November 11, 2014

A Long-Expected Party

Finally 5 o'clock arrived and we all either drove or walked to the party field which was about a mile and a half away.  There a hobbit house had been set up, which was used very effectively for probably thousands of photos! Every elf, dwarf and hobbit had a phone camera in hand! I didn't know any of these people at the time, but we have a Facebook group so now I do know some of them. At the party, however, I just enjoyed all the fantastic costumes.

The gentleman standing on the right in the back is Tim White, 
the one who organizes all this. 

These precious ladies were from California. 
The two on the ends are twins, and the one in the middle is their sister.

Here I am with Amy and her friend Clare, and some hobbit gentleman 
whom we invited into the picture just for fun:

Here is our Aragorn, who actually is from Manitoba, Canada. 
Unfortunately this wasn't the best picture of him, but it's the only one I got.

Near the hobbit house, under a great spreading tree, 
a party area had been set up with electric paper lanterns and lights. 

Folk congregated and chatted. A catered meal was served from within a tent.

A group photo was taken before it got dark.

I heard that at the first ALEP six years ago, a Black Rider came galloping up to the party on a black horse and scared everyone to death. I can imagine that might not have been very welcome!

Our wonderful musicians played and sang funny songs....

Those who wanted to could take part in the fashion show and show off their costumes 
(and some were just beyond amazing):

A homemade dwarf dance was performed:

Simple group dances were done to the live music:

And most importantly, Mr. Baggins was roasted by his friends Gandalf, Aragorn, Thorin, and Balin, and by his nephew Frodo (who told us that his Uncle Bilbo gets up every day at the crack of 2). The laughs were endless!

Here a Lord of the Rings trivia game is being played. 
(Do you know how long Frodo and the other hobbits stayed in Rivendell??)

I  know this is a very fuzzy picture, but I was fascinated with the elf maiden's lantern.
 The light kept changing colors!

Finally, the hobbit choir gathered to serenade us and bring the party to a close. It would be hard to describe how beautiful it all was, the haunting melodies accompanied by 
the singing of many cicadas under the starlight. It was pure magic.

Honestly, my heart was captured by just those few hours. I think Tolkien would have approved. 
And, three years seems an ENDLESS time to wait until Mr. Baggins' next birthday party!

An Hour's Drive, A World Away (or: There and Back Again)

Saturday, September 26, was marked "Shire Day" on my calendar. That's not what it was really called, but close enough for me. I was attending an event which I had only heard of over the summer from my friend Amy. It's called ALEP (A Long-Expected Party) and it only happens once every 3 years. This was only the third time it had happened so far. So if I was going to see what it was about, I had to go NOW and no backing out.

Foolishly, I only started on a costume the night before. I was going to make it very simply and whip it up on my sewing machine, but after only sewing 2 seams for me, the machine broke. I was about ready to cry. I knew the people at this event would be wearing costumes and that I'd enjoy it ten times more if I had a costume, too. I went to bed, then got up super early and rushed to Wal-Mart to get some iron-on seam tape. With my pinking shears, the iron-on tape, and a few hastily hand-stitched seams, I had me a costume. It meant I had to skip the morning workshops, which was a shame (more than I suspected at the time), but at 10:30 I emerged from my apartment triumphant, with a hobbit costume and 'do:

The drive to where this event was taking place took an hour. I had never been to Shaker Village in Harrodsburg before. It was so remote that I kept fearing I had gotten lost. When I finally arrived, 
I realized why it had been chosen to represent the Shire. It was incredibly beautiful.

One of the old brick buildings had this sign posted outside:

I wandered down the stairs into the whitewashed cellar, which had been turned into a pub, 
and found these interesting decorations:

Apparently, if you attend the whole 4-day event (which I could probably best describe as a Lord of the Rings full immersion camp!), you come here at the end of the day and there is music, laughter, drinks and fellowshipping far into the night.

Although I saw various costumed people wandering about, most were in workshops when I got there, and I couldn't at first find my friend whom I had come to join. 
I walked around the grounds, admiring the scenery:

The central building had a staircase like this going off to the right of the inside entryway, 
and an identical staircase going off to the left of the same entryway:

Finally Amy, her mother and I met up there at lunchtime, which we ate in the Trustee's Office, a dining room in which really good food is served, 
much of it coming from the gardens right there at the Village.

After lunch we wandered back to where the hobbit choir was practicing for the evening's entertainment. We were standing out in this hallway, marked by simple Shaker design:

One of the doors had this mysterious sign on it. I think these are dwarf runes. 
I have found an alphabet online, but haven't had time to decode it yet! 

I peeked into the room where the choir was rehearsing, and noticed that some people there had elf ears. There were probably 30 or so people in there. I wish I had taken a picture of the group. I took videos so I could remember how beautiful they sounded (they were singing songs from the LOTR movies), but no pictures except this one (and for some reason I can't post videos on my blog):

I started to notice the interesting footwear all around me as well.

Hobbit feet!

I caught my breath as I watched this lady ascend the stairs; 
she looked like she had stepped right out of the movie.

Later I asked her if I could get a proper photo! Galadriel!

Also, there were musicians downstairs in the pub, practicing for the evening as well. They were playing fun drinking-type songs. I wondered whether they were local and whether they played and sang together regularly. I now know the autoharp player was from Alabama, the cello player from New York, the violinist from Pennsylvania, the bodhran player from New Orleans, and the flautist from Ohio. There were more, but I don't know where they were from. People had come from all over the US and Canada to attend this event. There was even a lady from Scotland and another from New Zealand. 
I heard that there were 167 of us total.

The gentleman on the right here was from New Mexico. I don't know where the other one is from. But here they were getting ready for the Long-Expected Party of the evening... which will be the subject of my next installment. I honestly was amazed at the great variety among the people who were there.