Middle-earth / Lord of the Rings Festival in Vacaville, California Takes over City

Downtown Vacaville, California was in the grips of it's Middle-earth festival this weekend. Here's a big of an overview:

A dark, menacing figure approached a young, cherubic-faced child who was apprehensively holding a gold-colored ring Saturday on the sidewalk of Vacaville's Main Street.

The black-cloaked and hooded figure said nothing as he stood stoically with one armored hand on his sheathed sword - ready to take the ring.

The barefooted child - dressed positively hobbit-like with dark curls framing his face - and not sure whether to flee or fight, asked the same question that the character he was portraying may have asked.

"How do I get around him?" said Gauge Brand, 11, from Rocklin, dressed as Samwise Gamgee, the best friend to Frodo Baggins in the celebrated trilogy "The Lord of the Rings."

The mystical interaction, as harmless as Halloween, was one of the many strange but engaging sights, sounds and smells at Vacaville's Middle Earth Festival.

The festival, which celebrates J.R.R. Tolkien's timeless and classic book trilogy, runs through 3:30 p.m. today.

Food, arts and crafts vendors were shaded under white tents on Main Street, while entertainers walking up and down the sidewalk Saturday enhanced the feel of the magical Middle Ages.

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