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Darius Goes Back to Gator-Land

October 12, 2009

Quote of the Day: “How about that crowd? That’s the first time I’ve been nervous for a Q-and-A in…a while”–Darius, talking about the crowd of 1700.

At a recent trip to Gainesville, Florida, Darius and co. met up with some old friends…as well as some amazing new ones.

Huge props to Claudia Senesac, Krista Vanderborne, Donovan Loft, Jeremy and Amy Melker, Lelia and Rick Ginder, and the huge organizing committee that helped bring us in (above is Amy Melker flanked by Collin and an escaped convict wearing Goslabi shirts). Even before our arrival, this group had held a wildly successful “Run for Darius,” organized by Roxanna Benedixen.

The screening itself was big…REALLY big.

In all, around 1700 people crammed in to see Darius and the gang, making UF the BIGGEST DARIUS GOES WEST SCREENING EVER!!!

The crew was a bit nervous about speaking to such a big crowd. Luckily, they were accompanied by Aidan Sandor from the movie (far left)…

and Albert and Alberta. For our money, Albert and Alberta are the friendliest pair of alligators we’ve ever met. (D still couldn’t quite get over his fear left over from the movie, and he made sure to keep a polite but safe distance.)

With the help of these big-audience veterans, the crew made it through the Q-and-A.

The merchandise rush afterwards, however, was a different story.

Luckily, our hosts made it to the rescue again. (And Jeremy was a great salesman!)

Thanks guys!

The next day, we met for a smaller “Behind the Scenes” presentation with the UF community.

The crowd got the rare chance to see DGW Mom Barbara Smalley on-stage.

Students also shot the breeze with D in a casual setting.

Later that night, we had dinner at Ron and Dianne Farb’s lovely home before catching the UF football game from the luxurious UF President’s box the next day. There, we hung out with UF donors Dr. Earl and Christy Powell and DMD researcher, Dr. Barry Byrne. Thanks, President Machen for inviting us to watch the Gators win in style.

While in Gainesville, we also got to see some pictures of the Melker family’s Lego Darius Goes West RV…

and Lego Darius, complete with trademark backward hat and cocky grin!!! Very cool.

Before heading back to Athens, we were treated to an awesome brunch at the home of Ilona and Carsten Schmalfuss. Thanks for your amazing hospitality, Gainesville!


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