The timing was perfect.
I was invited to visit China by a friend of mine and upon accepting the invitation, I sent an e-mail to Gloria Chan (Gloria's Handcraft Studio) in Hong Kong to see if I could meet the young teddy bear artists that had been featured in Bears&Buds and see their work. (See the article)
Gloria asked me if I could be in Kowloon, Hong Kong on December 6th and I said "I think I could arrange that."
To my surprise, she invited me to be one of the judges in the 6th Annual Hong Kong Teddy Bear Association's Costumed Bear Contest.
What an honor! I said "Yes, I'd love to be on the judge's panel."
On Sunday December 6, 2009, Gloria met us at the train station. We were coming from Guangzhou, China, which is just Northwest of Hong Kong by about 60 miles.
We took a taxi to her teddy bear shop and it was nearly void of teddy bears because they were at the Sunshine City Plaza for the HKTBA exhibit.
We chatted a bit about our mutual love of Teddy Bears and the accomplishments of her HKTBA members, then it was off to the Sunshine City Plaza where the awards presentation would take place.
Arriving at the center of the plaza, we could see a massive exhibit and a large stage that was being set for the award's presentation. I later learned that this huge Teddy bear production cost over one million Hong Kong dollars. The Sunshine Plaza and Gloria were going all out to introduce Artists Teddy Bears to the patrons.
The contestants started to arrive. Each one was very happy that Gloria was their teddy bear teacher and showered her with compliments.
Even thought Gloria sent many photographs of the contestants bears they were more amazing in person and very detailed. See the entries.
Three International judges were chosen to participate; Helga Schepp of Germany and Catherine Lau, of the Fringe Club and myself. I was fortunate to be able to attend the event. TV cameras, newspaper photographers and hundreds of spectators surrounded the fenced off stage area. A popular Chinese TV star, Sheren Tang made an appearance on stage too.
After my "on stage interview" I was asked to present the trophies. While the other contestants won one trophy Neroli, age 10, won two and was surprised that the were so heavy!
Photographers seemed to be everywhere and everyone wanted a photo with 'Miss Valerie' which more than happy to smile for all the photos.
At 6:30 p.m. we walked to the Regal Kowloon Hotel for a dinner reception with the artists.
A wonderful time was had by all.