The Story of a Website
During the last few years Avonlea.hu has become to a really big website, so I've thought I write a summary about the story of this site.
At the beginnings
I first met the series in the beginning of 1994. At that time I watched it on TV only, and I did not know anything about the background. Later when I went to university in 1996, I got in touch with the Internet. One day I was curious, so I searched for the phrase road to avonlea, and I was surprised to see how much interesting information, material and what a huge collection of fansites were on the Net about my favourite series. Then I was totally hooked on Road to Avonlea. :-)
I found lots of unofficial pages, downloaded and collected pictures from those sites, and once when I was bored, I created a wallpaper from pictures collected before. That wallpaper was the precursor of wallpaper1_800x600.jpg. I wanted to publish that wallpaper somewhere, so there was nothing left but to make a website. :-) Another wallpaper and my URL collection of Avonlea pages was also put on that site, then the first version of my The Golden Road to Avonlea website was completed. It was on July 20, 1998.
At the beginning the site was available in English only, and it had only a few visitors a day. Then I started to fill it up with material: pictures scanned from the TV guide, videoclips collected from the Disney website which doesn't exist anymore, new links, information about the series I gathered up from mailing lists etc. During that time the number of visitors started to grow. Although RTA was not on the air in Hungary for a long time, more and more Hungarian fans found my page. After some time demand has arisen for making a Hungarian version. So 8 months after the starting of the website, the Hungarian version was launched on March 24, 1999.
The second version
Time passed, the website was progressing, number of visitors grew continually. I got lots of messages from a lot of Avonlea fans about the website or the series, so this site was visited by numerous people who were interested in Avonlea. The original site started to get confused because of the uploaded stuff, so I decided to arrange it and create a brand new design. At that time I registered the Avonlea.hu domain name, too. After lots of work and several long nights I launched the second version of The Golden Road to Avonlea - Avonlea.hu on Lucy Maud Montgomery's birthday, on November 30, 2001. Of course it was launched in 2 languages: in English and Hungarian.
I didn't expect as big success as it was. :-) I used to deal with Avonlea and the site quite a lot before as well, but after launching the second version, it became a regular activity, this site became a part of my life. The second version also contained a forum. It was visited by only a few foreigner fans (there are several forums, discussion boards all over the Net for Avonlea and Anne fans), but it became very popular with the Hungarian fans, so a tiny community grew up in the forum. One day I got important news: a Hungarian TV channel would rerun the series! It was on air five times a week, so it took about only 5 months to rerun the whole series, 91 episodes, but it brought lots of new (Hungarian) fans to the website. The bigger part of the daily 100-150 visitors of the site were Hungarian fans. Numerous fans visited the forum to discuss about episodes, characters, the world of Avonlea. After a period some fans had an idea of organizing a meeting, where visitors of the site, the forum could meet each other in the real life. So on July 20, 2002 with 20-25 fans (including some dubbing actors) we held our first Hungarian Avonlea Meeting. It was a huge success! Ever since we regularly hold Avonlea meetings, moreover, we arranged 2 Avonlea weekends too.
Hungarian television reran the series again after a while, but in this case they broadcasted RTA a little rarely, so the rerun took 13 months. After this rerun I thought the interest in Avonlea.hu would slack off... but fortunately I was pleasantly surprised. The website remained popular with the international and Hungarian fans. The enthusiasm of my visitors made me develop more and more stuff for the site. So Avonlea.hu started to outgrow itself again. :-) Although I did not tell my plans to my visitors, I decided to renew this website.
Avonlea Convention, the third version of the website
To see how life cannot be too simple, and how Avonlea cannot pass out of our mind, some enthusiastic American Avonlea fans decided to organize a convention on the summer of 2004 in Canada, Toronto. When I first read about this fantastic event, about Avonlea Convention, also known as AvCon, I just dreamed of being there. Then this dream came true as AvCon2004. I think you can imagine what a great experience was to meet other international fans, actors and director of the series. This convention gave me new friends and power to keep up my work, and brought new visitors to Avonlea.hu.
So in autumn of 2004 my idea mentioned above was realized... On November 30, 2004 and a brand new version of Avonlea.hu was complete and launched. This was the third one.
The continuing story, journeys to Canada
With launching the third version of the website the story of Avonlea.hu was not finished yet. Neither my connection to Avonlea. :)
Hungarian line we had more Hungarian Avonlea meetings, then we had Avonlea marathons. On these marathons we watched
6-7 episodes a time because RTA was not on air in the Hungarian TV channels for a long time. And on the
international line we
had AvCons. Attending the conventions in 2005,
2006 and in 2007 was mostly a private thing
but I hope I could interpret towards Sullivan Entertainment that they should count with the Hungarian fans. The first gesture would be
a Hungarian release of Anne of Green Gables DVD...
After several years planning and delay my big Canadian journey dream was realized during the summer of 2007: I could bring 5 other Hungarian fans with myself to Toronto attending Avonlea Convention 2007, then we visited Prince Edward Island with American friends. Just a few Hungarians could come with me but I hope other fans enjoy my photos about PEI. This journey gave me more power and energy to keep on working on this website.
July 30, 2008. 10 years before the first version of this website was launched on this day. (Hahaha! It's needed to pass long long years and a 10th anniversary to discover by an accident that this website was started on July 20, 1998 instead of July 30. I changed the date accidentally during making the second version of Avonlea.hu and since then I related to the wrong date. Just check out the first version!) I got to know several friends, fellows, kindred spirits during these 10 years. I could meet at least 200 people in person during only the Hungrian events and I also have American and Canadian friends from the AvCons. During 10 years my life was changed, this website changed it. Avonlea became part of my life...
Because of the 10th anniversary this website got a new design again and I uploaded some new content and updated old pages. Please welcome the forth version of Avonlea.hu!
I do not know what's going on in my future or in the future of this website. I have ideas and plans and I hope I can work out most of them. ;)
Versions of the site
- The first version - English version: July 20, 1998; Hungarian version: March 24, 1999
- (A previous state of the first version)
- The second version - November 30, 2001
- The third version - November 30, 2004
- The fourth, the current version - July 30, 2008
Web addresses of the site
Although building and running this website is a one-person job, I do not think it could be such a popular and famous website without any help. So I would like to say a big thank you to those persons who have some part in getting this website here 10 years after its beginning.
- to Lucy Maud Montgomery for creating this wonderful world;
- to Sullivan Entertainment and Kevin Sullivan for making such a fantastic series from LMM's work and giving me permission to use their photos, material on this website;
- to every fan I got e-mail from or met personally for the warm and appreciative words, pleasing moments, encouragement, ideas and criticisms;
- to Tim. H. Tran for the first Avonlea fansite I got to know;
- to my American and Canadian friends for the Avonlea Conventions, without them the world of Avonlea might be passed out of mind;
- to Krisa for testing;
- to Polygon for technical help and testing;
- to Kriszta for the Canadian journey ;)