LA Ringers got together on Sunday, Sept. 21, to celebrate the combined Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ birthday party. The location was set at Griffith Park in the middle of Los Angeles. We moved from the more remote location of last year, to a central spot right next to the Merry-go-Round. The caliope music proved a bit maddening at times, but it did make it easy to find us.
Things started around 11am, with the Rohan tent being set up, including a net to help keep bugs out. In fact, a small BBQ was set up next to the tent with the sole purpose of smoking and keeping the bees from attacking the food. One of the trees was turned into an Ent, complete with Hobbits in the branches. Ice was brought and food laid out, and everything was set for fun.
The first event was at 1pm with Trivia Questions from Two Towers being asked. We had prizes, some were books, pencil tins, SeriousUSA’s cool little CD cardz, and Sideshow statues. We had three winners in the Trivia contest, which proved to be much too short. We then got an impromptu serenade by a wandering Mariachi band. I dare any of the other Tolkien celebrations going on this weekend to be able to boast the same thing.
The costume contest was due up next, and since I was entering in it, I needed to get changed at this time. My costume is quite heavy and very warm to wear, so I chose to be relaxed in the beginning and then put it on at the park. Since I wear armor, I actually needed help getting into everything. No wonder Knights had squires, there is no way anyone could do this on their own, even if it was every day wear for them.
There were several really good costumes on display, including a fabulous Arwen with painted silver designs on her dress, an incredible Frodo portrayed by Primmy, a young Ringwraith with a voice distorter, and a really beautiful Eowyn in the white dress. My own costume was that of Dernhelm, and I won’t elaborate on the costume any more for those who don’t want to be spoiled for ROTK. Suffice it to say that Dernhelm is a Rider of Rohan that you have not really met yet. And guess what, I won, woohoo. It was probably all that armor, it was a very hot day and LOTR costumes can be hot, but armor is heavy as well as hot. I got a Sideshow/WETA bust, the one of the High Elven in armour, the First Alliance armour.
After the costume contest, I started peeling out of the armour, but didn’t take it back to the car yet. Too heavy, so it sat next to me and I showed the shield, helmut and sword to all the kids. It was at this time that Calisuri decided it would be cool for all the costumers to ride on the Merry-go-Round. So, I had to get put back into all that armour and climb onto a Carousel horse. At least being a Rider of Rohan, I looked right at home. Gandalf was right behind me, with a Ringwraith on his tail, and Frodo was in front of me. It was a rather surreal moment, to say the least. Giddyup.
I finally got to peel out of all the armour, and change, and then we had our imperonation contest. This was very popular last year, and proved to be so again this year. Basically, you get up on the table in front of everyone and recite a favorite line, or enact a bit of a scene. There were some very creative impersonations, but the trio of Gollum/Smeagol, Frodo and Sam were the obvious winners. They enacted the scene where Gollum first sneaks up on sleeping Frodo and Sam, complete with the fight, then transitioned to Smeagol/Gollum’s inner debate with the two hobbits sleeping in the background. We also had Aragorn and Theoden riding out of Helm’s Deep together, including coconut horse clip clops. Oh, and not to be outdone, there was a duo performing Merry and Pippin’s rendition of the Hobbit Drinking Song. Those were our three winners, but I must say that there were several other fine performances, but only three prizes remained for us to give out.
The end of the day included the eating of the Frodo and Bilbo birthday cake, and giving Sarumann a going away present. He received a Sideshow/WETA Saruman statue, how cool is that? Yes, it’s true, our very own Sarumann is driving away to the East. But, never fear, for he will be back out here for the Oscar party. Oh, and he’s moving to the Philadelphia area, so those in that area, look for a new Line Party leader soon.
As the sun began to disappear behind the hills, food and supplies were cleaned up and the good folk of LA Tolkien fandom faded into the distance. All in all, a wonderful day in Los Angeles, if a bit surreal at times.