Written by Denise Gary

KNTR volunteers celebrate KNTR Geek Prom sell-out with Debbie Brown. © Bruce Matsunaga

There are no words that can adequately express how awe-inspiring Memorial Day weekend was for KNTR at Phoenix Comicon 2011. We were overwhelmed at the outpouring of support we received. The KNTR Geek Prom, sponsored by Bookmans, was over-the-top fun! All in all, Kids Need to Read raised $20,000 during the event. There were so many kind souls who contributed to the success of the weekend and to all of them, we extend our deepest gratitude.

Denise Gary hosts the KNTR Geek Prom, sponsored by Bookmans. © Bruce Matsunaga

From the KNTR Geek Prom, to the KNTR 2012 Calendar Launch Party, Star Wars games, art auctions, geek auctions, raffles, product sales, author presentations, goodie backpacks, Highlights magazines, Browncoat spirit, caricatures, signings, and pranks, there was something for everyone. Fun and passion is always the KNTR way, and there was no shortage of either among our staff, volunteers, and supporters.

KNTR 2012 Calendar Launch Party © Bruce Matsunaga

Our thanks and love seem hopelessly inadequate, but they are all we have to offer to everyone who helped, including the following:

Matt Solberg and Joe Boudrie – You guys are real life superheroes (no exaggeration)! There simply is no way we can thank you enough. We tag along and you make us feel magnificent. Our partnership has been nothing short of lightning in a bottle! Yes, here’s the SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

Matt and Joe? © Eric Fiallos

Lori Whipple (Bookmans) – We knew we had it going since the day we met! Look at what our grand collaboration has produced! Much gratitude for all you have done in support of KNTR!

Debbie Brown, Denise Gary, and Lori Whipple (Bookmans) © Eric Fiallos

Bookmans Entertainment Exchange – Ever the generous sponsor, you bring life to our passion! Thank you for continually giving back to your local communities so generously!

KNTR Goodie Backpacks, Sponsored by Bookmans © Robert Gary

Lee and Jen Palmer, and the Star Wars Neighborhood – The word “astounding” seems an understatement for your great kindness to Kids Need to Read. The warmth your members extend toward our organization and our volunteers is appreciated by all. Your fundraising activities were a blast and they raised $2,389 for KNTR! Your donated FX Light Saber brought in an additional $500 at our auction!

Jen and Lee Palmer © Carl Wagner

The KNTR Volunteers – The Geeksages and Geekonnieres were Geekerrific! Thank you for gracing our activities with your dedication and merriment throughout the entire convention. Your joy was infectious and was commented upon by many! Kids Need to Read shines because of your beautiful spirit. Much love to you all!

KNTR Volunteers and Staff © Robert Gary

Nacole Vickery and Carl Wagner – Debb and I could not have had better assistants. You selflessly ensured that everything ran smoothly and what a difference you made for us! What a difference you made for KNTR!

Nacole Vickery and Carl Wagner © Bruce Matsunaga

PJ Haarsma – We were so happy to have you participating in all of the KNTR excitement! We have crowned you King Auctioneer! Thank you for being such a great sport with our Devious Beings punking and by wearing your nip-alien proudly. It was delightful seeing you behind bars! (Thank you, Mando Mercs!)

KNTR Presents Author PJ Haarsma © Bruce Matsunaga

Marisa Grieco Haarsma – It was such a tremendous joy to have you with us signing calendars, helping out on stage at the KNTR Geek Prom, and being an all-around sweetheart! You made so many people feel happy!

KNTR Presents Artist Marisa Grieco © Bruce Matsunaga

Steven Riley – You have become such an important part of the KNTR family! We cannot imagine having an event without your presence. You have so much talent and we appreciate all that you contribute to KNTR, especially the laughter . . . and some would say the straw cowboy hat! You are Geekdom’s greatest “Bert Parks!”

KNTR Presents Author/Illustrator Steven Riley © Robert Gary

Peyton Riley, Savannah Riley, and Skylar Haarsma – You girls rocked the booth! We loved having y’all jump in and be a part of the fun, but we loved seeing your big smiles most of all!

