TBOX #7 – The Triumphant Return (2002)

In 2002, Mr. Festa returned full time to Chicago, moved to Wrigleyville, and re-dedicated himself to making TBOX a blowout extraordinaire! The 7th TBOX featured the first badges, first frame, first stickers, and first cereal shots!

The First TBOX Badge and First TBOX Frame, 2002

View All The Photos from TBOX7 on Facebook, Click Here.

In 2001, TBOX carried on for a 6th Year despite Mr. Festa temporarily living in California, and the after-effects and sad atmosphere that remained from 9/11. But the show went on…

The following is written in first person as narrated by TBOX Founder Christopher Festa.

In the Spring of ’02, I was still in exile in California, until a few fortuitous twists of fate not only brought me back to Chicago on May 8th of that year, but to a new home, house-sitting for my friend Craig in the heart of Wrigleyville, at Clark and Newport. Coming back to Chicago, I sincerely wondered if anyone would remember me or if I was too old to keep partying. But everywhere I went, people yelled “Hey, it’s the TBOX Guy! When is TBOX this year? I had a blast at TBOX! I met you at TBOX!” It was pretty cool.

The First Cereal Shot Ever Recorded, December 2002

Moving from 2,000 miles away from Wrigleyville to 20 feet from my doorstep, I was determined with a VENGEANCE to make TBOX7 the BIGGEST and BEST EVER, a blowout of epic proportions. And I might have kind of lost my job because of how much time I was spending on it…

With 10 people staying at my house, we all went out the night before, where I strenuously avoided doing shots, and managed to get in bed by 1am. A month earlier, thanks to my friends Amir and “Red-Haired” Michelle, we had decided to try this new thing… making badges for TBOX Participants… and in my living room, my friends and I used the hand-laminating machines to prepare over 1,500 badges, then hole-punch them, and cut pieces of yarn to put them around peoples’ necks! Thanks especially to my friend Kate who ran to Walgreens to buy more string in the middle of the day! This started a long-running trend of me putting all my friends to work 🙂

The First TBOX Badge in 2002

Once the badges were made, a question immediately came up… who should get Badge #1? Like NASA having to decide between Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to be the first man on the moon, I made the call to reward my good friend, LA Michelle, with being the first woman to be number one at TBOX, and the first person ever with the Badge #1. Sadly, despite numerous pleadings, she has not been back to TBOX since, as of 2011. She told me she wanted to go out on top, and since you can’t be #1 twice, this may have been her last TBOX…

LA Michelle, The First Badged
TBOX Number One

TBOX7 dawned to a crisp and sunny day. As we gathered the last of the badges and other preparations, we began two traditions that would last through TBOX11:

1) Anyone who wanted could meet at my house beforehand