the total and wrote it on a piece of paper for Richard to announce. However, without his glasses, he couldn't read the paper and waved it off to the others. Dan Shea took the opportunity to be "helpful" and held the paper farther and farther away asking, "Can you read it now?" until he finally fell over a chair that he had backed into. Instead, Amanda whispered the amount in Richard's ear so that he could announce that the total for the evening was about £3000.
With that, the auction ended. As Richard left the front of the church, he paused and turned to watch the audience for a time before finally blowing two gentle kisses and making his exit. Meanwhile, the fans moved to the back of the church where they picked up their autographed pictures, their pictures from the photo session, and a commemorative chalice specially commissioned for the event. Then they made their way back to their hotels as the first day of Avalon came to a close.
Many thanks for the additional photos from:
Carmargue Ltd., Legends Memorabilia, UgzY, Trekkie, Astra, Raquel, Teresa, Beverley J Barrett, dove0709, DMD, Wendy & Kelly & Scott, Diana, Gator101, Marieta, and Gabriele Gerritsen
Transcript written by KateR. Avalon 2006 is a production of Carmargue Ltd. Wells, England. November 24-26, 2006.