Toronto, New York, Denver to compete for honor of hosting Gathering of the Fellowship 2003 - Voting in three-way runoff to commence Aug. 1, last 10 days

By Sean P. Dailey/spd of TORC
Gathering of the Fellowship 2003 publicity spokesman

Voting in the three-way runoff between Toronto, Denver and New York City to see which of the three will host the Gathering of the Fellowship 2003 is proceeding apace, though results will not be available until after the close of voting in a week

The Gathering's planning committee decided in an emergency meeting last week night to have a three-way runoff between top vote getter Toronto and New York and Denver, which had a virtual tie for second place.

Other cities competing in the first round included Atlanta, Ga., Los Angeles, Calif., Charleston, S.C., and San Francisco, Calif.

"New York actually edged out Denver by just 5 points," Gathering president Ed Rodrigues said. "That's basically one vote and it wouldn't be fair to leave them out because of that."

Unlike with the first round, there is no point system and people are to pick one choice. The city with the most votes wins.

"The city with the most votes will be the winner even if it doesn't add up to 50 percent," said Rodrigues, also known as Speaker to Animals on (TORC), a Tolkien fan site to which the majority of possible attendees at the Gathering belong.

"We're on a time constraint. We have to get deposits on venues and we have to get literature up, business cards and a letterhead."

Ballots are to begin going out Thursday, Aug. 1, with the voting period to last for 10 days. Voting will officially close at midnight Sunday, Aug. 11, Pacific Standard Time (U.S.) with the winner announced as soon as the votes are tabulated.

However, voting will be limited to those who were eligible to vote in the first round. How it works is this - anyone who got a ballot for the first round is eligible to vote in the second round, even if they didn't vote in the first round.

Anyone who was signed up but did not receive a ballot in the first round should e-mail Rodrigues at with the person's online nickname and real name as well as current e-mail address.

"They have to us tell us who they are, otherwise we won't know who's missing a ballot," Rodrigues said.

Eligibility is determined by having been signed up as of midnight July 28, Pacific Standard Time, the end of the voting period for the first round. People may still sign up, however, and the Planning Committee is still accepting Early Bird Reservations. More information on this, as well as on the three cities still in the running, is available at the Gathering's website,

In another development, the Planning Committee is almost finished with a Gathering logo, designed by Gwindor of TORC. A tentative design has the words, "Gathering of the Fellowship, 2003" and incorporates a fiery gold ring. The name of the host city will be incorporated in the final design when the city is determined, as well as a representation of the winning city.

The Gathering of the Fellowship is a massive fan event being planned for the December 2003 release of "The Return of the King," the third part of New Line Cinema's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings."

The three-day extravaganza, besides including a showing of all three "Lord of the Rings" movies, will feature a costume contest, a poetry/literature contest, a fan art contest and a trivia contest. The first installment, "The Fellowship of the Ring," was released in December 2001 and "The Two Towers" hits theaters this coming December.

From its beginnings as a TORC-only event, the Gathering has grown to encompass members of other Tolkien fan sites, including, The Lord of the Rings Official Fan Club (,, the Minas Tirith Forums ( "and assorted Tolkien fans with no affiliation," Rodrigues said.

Sean Dailey can be reached at

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