Ian Collier at The Tolkien Society:

More Fun in The Shire Park: 13th-14th May 2006

This is the seventh Tolkien Weekend event, and the theme for this year’s event is “The Shire” is now an annual item in the Birmingham calendar. Sarehole Mill itself was the “original” for the Mill at Bywater in the Shire in The Lord of the Rings and is a central point in the Shire Country Park that covers the River Cole, Chinn Brook, as well as Moseley Bog, the Dell and the Dingles where JRR Tolkien played as a child.

Entertainments and Activities for visitors include:

  • Displays from The Tolkien Society and Birmingham Libraries about Tolkien’s life and works within the mill itself which will have a miller demonstrating his craft with the mill’s greater wheel running
  • Shire Productions will perform excerpts from The Hobbit in the new Performance Arena, which is also the location for watching the Re-enactment Societies and the Morris Dancers
  • The Tolkien Tent will feature Birmingham Central Library’s new exhibition “Tolkien’s Boyhood in Birmingham”, Elvish lessons (speaking Sindarin and writing Tengwar), displays from Isengard (the Birmingham Tolkien Society group), Games Workshop games and Philip Coker reading The Scouring of the Shire.
  • The Unexpected Party Café is opens to serve teas, refreshments and entertainment from: the Green Man Storyteller; folk musicians; Stuart Estell and Allan Recardo (former Birmingham Poets Laureate); Chris Adderley reading from Beowulf and “Open Mic” sessions with Paul Woodward. Write Fantastic, a group of SF writers including Stan Nicholls, Chaz Brenchley, and Mark Chadbourn will be interviewed about how J.R.R. Tolkien has influenced their work.
  • The Ent on the green behind the Mill is the starting point for the many popular themed walks, each with their own expert guide, around The Shire Country Park, taking in Moseley Bog, the River Cole, Moseley School, around themes of wildlife, Tolkien’s childhood haunts, nature or archaeology.
  • Discover the Birmingham’s Two Towers, Perrott’s Folly and the Water Board Chimney by vinatge bus plus there are two new locations to visit on the Tolkien Trail. On Saturday the destination is The Oratory where the Tolkiens attended Mass (as well as the magnificent church, there’s a tour of Cardinal Newman’s Library). On Sunday there is a rare opportunity to visit King Edward’s School and see their Tolkien archive display, his name on the Honours Board and the chapel built from the stones of the old school that he attended in central Birmingham.
  • You can shop in the Craft Marquees or at the award winning Moseley Farmers’ Market. There is a Children’s’ Activity Tent with a wand workshop, henna/temporary tattoos and a willow workshop and out on the field there are amusements for younger children, train rides, treasure trails, archery, a coconut shy, woodland crafts, Wythall Radio Society and the Ranger Encampment.

This unique event now attracts 10,000 visitors and offers a weekend of fun for all the family. 11 am – 5 pm Admission free both days.

Visit birmingham.gov.uk or tolkiensociety.org/t_wend