Friday night: An Evening in Bree. This Friday party traditionally gets the weekend into high gear, with most attendees in their best Lord of the Rings finery eager to catch up with friends, enjoy the great bands (The Brobdingnagian Bards and Emerald Rose), and dance like hobbits at The Green Dragon.
This year there was no costume contest, and there was a scary medical emergency (which fortunately, we understand as of Sunday, the individual survived), but the ballroom was full and was even closed for crowd control for a time.
Saturday morning: The fourth annual parade through the streets of Atlanta featured a record number of participants and thousands of spectators. Middle Earth was again well represented. View CNN’s feature with parade footage here. Find video of the whole parade uploaded in sections on YouTube. The parade was followed by the LOTR/Arms of Middle Earth pizza lunch on the 10th floor of the Marriott.
Saturday morning: Tolkien Costuming. Michael Cook, Marcia Banach and Jules Kelly gave an excellent workshop on costume design, materials, and fabrication. Marcia and Jules detailed each layer of their elaborate new King of the Dead and Soldier of the Dead costumes (see photos), and Michael offered solid advice on leather and weaponry. Attendance was limited only because the official schedule listed their panel at 11:30PM rather than AM.
Other high points included talking to the delightful Peter Beagle in the Walk of Fame and hanging out at the TORn fan table in the Hilton, where the new Smaug Kills t-shirts were on sale, visitors picked up free Sideshow Collectibles gift cards, and fans inspected and signed the Help the Hobbit Happen petition (currently at over 62,000 signatures.) Track Director Jean Baughman and her staff once again did a great job planning the programming, keeping everything on schedule, decorating the track room, providing raffle prizes, and dispensing advice and support to attendees and presenters alike.