Hilarity ensues in the KNTR booth with Peyton and Savannah Riley. © Robert Gary

Artists Marisa and Skylar Haarsma grace the KNTR booth. © Bruce Matsunaga

Bruce Matsunaga – We can always count on you to work your camera magic. Your dedication and beautiful images have become an integral part of KNTR. Thank you for repeatedly presenting us with the beautiful gift of your photography!

Photographer Bruce Matsunaga © Bruce Matsunaga

Ash Rhodes and Eric Fiallos – You two cheerfully accepted one of the hardest jobs at the Geek Prom, wearing yourselves out taking (and processing) the formal pictures at the Geek Arch and the Geek Portal. You are both awesome and I am grateful to you for taking on this strenuous assignment!

Like Father, Like Son! © Ash Rhodes

Royal Geek Court © Eric Fiallos

Dominic Ross, Amanda Mahan, and everyone at Big Brain Pictures – What a treasure we have found in you—our friends across the way! Your kindness and generosity seem boundless. Thank you for capturing our Geekosity many times over!

Dominic Ross (Big Brain Pictures) © Bruce Matsunaga

Amanda Mahan (Big Brain Pictures) © Bruce Matsunaga

Kevin Douglass – Your creation of the Geek Portal turned out to be a masterpiece beloved by all! Thank you for so kindly making this dream an awesome reality! And may I add how grateful we were to have your muscles on hand?!

Kevin Douglass and Bridget Lloyd © Ash Rhodes

Mark Eisele – We could not wish for a more stupendous banner stand! Thanks for pulling through for us on such short notice!

KNTR Booth © Robert Gary

Michael Dougherty (Browncoats: Redemption) – You have been such a good friend to KNTR. Thank you for lighting the KNTR Geek Prom on fire with your mad Geek DJ skills! It was so much fun to work side-by-side with you! Rock on!

Michael Dougherty serves as DJ at the KNTR Geek Prom, Sponsored by Bookmans. © Bruce Matsunaga

The Crew of Browncoats: Redemption – It was such a pleasure to host you all in our booth. Thank you for the impressive check presentation! Your project has been an incredible journey and we have always been grateful to be one of the fortunate recipients of your hard work.

Michael Dougherty (Writer, Director) and Heather Fagan (Star) present a check to Denise Gary and PJ Haarsma. © Bruce Matsunaga

Brandy Kuschel, Scott Haag, Linda Zaruches, and the entire staff of Phoenix Comicon – You all work in the background with so much enthusiasm for KNTR. We could not appreciate you more!

Music Director Scott Haag © Joe Abbruscato

Charity Art Auction Artists – We were taken aback by the number of artists at Phoenix Comicon who so warmly embraced the Charity Art Auction. The number of art contributions was astonishing! We thank you all most sincerely for supporting KNTR with your talent! The art auction resulted in nearly $4,000 for our foundation.

Phoenix Comicon Charity Art Auction © Bruce Matsunaga

Adam Goldman and Mojo-Bone Software Studios – Wow, thank you for the super-generous, astounding Mega Auction Package, which brought in $800! Extra gratitude (and giggles) for being our first PJ Prankster!

Adam Goldman and Isabelle Mangouni, Mojo-Bone Software Studios © Bruce Matsunaga

ThinkGeek – As if your two $50 gift certificates for our Geek Prom Queen and King were not enough, the Tauntaun sleeping bag fetched an amazing $400 at auction! Thank you for your awesome support of Kids Need to Read and the KNTR Geek Prom!

PJ examines the ThinkGeek Tauntaun Sleeping Bag. © Bruce Matsunaga

Allen Amis, Will Friedrichs, and Anarchy Squared Creations – Your Star Wars raffle was so cool! We appreciate the generous forfeiture of your awesome props, which resulted in $244!

Allen Amis (Anarchy Squared Creations) and Will Friedrichs © Carl Wagner

Darby Simon, Devon Christopher Adams, and Joe Abbruscato – Thank you for providing additional photography at the KNTR Geek Prom. Your photos of the Geek attendees are fantastic and highly appreciated!

KNTR Geek Prom, Sponsored by Bookmans © Darby Simon

Highlights for Children, Inc. – Your wonderful magazines have become an important staple of our programs and events. Thank you for being such a great partner in support of childhood literacy, and for your dedication to producing high quality children’s magazines for so many decades.

