Arwen writes: The third edition of TORN’s Baggins Birthday picnic, which took place this Sunday September 19th in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, turned out to be once again a party of special magnificence. The weather was a delightful mix of bright sunshine, blue skies, and thanks to a constant breeze which occasionally swelled up to a wicked wind, the temperature remained pleasant -when the previous two years had been scorchingly hot- (pictures to be posted shortly).

Food was plentiful and delicious, between yummy mushroom tortes and a variety of salads, and many many many desserts. Of course, per tradition the infamous yellow jackets were present. However, maybe because of the wind and the semi-protection of the mosquitoe net in the food tent, they seemed less numerous than the previous years (or maybe I’m getting used to them!).

Ringers showed up en masse, and this year’s picnic probably had the biggest crowd of all three events. Costumes were aplenty, with many hobbits, a few elves, some Rangers, and the occasional random Mordor orc or Mumak commander (very creative indeed!). Thanks to the generosity of New Line Cinema and Sideshow Collectibles, all guests were treated to fantastic mathoms: a deck of cards from ROTK, with the images all taken from the Alan Lee drawings of the film’s end credits; a ROTK mini poster, and a Sidehow keychain. The winners of the three contests (trivia, costume, and impersonation) walked home with Sideshow’s Helm’s Deep Environment, Golden Hall Environment, and The Morgul Lord!

Picnic’s Uber MC Quickbeam kept the crowd entertained, whether giving humorous deliveries of lines from the movie, or updating all fans on the status of the Ringers: Lord Of The Fans documentary, which production team is working against the clock to complete a rough cut of the film by the Sundance Festival’s submission deadline of Friday September 24th.

To make this year’s picnic an afternoon to remember, two very special guests made a surprise appearance: Rohan’s unsung hero Gamling: Bruce Hopkins, and the Dark Lord himself: Sala Baker. Bruce and Sala gracefully served as judges during the costume and impersonation contests, and afterwards mingled and chatted with the fans, posing for pictures and signing autographs. After our special guests had left (Bruce was catching a plane back to New Zealand later on that evening), it was time to wrap the party, and the guests started to leave slowly. All faces were smiling and happy, and everyone had the greatest of times, here at the end of all things. It was time to drive home, pet my little dog Chipie and tell her “Well, I’m back!”.