Photo essay: Palin family visits the Mall of America
Bristol Palin, with parents Sarah and Todd, visited the Mall of America Wednesday for a family book-signing. The “Dancing With the Stars” contestant signed copies of “Not Afraid of Life,” while her mom signed copies of her books. Award-winning photojournalist Kathy Easthagen was there to capture these scenes.
Rules for the event were strict, presumably to ensure both the safety of the family and sales of the books. The line started at 5 a.m., and according to rules set up in advance, wristbands — blue, not the typical red associated with the GOP — were distributed, but only to “those who buy Bristol’s book. ”
The rules also stated:
- You must have a copy of Bristol’s book to purchase either of Sarah’s books.
- Each person must be present to get a wristband. They’re not transferable.
- No belongings or bags allowed on stage for the signing.
- No memorabilia will be signed; no personalization allowed.
- No photos on stage; “cameras and cell phones are to be put away once you reach the stage stairs”
- Stay in line. If you leave to use the bathroom or get food for a short period, someone in your party must stay in line at all times.
- If you leave for an extended period, you must go to the end of the line.
Media access was strict too: Photographers were confined to a small space and given only five minutes to shoot.
Autograph seekers were funneled through barricades and cords to get to a table where the Palin’s greeted them. Mall officials say that around 1,500 people showed up over the course of the day, and the Palins signed some 700 books.
Vincent Spinner, 18, of Brownsville, Minn., says he woke up at 2 a.m. to drive from southern Minnesota to meet Palin.Image has not been found. URL: http://images.minnesotaindependent.com/PalinBookSigning29Jun11KE160.jpg
He arrived at 5 a.m., and was third in line to meet the former Alaska governor.
Just behind Spinner, at fourth and fifth in line, were Marie Newman (above) of Shoreview and her 26-year-old daughter-in-law Alex Newman of Blaine.
Having paged through Bristol’s book while in line, and having already read Sarah’s, the Newmans noted that Sarah and Bristol (above) share their values about family, the military and aspirations for the country. Alex and her husband met in Iraq while they were serving in the National Guard.
A woman named Nance (she wouldn’t give her name because she’s involved with political campaigns) came to the event on her way home to the Duluth area after traveling to Pella, Iowa, to see the premier of the new documentary on Palin. Pointing out her bracelet, Nance noted that Sarah Palin has the same one, made by a friend of hers. “I hope that Sarah will be wearing it tonight,” she said. “She wasn’t wearing it last night.”
To see all of Easthagen’s photos from the event, visit the Minnesota Independent’s Flickr page. All photos by Kathy Easthagen.