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Green Tree cookie cutter convention will have all shapes and sizes

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For the Signal Item
Lynn Block Maguire of Carnegie arranges some of her favorite cookie cutters, a comic strip themed 'Blondie and Dagwood,' set Friday, June 13 at her home where she has 10,000 cutters.

Cookie cutter connoisseurs will converge next week at the 20th Cookie Cutter Collectors' Club Convention.

The national club is made up of cookie cutter collectors and creators alike, and a convention is held every two years near the hometown of the then-president.

This year, the Cookie Cutter Collectors' Club Convention will be held June 26 to 28 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh — Green Tree and headed by club President Lynn Block Maguire of Carnegie.

“There are (cookie) cutters everywhere,” Maguire said when describing the convention. The Pittsburgh club contingent is called the Gingerburghs.

There are also cookie cutter speakers, vendors and a show-and-tell session. And, of course, there are cookie breaks. Each attending member brings at least four dozen cookies. The theme this year is camping.

The last time a convention was held in the Pittsburgh area was 2004. The last convention, in 2012, was held in Fort Mitchell, Ky.

The club began in 1972, with five Women's Circle magazine readers exchanging cookie cutter information. The group grew to 50 by 1976. There are currently more than 200 members. Around 105 will attend the convention this year.

“Our membership is older, so to get about half of the membership coming is great,” Maguire said.

With just a handful of Gingerburgh members, the convention planning has been in the works since the 2012 convention.

“It started out as a notebook and file folder,” Maguire said. “When we had an idea, we'd put it in the notebook. The past year is when we've gotten serious about planning.”

Each convention includes a “scramble,” where members put their excess cookie cutters out for sale. Occasionally, there are auctions, but, Maguire said, those are only when someone wills their collection to the group.

Kay Johnson, curator of the National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum in Joplin, Mo., and a CCCC member, said the appeal of cookie cutters often is connected to nostalgia.

“I think it's tied to memories of home,” she said. “They bring back good feelings of family and tradition passed down from generation.”

She said members in the Midwest region often bring children and grandchildren with them.

“They are shared memories,” she said. “People will come into the museum and say, ‘Oh, my grandmother had one like that,' or ‘Mom had a cutter like that.' ”

She said history is another draw.

“There's a desire to preserve and document the cutters,” she said. “It's going back and seeing what was interesting to people in different years.

“Everybody has their own reasons,” she said.

Maguire's collection, which she keeps in plastic storage drawers, reaches 10,000 cookie cutters. It's not the most in the club, she said — one member has nearly 40,000.

Maguire said she began collecting the cutters seriously around 1996.

“Before then, it was just simple: ‘Oh, this one's cute, this one's nice, a cutter here, a cutter there,'” she said. “Then it became, ‘Cutters — I need them all.'”

The three-day convention is open to the public from 9 to 11:30 a.m. June 28, when they can visit vendors, get club information and peruse the cookie cutters.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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