I'm glad I didn't take my son to the release of the California quarter. What a disappointment!
Last week I could find no information about the release of the quarter. There was nothing on the US Mint web site, nothing on the state's Welcome to California web site, nothing on the Governor's or First Lady's web sites. It took two calls to Washington, DC to find out that the release ceremony would be from noon to 2 pm in the courtyard of the California State History Museum. Nothing on their web site, either.
I slept in an extra hour this morning, lounged around for awhile, then drove to the light rail station and took the train downtown. I figured that at $1.50 each way, I'd probably be saving parking money and I'd definitely be saving the stress of finding a parking place. When I got to the museum at about 10:45 there was already a line a few dozen people long. I took my place in it and waited.
While in the line I heard that the official, invitation-only release ceremony was taking place from 11-noon. Both the Governor and the First Lady were supposedly there, as well as Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore. That really perturbed me: the man who proclaims himself to be The People's Governor had "the people" wait outside (fortunately it's a beautiful day) during the official ceremony and then he took off! When they let us into the courtyard, all that was there was a long table staffed by Wells Fargo Bank employees, selling rolls of California quarters for $10 each (limit 5 until 2pm, limit 10 after 2pm) and illustrated folders with the new quarter for $5 (limit 5 until 2pm, with proceeds going to the Museum). There was no mint director, no governor, no ceremony for us--not even a freakin' oversized cardboard California quarter that we could get our pictures taken next to!!! The only "celebrity" I saw was some mascot, an eagle dressed in Colonial garb with a 3-cornered hat. Oh, and there was a US Mint security officer there, too.
I waited in line for over an hour to buy quarters that I could get at the bank. The People's Governor released a quarter celebrating the great state of California, while the people of that great state waited outside. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll see some of the release ceremony tonight on the 5:00 news.
I expected more.
Update (3:37pm): The video of the official release ceremony can be seen at http://kxtv10.net/storyfull1.asp?id=9165 . We of the unwashed masses weren't even allowed into this room after the ceremony was over! To say I'm disappointed would be a tremendous understatement.