Before we start sharing our plans for the Park during the first few months of 2016, Truck and I wanted to recap some of the highlights from this past year:
- When we opened the gates after our break last February, we were well on our way to putting on the final touches to the ‘new’ ARMENELOS region. Though many missed (and still miss) the Greek village of ‘Santorini’ above the waters of Armenelos, we hope we made up for its retirement, in part, with the beautiful woodlands, meadows, rocky seaside bluffs that can now be found there. More added features to that sim included the Chinese Garden Pavilion, a new cuddle boat ride (just south of the Pavilion) and of course the remodeling of The Dolphin Café. The cafe’s new woodland theme has made it more popular than ever as a place to hang out, dance or attend one of our live music concerts.
- The open space sim of LONG LAKE was added between ARMENELOS & MISTY MOUNTAINS … creating a land bridge between the two for exploring on foot or horseback.
- We also did some major work on the CALAS GALADHON sim including reworking the park areas east and south of Main Street, a new bridge to the DIMRILL DALE sim and the addition of a new live music venue ‘The Garden Terrace’.
- A very busy year when you add to that the creation of our special builds for Halloween and Christmas …. ‘VALYRIA‘ and ‘WHITE CHRISTMAS’.
Truck, Kerena, Alicia and Romie can testify that even though there were times when I was pulling out hairs right and left trying to get all completed in time … the builds turned out more wondrous and successful than either of us could have imagined. Both were in the Destination Guides ‘Editor’s Picks’ for the entire month they were up. ‘VALYRIA’ had over 8000 visitors, with nearly 6,000 of those ‘unique’ or first time visitors. ‘WHITE CHRISTMAS’ blew that out of the water with almost 20,000 total visitors with nearly 13,000 of them ‘unique’.
We even caught several Lindens taking a peek 🙂 What is particularly humbling for us is that for the 5 months (August through December) that we rented the sim (the sim is not part of the Park estate), the total cost of almost $1500 US was fully covered from the donations of its visitors and guests at the live music performances at The Christmas Pavilion! Everyone was so very generous not only in donations but with their kind words of appreciation. In the end it’s those words that mean the most during those moments when we question why we are still doing this work after 6 years. Thank you!
2015 CALAS DONATIONS (the 12 Park sims)
We opened the Park in Nov 2009 and for the first 4 years were fortunate enough to carry the full cost of the park lands. Our wish was to keep it this way. We avoided even putting up a tip jar the first year. But as time went on and ‘CALAS’ grew, it became clear this was becoming harder for both of us.
As most of our Calas Announcement Group members and followers of the blog know, since March 2014 we have had to rely on donations from visitors to cover a large part (60%) of the monthly cost in Tier to LL with Truck and I picking up the remaining 40%.
Below is the current monthly cost breakdown of the park sims as well as a graphic on how close to the 60% of the monthly cost goal we came from February through December 2015.
Although the 60% of the total cost goal from donations was not always reached this year the support has and continues to be humbling. I don’t believe there are many estates or venues on the grid that can claim the amount of dedicated supporters that Calas has. Whether one is able to show support though donations, words of appreciation, attendance at our events or just by coming by and paying a visit, the interest and love that others show of Calas is really what keeps us doing what we do.
As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve recently had to deal with some health issues that are preventing me from spending as much time at the keyboard, making it a struggle at times to keep up with the work that I’ve been use to and loved for the past 6 years. When you add the considerable financial commitment for Truck and I, it does indeed become clear the time has come to strike more of a balance between RL & SL in 2016.
What does this mean right now when it comes to our beloved Calas? In the big picture, probably not as much as some may have feared. We do feel that striking the balance will mean reducing the number of sims to a more manageable (and affordable) level this year. Doing so will … at least after the change is complete … mean less work, stress and worry over funding. We’ll still need some support through donations to keep things running … our goal is still 60% of total cost, but at least the pressure of meeting the very large monthly tier from Linden Lab will be manageable for us when donations are down.
It has been a difficult and somewhat painful decision to make a choice between which sims will go. The decision has not been easy. We love them all as our kids and know that some of you may be disappointed that one of the sims you enjoy will not be there when the gates are reopened. We are hoping that once the improvements and changes to the Park are complete they will make up for it.
The sims that we’ll be letting go this month are what we have referred to as the ‘southern sims’ – Eryn Vorn, South Farthing & Glanduin.
With its farm and pastures, Glanduin is the one that Truck and I will miss the most. We do have some new plans in the works for Mirromere, Grey Havens & Belegaer … keeping the same feel of each but hopefully help make up for any loss you may feel.
We feel very fortunate to be able to keep the remaining sims in place. You can feel confident that Calas will remain the jewel that it is.
Once you get back, depending on how much can be done in one month, there may be some disruption in the Cuddle Boat and Balloon tours as well as ‘men at work’ signs around 🙂 We’ll do our best to get them back up and running as soon as possible.
We’ll continue to keep you updated as the work progresses.
Have a wonderful and safe start to your New Year!
Ty & Truck / Calas Galadhon Park Sims