March 7, 1998 was "Michelle Kwan Day" in Lake Arrowhead, California!! Several television stations, including NBC and ABC (who showed footage during Worlds coverage), were there. My friend, tintin, was at the celebration, and here is what she has to say about it:

"First off was the parade. It was a short one. From the Blue Jay Village to the Blue Jay Ice Castle rink (which is the public rink and not the training rink). They had the Rim High (the high school from which Michelle takes correspondence classes; and from where Karen Kwan graduated with honors) school band and cheerleading team lead off the parade, while local residents of Lake Arrowhead proudly displayed banners which congratulated Michelle on her recent accomplishments. Michelle rode in on a carriage drawn by a horse named Rosie. The spectators were standing off to the side waving little American flags and shouting Michelle's name.

When she got off at the Blue Jay Ice Castle rink, everyone was invited inside for the ceremony. Estella and Karen were there, but I couldn't find Danny. There wasn't any skating. But there was a great demonstration of the taiko drums. The taiko drums opened the ceremony. After, Michelle was welcomed in by the Rim High colorguard.

A series of presentations were made. First up, the president of the Lake Arrowhead Chamber of Commerce came up to officially announce March 7 as Michelle Kwan Day. Second, the emcee came up to the microphone and read a couple of letters from people who were invited to come to the celebration but couldn't due to prior engagements. The list was mighty grand. First up was Peter Carruthers, then Peggy Fleming, then Brian Boitano, then Pete Wilson, and finally even President Clinton! The last presentation by the Lake Arrowhead Chamber of Commerce offially made Michelle as the Lake Arrowhead Ambassador.

After winning a world title, those who train at Ice Castle get to have a banner with their name hanging up on the ceiling of the rink. Michelle already has a banner for her accomplishments at the 1996 Worlds. For winning it's first Olympic medal, Michelle gets another banner. As a final exclamation mark to the celebration, Michelle's banner was raised up slowly while the Rim High school band played the national anthem, and also with a great display of fireworks inside the rink.

Now, it didn't end there. While some people actually left, a majority stayed behind at the rink to get Michelle's autograph. But before she did, she got her picture taken with the taiko drum performers and even played with the drums a bit while they were being put away." Thanks so much tintin!!

On the KNBC Channel 4 news, they had a piece about Michelle Kwan day. You can download it in real video format here. It is 1 minute 35 seconds long, and includes footage of the parade, interviews with fans, and an interview with Michelle. If you do not have real video, you can download it at Real Player for free. The clip isn't perfect, but you can see the footage, and hear the piece perfectly. If you do not have Real Video, you can still see just the interview with Michelle on the KNBC news. It is about 21 seconds, and 1.6MB. She shows her silver medal in the clip. If you are interested, download the clip here. Check out this picture from KNBC's broadcast.

Also, check out these pictures from the parade, courtesy of Dante:

Finally, here are two of the letters that were read at the ceremony:

"First of all Michelle, I am extremely proud of you and I truly wish that I was there with you to help celebrate, but I am right there in spirit. Your spectacular talent, courage, and sensitivity are wonderful gifts that you have shared with all of us. You embody what our sport is all about. You have made our sport better by your participation, and I admore your character and determination. I send you my deepest congratulations from the bottom of my heart. Your performance, sportsmanship are an inspiration to all. You are a true beauty to watch on and off the ice."
-PEGGY FLEMING

"Congratulations for winning the silver medal for women's figure skating at the Winter Olympics in Nagano. You have prevailed among the world's premiere athletes--a magnificent reward for years of hard work and perseverance. Your achievement is the source of great pride for the United States and an inspiration to the world. On behalf of all Americans, I commend you for your outstanding accomplishments."
-PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON


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Photo Jay Adeff