Nacole Vickory offers a Highlights High Five magazine. © Robert Gary

Peyton Riley hands out a Highlights magazine. © Robert Gary

Changing Hands Bookstore, Bookmans, Best Buy – Superstition Springs, The Book Band Marker Company – We appreciate the wonderful door prizes donated to our 2012 Calendar Launch Party!

Bruce Matsunaga wins a Changing Hands Bookstore prize package. © Bruce Matsunaga

Bookmans, ThinkGeek, Best Buy – Superstition Springs, Waldenbooks – Phoenix, Hero Comics, SpazDog Comics, Pop Culture Paradise, Atomic Comics, Samurai Comics, Carol Tabb, and T. R. Johnson – We are deeply grateful for the many items supplied to the KNTR Geek Prom and celebrity signings!

Door Prizes! © Bruce Matsunaga

Prize Throws! © Bruce Matsunaga

Paul McGillion, Adam Baldwin, James A. Owen, Heather Fagan, and Nathan Fillion (by phone) – Thank you for making appearances at the KNTR Geek Prom! You made the event all the more fun!

Actor Paul McGillion © Bruce Matsunaga

Arizona Avengers – Your Time Warp dancing was such a huge hit! Thanks to all of you for Geeking up our stage!

Arizona Avengers © Eric Fiallos

Arizona Browncoats – Thank you for allowing KNTR to be a part of your “Fans Giving Back” panel. It was a joy to share thoughts alongside the other incredible organizations represented.

“Fans Giving Back” Panel © Bruce Matsunaga

Erkel (Cameron Parkey) and the Geek Ghostbuster – Geek dance partners extraordinaire – can we dance again next year?!

Geek Dancing! © Bruce Matsunaga

Everyone Who Supported Kids Need to Read at Phoenix Comicon – Thank you for helping KNTR provide amazing literacy resources and inspiration to kids across our nation. You assist us in motivating the unmotivated, giving advantage to the disadvantaged, and demonstrating that reading is an important and incredible gift.

Going to the KNTR Geek Prom, sponsored by Bookmans! © Bruce Matsunaga

We still have not come down from the cloud we have been floating on since Memorial Day weekend. The magic of Phoenix Comicon 2011 will never be forgotten!

Related Blog: KNTR Founder “Arrested” and Thrown Behind Bars

Related Blog: KNTR Geek Prom 2011: Director’s Choice Awards

Photo Gallery: KNTR Geek Prom and Phoenix Comicon 2011

Video: KNTR at Phoenix Comicon 2011

Video: Kids Need to Read Geek Prom 2011, Sponsored by Bookmans (Part 1 of 4)

Video: Kids Need to Read Geek Prom 2011, Sponsored by Bookmans – Highlights (Part 2 of 4)

Video: Kids Need to Read Geek Prom 2011, Sponsored by Bookmans Fashion Geektacular (Part 3 of 4)

Video: Kids Need to Read Geek Prom 2011, Sponsored by Bookmans – Dance 360 (Part 4 of 4)

Video: KNTR 2012 Calendar Launch Party at Phoenix Comicon 2011

Video: KNTR Pwns PJ Haarsma at Phoenix Comicon 2011!

Author/Illustrator Steven Riley dispenses treasures. © Robert Gary


3 Responses to “KNTR Experiences Phenomenal Success at Phoenix Comicon!”

  1. Richelle on June 24th, 2011 3:09 pm

    Fantastic display of pictures! KNTR has really come a long way. Everyone is having so much fun. I’m impressed with how well it all went.

  2. Denise Gary on June 24th, 2011 3:18 pm

    Just wait! There are lots more pictures, video, and info coming! It really was extraordinary, Richelle! Quite a bit different from the first PHXCC we all went to in 2008! You would love it! I hope you can come down someday to experience it all! 🙂

  3. Phoenix Comicon 2011: Spotlight on Kids Need To Read – Mamarox on July 17th, 2011 4:12 pm

    […] bounty hunt game, and more, Kids Need to Read raised over $20,000.  Denise Gary sums it all up on KNTR’s blog report of the […]

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