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Pillsbury Doughboy Collectors Meet in Springfield



If you type in the words "Pillsbury Doughboy" on e-bay, fifteen pages of Doughboy collectables will appear on your computer screen, featuring everything from oven mitts to neckties to wallpaper.

But before online auction like e-bay were popular, collectors searching for Doughboy paraphernalia met through a club called "The Lovin' Connection Collector's Club," formed in 1993 by Doughboy enthusiast Lil West.

The club now boasts a membership of more than 200, and every three years, they hold a convention in Springfield.

Lil West, who lives in Oswego, Kansas, says she started collecting Doughboys because they reminded her of spending time with her children.

Pillsbury introduced the giggling "Poppin' Fresh," the baking company's giggling spokesman, on television commercials in 1965. Since then, the company has produced hundreds of promotional items, made available by order forms on the backs of Billsbury products.

West bought her first Doughboy-- a doll-- in 1986. Her collection quickly grew, and after a few years, an article about it appeared in an antique magazine. In the article, West mentioned that she was interested in contacting other collectors. A few months later, West formed The Lovin' Connection as a club for Pillsbury Doughboy collectors nationwide.

Through the club, her collection has grown to 800 pieces. West says her favorites are those given to her by loved ones, but there are certain rare pieces that all Doughboy collectors are after.

Members of The Lovin' Connection met on the last weekend in June at the Ramada Inn, where they talked, shared, and most of all, traded Doughboys.

Tables heavy with Doughboy salt and pepper shakers, kitchen towels, and t-shirts lined the convention hall, as people took turns taking their picture with someone in an life-sized inflatable Doughboy suit. Everyone is looking for pieces they don't already have in their collection.

Although most members of The Lovin' Connection favor the Doughboy, some are more fond of other Pillsbury promotional characters, which the club refers to as "cousins."

Four couples at the convention had driven in from California. Others were from as far away as Michigan, North Carolina and Texas. When asked why they had traveled so far for the Pillsbury Doughboy, most club members simply shrugged and said, "It's fun!"But Donna McDaniel, from Flint, Michigan, is more philosophical. Lil West echoes her sentiments.

Pillsbury has never formally acknowledged The Lovin' Connection Collectors Club, although Lil West holds out hope that they will. In the meantime, West is working on a comprehensive catalogue of Doughboy products.

From the Ramada Inn, I'm Jenny Fillmer for KSMU News.