January 14, 2010 in City

Yes they can can: Spokane couple more than halfway to crushing goal

By The Spokesman-Review

They don’t call us SpoCan for nothing.

Especially after all the worldwide attention Andrea Parrish and Peter Geyer have received. I told you about Spokane’s can-do couple last week. Remember? They’re the crazy kids trying to fund a July wedding with proceeds from recycling 400,000 cans.

They figure the money collected from 5 tons of aluminum will pay for their $4,000 medieval-themed wedding in a Hope, Idaho, castle.

Who would have guessed such an offbeat idea would spread faster than swine flu?

Picked up by the Associated Press, the story was beamed out and published in newspapers around the globe.

It was spotlighted on high-traffic Internet news sites.

Radio loved it, too. Andrea said she conducted phone interviews with a dozen American radio shows as well as shows in Canada, South Africa and Venezuela.

CBS sent a camera crew to their North Side home for a crack-of-dawn interview for “The Early Show.”

The couple’s Web site, www.weddingcans.com, received 24,000 hits in just two days from the attention. And that translated into cans – lots and lots of cans.

A check Wednesday afternoon showed that the couple has already reached 65 percent of their goal. That means Peter and Andrea have amassed the equivalent of 263,247 cans in donations and collections.

Their biggest boost, as reported Wednesday, came from a gift of 150,000 cans from the giant Alcoa aluminum corporation.

A TV news magazine has even talked to Peter and Andrea about covering their unorthodox wedding, which features the bride’s bouquet being flung by a catapult contraption called a trebuchet.

What a wild, wild ride.

“We were just blown away,” said Andrea. “We expected some local attention. But I woke up the morning the story appeared and saw that I had 43 messages on my BlackBerry.

“I thought my BlackBerry was broken. The story made the front page of Yahoo and Comcast (Web sites) and it just blew up.”

Andrea, 25, seems well-suited to weather such a media maelstrom.

She is poised beyond her years. Plus her natural good humor has kept her chuckling amid all the insanity.

Although 95 percent of the e-mails have been positive, Andrea said a few grumpy trolls crawled out from under their bridges.

“They wanted to know if we had jobs. Or why don’t we spend our time getting a job.”

For the record, Peter, 29, works at a sign shop. Andrea is a freelance media and communications consultant.

Alcoa bigshots saw what the couple was doing as a perfect way to advance their own quest to raise recycling rates to 75 percent by 2015.

Andrea said Alcoa plans to send a crew to Spokane later this month to conduct interviews with the couple.

Speaking of interviews, Andrea said her funniest encounter came from an irreverent chat on the Jay Thomas XM radio show.

Andrea said she was asked probing questions such as: Are you and Peter hippies? Do you wear underwear? Do you shave your legs?

But any publicity is good publicity, right?

“Hey, I’m not going to complain,” she said. “And if it causes more people to recycle, all the better!”

One last thing. In last week’s column, Andrea mentioned that her parents thought she was nuts.

So I had to ask. After all this do they, um, still hold that opinion?

Andrea laughed.

“They will always think I’m nuts.”

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at dougc@spokesman.com.

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