Charlotte County Florida Weekly

Get set to swoon!

RomaDrama event brings stars of soaps, dramas, seasonal movies and shows from Hallmark



Prepare to swoon!

RomaDrama Live! is coming to the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach Friday through Sunday, June 24-26, with almost two dozen of your favorite actors from romantic Hallmark dramas, seasonal movies and shows.

Lovers of love stories can meet stars like Trevor Donovan and America’s sweetheart Danica McKellar up close in a glamourous party-like setting. This all-access, limited capacity show was postponed in January because of COVID. It just didn’t seem safe — or like much fun — to have to keep your distance from these stellar thespians. Now, fans are encouraged to mix and mingle with actors, engage in one-on-one conversations, take photos, snag autographs, participate in celebrity panels, shop vendor booths, win prizes and collect swag.

For all the wannabe writers who have dreamed of penning a romance novel or screenplay, RomaDrama also will feature award-winning authors and screenwriters like Karen Schaler, a three-time Emmy Award-winner, author and TV writer, participating in panels, workshops, discussions and meet-and-greets.

Maybe you’ve been talking about a girls getaway weekend. This is a great opportunity to spread the love and joy of the romance movie world where nothing bad ever happens. In concert with other fans of the genre, you’ll bask in the positive atmosphere. In fact, having an adventure with a best friend is what inspired RomaDrama Live in the first place.

Entrepreneurs Gabrielle Graf Palmer and Sara Lunsford met “when we were little babies in the industry,” Ms. Graf Palmer said by phone. Now they’re working single mothers who cut their teeth as event planners (now called activators). The duo was chatting over cocktails about the perfect event. Both are lifelong romance fans and thought an event for people who love Hallmark and Netflix romance movies would be the ultimate feel-good event and they hashed out the plan on a cocktail napkin.

With their business savvy and years of experience, it was an easy sell, especially with the success of events like ComicCon and country music’s annual Fan Fair. Ms. Graf Palmer and Ms. Lunsford knew that a dedicated fan base was already in place. The romance/ drama genre has scores of passionate, dedicated fans who appreciate a good story and enjoy seeking respite in a place where kids don’t get head lice and the dog doesn’t throw up on the new carpet just as guests arrive.

Hallmark’s success is undeniable. According to Business Insider, each movie costs about $2 million to make and filming takes a few weeks at most. S&P Global Market Intelligence predicted that the Hallmark network would bring in $390 million in ad revenue alone in 2018. All of that was good news for BriteStar’s signature event. In 2021, Hallmark had so many Christmas movies in the can, it premiered a new film Friday, Saturday and Sunday beginning at the end of October.

Things moved swiftly for the single moms, with a kickoff event planned in Franklin, Tennessee, outside Nashville, and future events planned for Dallas, Atlanta and West Palm Beach.

Then COVID came. Then the Delta strain. Then Omicron. Their company, BriteStar, was floundering before it even learned to fly. Investors backed out. Venues closed and contracts were canceled. But these women are cut from sturdy (yet fashionable) cloth. With their own money, they moved forward. They held the Franklin event in July 2021.

“The post-COVID live event world is a totally different place,” Ms. Graf Palmer said. “People are afraid to engage in real life.”

BriteStar will have its own medical director on site for its RomaDrama events and it’s careful to set procedures to protect the fans who attend. “Our demo skews a little older, and we have cancer patients and others who come with issues. If something happened, we’d feel awful.”

Masks will be encouraged, but not required. The tickets do come with a “hold harmless” disclaimer that says attendees understand there is “an inherent risk of COVID-19 exposure” and assume that risk. Anyone who has health concerns can contact BriteStar Events for more information.

Ms. Graf Palmer says she and her team just want everyone to feel safe.

“RomaDrama is a place for fans, and it’s about us bringing life and love and joy to the fans. By design, these are small, intimate events. These actors understand that it’s their fans that make them successful. These guys are so nice, and so engaged. Loyal fans keep coming back.”

The event also is affordable. Although the best-selling ticket is the top-of-the-line Platinum package that sells for $799.99, you don’t have to tap into your savings to attend. A full-day pass on Sunday is $30.

“You won’t have to spend another dime to meet your favorite stars,” Ms. Graf Palmer said. “And hugs are free.” ¦

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