The One Ring[R].net, Decipher, and the Cloondara Shire of the Society for Creative Anachronism sponsored a huge picnic worthy of Bilbo Baggins among the towering eucalyptus trees of San Francisco’s Stern Grove. Tolkien fans from ages 6 to 60 + spread their blankets or sat down at picnic tables to eat the fabulous potluck contributions and schmooze with people they previously knew only by their message board sigs.
(The homemade Mead was a big hit.)
At the center of the party field was a big white tented pavilion, such as one might have seen at Bilbo’s Long Expected Party (or at SCA events). Beneath it were plates of “lembas” offered for judging by the picnic goers.
So what really is lembas? Well, that’s up to your interpretation. There were dessert bars, breads, pancakes, and four or five different kinds of cookies. Everyone was invited to vote for their three favorites. The winner was the brave knight Rodrigo of Cloondara Shire, with Elf Lady ( an Imladris poster) and Tehanu (of TORN) coming in
second and third, respectively.
At the time of the judging, at least 50 people were present at the green, far more than hostesses Beasty Bunny (Imladris poster) and Yarrow (who posts mainly on TORN) were expecting.
The members of Cloondara Shire then demonstrated two-man combat as it was done in the Middle Ages (as they should have been–according to SCA literature). Both combatants represented the Dark Forces of Middle Earth (no good guys this time) and, in good SCA fashion, both collapsed at the end. Both grown men were easily defeated by an army of eager children ready to jump in the melee.
Tehannu of TORN wowed us with her adventures as a “spy” at the LOTR location sets in her native New Zealand. Firiel (a TORN and tolkienmovies poster) brought out her scrapbook from the TORN Oscar party, which included a humorous photo of Sir Ian McKellan, and other photos of Peter Jackson, Howard Shore, and other folks involved in LOTR.
When I identified myself as a TORCer, a number of folks started talking The Grand Gathering. Naturally, the Lembas Cook-off goers want the event to happen in our beautiful San Francisco!!
As 2003 is a bit of a way off, these newly found fandom friends are aiming to get together before then to watch the movies and party Shire-style.