Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders 25th Anniversary Celebration

Three princess anniversary celebrations within roughly two weeks? Yes, please! Today marks 24 years since one of my favorite cartoons of all time, Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, debuted. My friends over at the Jewel Riders Archive are kicking off a year-long 25th anniversary celebration in a big way. Instead of attending a panel or screening, I celebrated this princess anniversary with a Skype party in which I got together with the Jewel Riders Archive, the founding member of the original Avalon fansite, and a prominent fan artist from the early days of the fandom to record a podcast where we discussed our favorite memories of the show. It was a huge honor to be included in this elite group of fans. The world of Jewel Riders has been a major inspiration for many of the stories I have written in the past, leading up my most recent one, The Stolen Jewel. The Princess Blog recently celebrated its two year anniversary, and I owe some of its inspiration to the Jewel Riders Archive, which continues to inspire fans to be proactive with their passions as they celebrate their fourth magical year today.

The beautiful piece pictured above was commissioned to celebrate the four-year anniversary of the Jewel Riders Archive. They are generous enough to share this art with all of us by releasing scores of custom-made merchandise available from RedBubble. I couldn't resist ordering a t-shirt of this gorgeous image. Of all the toys and knickknacks available in the '90s featuring Princess Gwenevere and her friends, there were very few options in terms of clothing outside of a gorgeous pair of Velcro sneakers. As a passionate fan, I was determined to show off my love of the fantasy, adventure, and feminine mystique of the series even back then. As a young Jewel Rider, I used special iron-on transfer paper to create my own screen-printed t-shirt of a collage I put together with all of my favorite Magical Girls including the Jewel Riders, the PowerPuff Girls, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and a few others with the phrase "Girl Power" at the top. I have no idea what happened to this shirt since then, so I am glad to have a new way to show off my love of this tragically underrated cartoon.

Other memories I have of my Jewel Rider days include playing with the fashion dolls in their party dresses and their jewel armor as well as piecing together my own Princess Gwenevere and Tamara costumes out of fabric scraps and old clothing. I made my own enchanted jewels for the Sun Stone, Heart Stone, Moon Stone, and Forest Stone using poster board, magic markers, and Velcro backing to attach and detach them from the costumes. The internet was still a novelty in the '90s, so I was excited to discover Stormy's Avalon fansite on my dial-up AOL connection. I emailed her about my love for the show, and she sent me VHS tapes containing of the episodes that I had missed on TV. Natalie and I submitted fan creations to her site, including artwork and fanfiction. You can listen to the three of us discussing our memories with the two founders of the Jewel Riders Archive in the anniversary podcast below. Beware that it's quite long!

There is some crossover between this anniversary celebration and the one I attended last week for The Princess and the Frog. Believe it or not, Ronnie of the Jewel Riders Archive was the friend I met up with there! It's so neat to connect with people from different parts of the world through fandoms. When I was a young Jewel Rider obsessing over the show, I lived with my parents in New Jersey. When I moved to Los Angeles by myself with no personal connections, I felt less alone because I had so many friends I met through various online princess groups who happened to live in the area. That's one of the great things about celebrating shows and movies that we still love so many years. It brings people together from all different walks of life. That's my favorite thing about blogging and using social media. It's also a fitting theme of the Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders series. A common catch phrase from the show is "Friends together, friends forever!"

There are so many princess anniversary celebrations this year that it's hard to keep track of all of them! The Swan Princess will have a "pink carpet" screening of the movie on October 24th that I hope to attend to celebrate its 25th anniversary as well. Final Fantasy VIII, which contains my favorite Video Game Princess, Rinoa Heartilly, just released a remastered edition to celebrate its 20th anniversary. I recently purchased the PS4 version and became hopelessly addicted to it all over again even worse than Kingdom Hearts III (which also released a new content trailer yesterday). Final Fantasy VIII was a huge staple of my teenage years. I think it's the perfect game for princess fans because it's a modern love story that focuses heavily on romance with great characters and lots of magic. Knowing that 24 years have passed since my childhood obsession and 20 years since my teen obsession is an unfortunate reminder that I'm getting older, but it's nice to relive happy memories of simpler times.


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