Westarctica's 20th Anniversary Celebration
Westarctica's 20th Anniversary Celebration is an event that occured on 6 November 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The purpose of the event was to celebrate Westarctica's 20 years of history as an independent nation-state. The theme of the event was "20 Years on Ice."
Planning for the event began during Royal Council meetings in 2019. Most ministers favored an extravagant event, tentatively called the "Glacier Ball." However, due to the events of 2020 and the COVID-19 restrictions on travel and public gatherings, it was later decided to tone down the event and make it a small gathering of devoted Westarctican citizens. Details of the event were finalized and the location of Charlotte, North Carolina was chosen in June 2021. Registration was opened and announced to citizens on 18 July 2021.
On the morning of 2 November 2021, on the actual day of Westarctica's 20th Anniversary, Grand Duke Travis issued a Royal Decree announcing the 20th Anniversary Honors and Appointments list. Later that evening, he hosted a State Visit with Queen Carolyn of Ladonia at the Minus5 Ice Bar in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event set a number of milestones for in-person gatherings hosted by Westarctica.
- The largest in-person gathering of active government officials in the nation's history with seven (the previous record was four).
- The largest in-person gathering of citizens in the nation's history with fourteen (the previous record was eight).
- The largest in-person gathering of current and former heads of Government and State in the nation's history with four individuals (the previous record was two).
- The largest attendance for an event that Westarctica has ever hosted (this is expected to be eclipsed when the nation hosts MicroCon in 2022).
The 20th Anniversary Celebration was held in the Queen City Ballroom at the Hilton Garden Inn - Charlotte Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. Although festivities officially began at 5:00pm, the doors were opened an hour early for attendees to meet and greet one another in an informal setting.
Before the event began, a display with artifacts and memorabilia from Westarctica's history were placed on display for attendees to view and interact with. Among these artifacts were items from the Crown Jewels of Westarctica, a selection of stamps and coins that had been issued from 2005 onward.
The Duke of Moulton-Berlin brought a large sheaf of papers and documents from the early days of the Achaean Territory of Antarctica, including two extremely rare visas issued in 2003 for the Consul-General of the Achaean Territory and the Viscount of Whitmore. He also had a letter sent by Prince Albert II of Monaco to Grand Duke Travis in 2005. This letter was thought lost, but was added to the display as an important piece of the nation's history.
A formal buffet dinner service was provided for all attendees. They dined upon a choice of chicken or salmon, with wild rice, roasted potatoes and vegetables. Dessert was served following the dinner and consisted of a choice between carrot cake or chocolate cake.
Guests overwhelmingly preferred the carrot cake, which contained a heavy portion of raisins and rich cream cheese frosting.
Following dinner, Grand Duke Travis gave a keynote address, speaking for 20 minutes about the past 20 years of Westarctica. He touched on the struggles of the early years, and highlighted the accomplishments of some of the earliest citizens, including the Duke of Moulton-Berlin and the Duke of Waesche.
Orders and honors ceremony
A kneeling chair was placed at the front of the room and the Grand Duke bestowed orders of chivalry upon nearly all of the attendees. These included:
- One Knight in the Order of the Orca
- Knights Commander and a Knight of the Order of the Snowflake
- Companions in the Noble Order of Westarctica
These investitures were conducted using the Plantagenet Dagger, which previously had only been used in induction ceremonies inside the borders of Calsahara.
Around 8:30pm, the lights were dimmed and the Grand Duke played two videos, the first was a music video for the song "Don't Want to Miss You," which had recently been released as a charity single by Griffith Frank to benefit Westarctica.
The second video was a montage of videos and pictures from the past 20 years. It was set to a choral rendition of "Go West" by The Village People.
After the videos were completed, Prime Minister Farmer gave a presentation on his vision for the future of Westarctica and shared some upcoming developments regarding the Principality of Kolios. He then bestowed the Friendship Cross of Kolios upon all attendees.
Then, the Count of Discovery Ridge was invited to say a few words about his new position as Executive Director of Westarctica, Inc.
Assessment of the event
Overall, the 20th Anniversary Celebration was a fantastic success. There were no mishaps, no drama, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. A professional photographer from the local area was on hand to document the night's happenings, and he, too was awarded the Friendship Cross of Kolios by Prime Minister Farmer in recognition of his excellent photographic services.