Edmonton·Audio

Edmonton man uses caricature artist to propose at street festival

Instead of a drawing of the couple together, the artist, in a prearranged plan, had drawn a caricature of the Edmonton man alone, on bended knee, holding a diamond ring with a speech bubble saying: ‘Will you marry me?’

'I was just absolutely swept off my feet with this happening right now'

Mike Croft proposes to Nancy Stanley at the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, with a little help from a caricature artist. 0:58

Nancy Stanley thought she was just out for some fresh air and entertainment at the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival. 

But when she and her partner Mike Croft stopped to see Simon Glassman, a caricature artist and festival staple, the outing on Tuesday took a surprise turn.

"I don't know what Mike would have been thinking because it was taking me forever to realize what was going on," said Stanley, in an interview on CBC Edmonton's Radio Active on Wednesday. "And Simon kept turning the paper and putting it closer and closer and closer."

And Edmonton couple gets engaged with help from an Edmonton caricature artist at the Street Performers Festival. 9:13

Instead of a drawing of the couple together, Glassman, in a prearranged plan with Croft, had drawn a caricature of the Edmonton man alone on bended knee, holding a diamond ring with a speech bubble saying: 'Will you marry me?'

In the dark

"He got finished very quickly and so I was kind of surprised at that," said Croft, who owns a local plumbing and heating business. "And he's telling me to you know tilt my head or turn this way or look this way. But he's not saying anything to Nancy."

Stanley was in the dark. 

"He just seemed to be concentrating on Mike the whole time so I thought, 'All right. He's just got my picture down pat,'" said Stanley. "Apparently he doesn't need me to turn my head."

Not wearing her glasses, Stanley didn't immediately clue in when Glassman turned the drawing around. 

"That looks like you honey," she said, peering closer at the caricature in a moment of the proposal caught on video. 

"My mind's wandering, going, 'I wonder why he didn't do me,'" said Stanley. "Maybe he's going to do me next."

"Then I see something in his cartoon hand like, 'Oh, what's that?'" 

She put her hands over her face as she realized what the speech bubble said, asking "Seriously?" to Croft. 

"Is it a yes?" Stanley's daughter yelled out, as Stanley was overcome with emotion.  

"I was just absolutely swept off my feet with this happening right now and you know, I was crying," said Stanley. 

Rainy weather almost stopped the couple from making it to the festival. But Croft had made sure that he and Stanley, his office manager, had finished all their paperwork the night before.  

"We're going," he said, as Stanley mulled the 60 per cent chance of rain. "Grab an umbrella."

Mike Croft and Nancy Stanley pose at CBC Edmonton studios on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, with the caricature drawn by artist Simon Glassman for Croft's marriage proposal to Stanley. (Thandiwe Konguavi/CBC)

The newly-engaged couple hasn't set a date for the nuptials yet, but they do have a caricature artist in mind for entertainment at the wedding. 

"He was really good with helping me out," said Croft.

About the Author

Thandiwe Konguavi is an award-winning journalist, born in Zimbabwe. She is an associate producer and reporter at CBC Edmonton. Reach her at thandiwe.konguavi@cbc.ca or on Twitter @TandiwayK (https://twitter.com/TandiwayK).

With files from Christopher Martin

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