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Home Features Inside the Bubble Days of our Lives blows into the Windy City

Days of our Lives blows into the Windy City

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Days hits Chicago Home and Garden Show (c)NBCDays of our Lives stars put their hands (literally) in the dirt at the annual Flower and Garden Show at Chicago's famous Navy Pier.

Bryan Dattilo (Lucas) and Matthew Ashford (Jack) were potting flowers. Deidre Hall (Marlena) was talking about her heirloom tomatoes, and then came the meet and greet with the fans, who were lined up by the hundreds on a beautiful sunny day in the Windy City.

Each purchased the sensational book "Days of our Lives:45 years- A Celebration in Photos," which the stars autographed. The book is often referred to as the "coffee table book."

The Home and Garden show was held March 10-18, and the stars from Days of our Lives kicked off the first weekend (March 10,11).  Also on hand for the festivities inside Festival Hall were Kristian Alfonso (Hope), Bill and Susan Hayes (Doug & Julie), Shawn Christian (Dr. Jonas), and Lisa Rinna, (Billie).

"I have to tell you...this book is remarkable," Alfonso said. "Anyone that looks at the book will not only get a sense of what goes on every day, but you will feel like you were given a grand tour of the set."

Chicago is one of the first stops of a multi-city tour for the "Days of our Lives" cast. They will be visiting cities throughout the year. There is no word yet, or confirmation on the annual meet and greet at Universal in Hollywood.

Bryan Dattilo (Lucas, Days of our Lives) at the Home and Garden show in Chicago (c)Soapdom/Carol Kozlowski

The annual Flower and Garden show in Chicago is much anticipated. Not only is it a chance to forget about winter and think Spring, but it's a great way to get out and see new ideas and browse different themes.

This year the popular theme was "Home-style Drama from Days of our Lives." Imagine seeing Alice Horton's living room, with actual props and que cards? It's every fan's dream. And then the famous wedding gowns worn by Arianne Zucker (Nicole), Suzanne Rogers (Maggie), Deidre Hall (Marlena), and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe). They were breath taking, as each was on a mannequin with the actresses photo next to it.

Beth Ann Lewis, a fan for 40 years who traveled from Minnesota to be here, said that seeing the stars and being able to talk to them was a dream, but the wedding gowns were a treat to see, as she has been through all of their weddings over the years.

"Oh my God!! Deidre Hall's gown is gorgeous, and who can forget Maggie's wedding?"  Lewis exuberated. "Can you imagine...meeting the stars, seeing the sets, and the gowns. This is better than winning the lottery. Wait! I think I have."

Marlena's wedding dress (c)Soapdom/Carol Kozlowski

The stars were not only gorgeous looking, but were gracious to the fans, taking pictures, answering questions, making the fans feel like meeting their favorite characters while shopping at Horton Square on the show.

One lady even asked Deidre Hall to stand-up and give a striking pose. Of course...the good TV doc replied with a big laugh and smile, and away the camera clicked. It was a pose like out of a fashion magazine.

Hall also chatted about her two new books, "Kitchen Close-Up" and "How Does She Do It?" Telling fans how she really enjoyed writing these helpful tip books.

She also shared her love for Chicago and its fabulous shopping, and she admitted that she is in love with Garrett's popcorn, a staple in Chicago. Also (Oprah's fave). "God! I love this stuff. It is so good,"Hall chuckles. "I mean this is good. I have a shopping bag full to take home."

Shawn Christian (Dr. Jonas) enjoys always coming back to Chicago. "I lived here for a while. I worked here, and I love this town. This Garden show is fantastic. So much to do. So much to see."

Lisa Rinna (Billie), Shawn Christian (Daniel), Soapdom's Mark Wilows, Kristian Alfonso (Hope) (c)Soapdom/Carol Kozlowski

Kristian Alfonso had her line of beautiful jewelry on display, and I must say that each piece looks absolutely stunning. She decided to create the jewelry after many fans started writing and asking about the pieces that she wears.

"Anywhere I go people want to know about my jewelry, or they take the time to write me, "Alfonso said. "  So I decided to create this line, which was a slow process, but is finally off the ground, and celebrating its fifth anniversary. And as for my jewelry... I always picked my own that I wear on the show and appearances."

With the recent cancellation of the many soaps, Soapdom put the question to the stars on their show (Days). "Well...I have to tell you, times have changed, but I believe Days is out to win", said Susan Seaforth Hayes. "Like everything and every body the economy has hit us too. No more rehearsal time, it's go and do. Everything is packaged, but yet realistically somehow it is done to perfection."

Real life husband, Bill Hayes, agrees. "Remember when I sang on the show? I loved it. So did the viewers, but the times are different.  Licensing fees are ridiculous. Before a song cost $150.00. Today it can be as high as $2,500.00," he said. "Also the shows are racy. We need to bring back the love, and I'm so glad Days is trying to recreate middle America, the good times with the new Horton set. We need Main St. U.S.A."

Matthew Ashford (Jack), who recently returned to the show is happy as ever to be back after a few years away. "Boy you bet! I have approached the powers that be so many times, but nothing. Then one day...the call came. I was estatic," Ashford said. "I admit, I would like to see Jack change a bit, from being less corny and stop playing cat and mouse and get down to business."

Bryan Dattilo (Lucas) is another happy camper. "I have to tell you. I was gone for two years, and doing construction for Sony in Hollywood. Just waiting for the phone to ring to come back,"  Dattilo adds. "I was tuning in to see if at least Lucas is mentioned. And he was! I was like...that's a good thing. I will tell you...I experienced the real world, and Salem is a cushiony place to be. Wew!"

Deidre Hall (Marlena) at Garrett's Popcorn (c)NBC

Finally. Lisa Rinna (Billie) also agrees. Rinna and husband Harry Hamlin are a Hollywood power couple, but enjoy working. "Oh Yes! Especially Harry. We need to have Harry working,"  Rinna jokes. "I have been back on and off, but I hope this time with longevity. The hours are great to be a mom, or do what I need to do, and Days is just a great place to be. Also two working actors in a family make it good. In this business, one never knows."

For the record...the Chicago Flower and Garden show fits for these actors, as each admitted to having a garden and loving it. Kristian Alfonso, who has such a busy life still wants a flower garden around her home. "I admit I have professional help, but I pick everything out and oversee it," she said. "Just to see it grow and watch the beauty is something to see. And flower and garden shows are a wonderful place to get ideas."

Matthew Ashford agrees, "I love it. And I love gardening. Especially in California where everything just grows. I enjoy the trimming back (pruning)."

Kristian Alfonso's Jewelry Line:

Deidre  Hall's Books:




More on the Chicage Home & Garden Show

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