Hobbits, orcs, elves, dwarves, and other creatures from Middle Earth will descend on downtown Greenville this fall to celebrate English author JRR Tolkien, the beloved creator of “The Lord of the Rings.”
Tolkien fans are being encouraged to dress in their best Middle Earth costumes for the first annual “Celebrate Tolkien” conference, which will be held at the Old Cigar Warehouse November 9-10, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Our goal is honor and appreciate Tolkien’s work with this conference,” said organizer Dan Cruver. “We’re encouraging everyone to dress as their favorite Tolkien character. We want hobbits, we want Gandalf, we want orcs. We want people to know they’re in Middle Earth when they come through the doors.”
The conference will feature presentations by several Tolkien scholars, including Devin Brown, an English professor at Asbury University, and author of “Hobbit Lessons: A Map for Life’s Unexpected Journeys,” and Louis Markos, an English professor at Houston Baptist College, and author of “On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue in Tolkien and Lewis.”
Cruver, a Travelers Rest resident, also plans to host a festival on November 9 at 7 p.m. that includes a pipe smoking competition, trivia, readings, games, and Middle Earth themed beer, food, and music. It will also include performances by painter Justin Gerard, vocal artist Eurielle and Jamie Costa, an actor known for his impressions of Gandalf and others.
The festival’s location hasn’t been determined yet, according to Cruver.
Cruver got the idea for the celebration several years ago after creating a Twitter account dedicated to Tolkien’s work. “I’ve seen this community grow to an extraordinary size, far beyond my expectations, which shows that people are hungry for content and resources about the life and works of Tolkien,” he said. “It was time to do this.”
The conference, which has 180 available seats and cost $299 per person, has already garnered more than 30 attendees, according to Cruver. “We would love to grow the event right here in Greenville,” Cruver said. “Our hope is that the city will embrace the event and perhaps make more space available for an annual event.”
For more information, visit celebratetolkien.com.
What: “Celebrate Tolkien” conference and festival
Where: The Old Cigar Warehouse, 912 South Main St, Greenville, SC
When: November 9 and 10 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.