Snoopy Stamp Unveiling
On Thursday May 17, 2001, I traveled to Santa Rosa for the unveiling of the US Post Office's Snoopy stamp, along with Peanuts archivist and web-meister Derrick Bang and his wife Gayna. Conveniently I was already out in California for business!
The line was already forming in front of the Redwood Empire Ice Rink by the time we arrived at 8 AM, but since we were early, we didn't have to wait in line too long to get sheets of stamps and day-of-issue cachets (envelopes which had a drawing of Snoopy approaching a mailbox, with a stamp canceled with special Santa Rosa "first day of issue, 1 Snoopy Place" postmark). There was another line to get miscellaneous envelopes canceled with the same if you wanted. In the morning, folks dressed in Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, and Schroeder costumes circulated among people waiting in line. The line stayed quite long throughout the day!
At 10:30 the unveiling ceremony took place inside the Redwood Empire Ice Arena. It was short but sweet. There was an introduction by Jeffrey Lelevich, the Postmaster of Santa Rosa, CA. Next came a presentation of colors (flags) by the US Marine Corps Color Guard and the national anthem performed by Jane Felder (both a USPS employee and singer). Snoopy was on hand, and saluted during both. He continued to ham it up during the presentations.
Brief words commemorating Charles Schulz and the Peanuts comic strip were spoken by Olympic gold medal-winning skater Peggy Fleming Jenkins; Monte Schulz, Charles Schulz's son; Jean Schulz, Schulz's wife; and John Wargo, the Vice President, Strategic Marketing, United States Postal Service.
Once the speeches were over, the curtain was pulled back revealing a large poster of the stamp. Snoopy mimicked his pose as drawn in the stamp. After many photos for the press were taken with the speakers and the stamp poster, we managed to get out on the ice to have our photo taken with the stamp poster too. Snoopy also worked the crowd, hugging little children, shaking hands, and posing for photos with fans.
A short autograph session with Peggy Fleming Jenkins, Jean Schulz, and Snoopy followed outside the rink. In case you're curious, Snoopy had a rubber stamp to deliver his "pawtograph!"
Next we had lunch in the Warm Puppy Cafe (which wasn't very crowded, surprisingly - apparently many people had come only to get stamps!). Then after lunch, the ice rink held a free skate period for those who brought skates. Snoopy joined the skaters on the ice to dance the Hokey Pokey.
While we were there, we visited Snoopy's Gallery and Gift Shop (of course!). They were selling t-shirts with the image of the stamp on them, which were exclusive to the Gallery and Gift Shop. (Unfortunately these are no longer available.)
The Charles M. Schulz Museum — which had yet to open in 2001 — had a table selling charter memberships. Depending on the level of membership you chose, you could have received a lapel pin of Snoopy in a construction outfit, an exclusive "Charles M. Schulz Museum under construction" t-shirt, or a framed copy of the final Sunday comic, in addition to free museum admission. While these charater membership goodies are no longer available, the Schulz Museum is now open and you can received different goodies and benefits for becoming a Museum member. Visit their web site for details about all the membership levels, benefits, and how to join.
In May 2001, the Museum was still under construction - it was all framed and much of it was enclosed. The Museum opened in spring of 2002 (see my photo gallery from the opening) and is well worth visiting if you're in the area.
After chatting with other fans, we ended the afternoon by visiting the recently installed bronze statue of Charlie Brown and Snoopy at the Railroad Square Depot Park in Santa Rosa.
For more info and photos about the Snoopy stamp, visit FiveCentPlease.org's Snoopy stamp dedication page