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Dollapalooza: Goodfellows’ doll-dressers dazzle judges

Neal Rubin
The Detroit News

The topic was whether to eliminate the last bride. It was not a question judge Logan Simowski was prepared to answer.

“I like the Ninja Turtles,” he explained.

Unfortunately for Logan, 4, of Flat Rock, there were none of those among the finalists in the Goodfellows doll-dressing competition.

Fortunately for thousands of little girls in and around Detroit, there were plenty of other worthy contenders on hand, with a truckload more back at the warehouse.

Monday was the Old Newsboy Goodfellow Fund’s annual celebration of talent and generosity — the morning when a few distinguished judges and one fraud decide which dolls are the very best of an absurdly strong group.

The judges with credentials were Tory Pomeroy, 10, of Sterling Heights, Lucy Covert, 3, of Rochester Hills, and Logan, who doesn’t play with dolls but plays with people who do.

The fraud was me. Not only did I raise boys, I haven’t even seen “Frozen,” whose characters are disproportionately represented among the 10,000 dolls that will wind up beneath the Christmas trees of needy 4- to 9-year-old girls.

It’s the 100th year of the Goodfellows living up to their motto, “No kiddie without a Christmas.”

That’s a full century of a corps of volunteers delivering holiday cheer, and parents and children realizing that no matter how thin things might be at home, strangers care.

The Goodfellows will provide, and police will distribute, 35,000 packages this year to kids aged 4-13 in Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Harper Woods and River Rouge.

Older kids will get headphones and clothes they actually like, among other things. Younger kids’ assortments will include toys and Tootsie Roll banks. Everyone gets books.

The Goodfellows, it’s hoped, will ultimately get enough contributions to cover their $1.25 million budget. That works out to $35.71 per kid, and the money is all in the boxes; the organization has exactly one full-time employee.

To help, drop a check to Goodfellows Fund, P.O. Box 44444, Detroit MI 48224 or visit

To gawk at the 150 finalists, the blue-ribboned top 10 and the exalted top three, peer through the window until Dec. 2 at 123 Monroe Street, between CK Mediterranean Grill and Hot Sam’s downtown.

To go to Tory’s wedding, you’ll have to wait a bit. She’s fond of bridal gowns, but as for how old she should be when she gets married, “I don’t know,” she said. “A thousand?”

And the winner is...

The dolls she was admiring come from the factory with minimal options, meaning briefs and shoes. Goodhearted people sew, crochet, spot-weld or buy 10,000 outfits.

The best in show this year came from Gina Gangnier of Brighton, who also won in 2012 with a Taylor Swift ensemble. Her 2014 entry was a flower child with long blond hair — which required plucking out the hair that came as original equipment — and a headband, ruffled skirt, and matching faux fur boots and scarf.

Gangnier, a pediatric nurse, tinkered with her doll for two weeks.

“I like to be creative,” she said, and little girls like to be imaginative.

As always with the Goodfellows, everybody wins.