Jenny, and her husband Marcus, decided to put together a Gilmore Girls fanfest while on a road trip this past summer. While the event wasn't without its hiccups (most events aren't) it was amazing to see how much time, effort and love went in to making this happen. Amazingly, 1,000 tickets sold out in just 11 hours. They added 200 more tickets the following day and those tickets sold out in 1 1/2 minutes. I was one of the lucky 200.
While this wasn't my first pilgrimage to Washington Depot, the town that the fictional Stars Hollow is based on, this visit was far more fulfilling. In addition to Jenny, Marcus, their friends, the cast and all of us fans, it was the town itself that was so sweetly excited to claim their fictional identity. They were more than welcoming to so many [nutty] fans who wanted nothing more than a weekend in our favorite quirky New England town. Whether they realized it or not, they were being very Stars Hollow about the whole thing.
From the hardware store owner who set up a Luke's Diner style table and chairs in his window and obligingly offered to take photos for GG tourists, to the bookstore that set out any and all Gilmore Girls related books at their front table. Even the woman who's AirB&B we stayed at (a cabin important from Finland--gah!) volunteered at the festival and had purchased a Gilmore Girls boxed set from a garage sale so we could watch the show in the evenings if we so desired. Let me tell ya, she was a total Babette.
In a word, it was charming. And Gilmore Girls was never short on charm.
My pink haired compadre, Andrea, who is one of my best friends in the world is also the same person who introduced me to Gilmore Girls and who pilgramged with me the first time we came to Stars Hollow. We should all be so lucky to have a friend who when you madly text, "Want to go to a Gilmore Girls Fan Fest?" texts back just as madly, "YES!" We are friends for many, many reasons but it doesn't hurt that we share this same geeky love a little TV show that brought us together many moons ago. Also, for the record, when going to any type of festival or crowded setting it really helps to be friends with someone who has bright pink hair. Everyone remembers you, and you can spot them in a crowd immediately.
Now the moment you've all been waiting for, the cast.
The cast was so nice! Posing for picture after picture and taking question after question on all things Gilmore Girls--they were fantastic. Some things I learned about actors: Even at a FanFest they don't want to be called by their character name. Oops! I mean, I get it...they are real people with real lives that extend far beyond the scope of this one character. But in our defense, we were so immersed in the experience it was hard not to want them all to keep playing their roles a little bit. And in fact, many came dressed in character (Gypsy and Jackson for example). Some seemed to mind this a bit more than others (coughSeancough), but again everyone was really nice. And they didn't just pose for pictures, many of them supported a local charity often aligned with their character--Sean Gunn for example was promoting a local cat charity and was selling Team Cat Kirk shirts for the cause, while Jackson Douglass was posing with pumpkins to support local farmers.
One of our most surreal moments came as Andrea and I headed to the media hub to thaw out and charge our batteries (no, our actual phone batteries) and we suddenly found ourselves sitting next to Liz Torres, aka Miss Patty and hanging out with her, hearing stories from her Hollywood days and all I could think was, how is she not the real Miss Patty? She looked at photos of my kids, laughed hysterically at our jokes and all the while we were trying to play it cool. The suddenly Keiko Agena, aka Lane Kim, ran in real quick to grab a piece of pizza and ran out. Later Andrea, who relates most to the character Lane, reminded me that it was exactly like a moment in an early season of GG when Lane runs into the Gilmore household, grabs a piece of pizza (forbidden devil food at her house) and runs out.
The weekend was full of those surreal moments when real life was colliding with our GG fantasy world and I often found it difficult to hold those two moments at the same time. C'mon Sean Gunn, let me just call you Kirk!
Behold, the gazebo. This gazebo is not actually in Washington, but just down the road in New Milford.
Friday evening and Saturday evening both ended with a cast and crew panel. Friday's panel featured dialogue coach George Bell, costume supervisor Valerie Campbell, casting directors Mara Casey and Jami Rudofsky, and writers/producers Stan Zimmerman and Shelia Lawrence. They were later joined by the late Edward Herrman's widow, Star Herrman, and their youngest daughter. You can read more about the behind-the-scenes stories they shared here.
Saturday was a panel of all the cast members being interviewed by none other than the well known podcasters The Gilmore Guys. You can watch part of the panel here.
But I did come away with one overall message:
If a majority vote rules, it's Team Jess all the way!