Where they lead, we will follow.
In this case, we’re talking about more than a dozen “Gilmore Girls” cast members and their loyal devotees, who flocked to the small village of Washington Depot, Connecticut, this weekend for the inaugural "Gilmore Girls" Fan Fest, a three-day celebration that would make the residents of Stars Hollow proud.
Despite low temperatures, pouring rain and windy conditions, 1,500 hard-core fans braved the elements in solidarity to celebrate all things Gilmore. We know because we were there.
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Washington Depot is the real-life location that inspired Stars Hollow in the series, aka the quaint town that "Gilmore Girls" calls home. Many attendees flew in from around the country for the festival, and there was a rumor that some even made a pilgrimage from as far away as Australia.
With a series revival set for Nov. 25 on Netflix, now was as good a time as any for a fan gathering to pay homage to the show.
Fans were treated to an array of show-centric events and treats, including group screenings of the series’ seven seasons (currently available for streaming on Netflix), panel discussions with show producers and directors, workshops with the cast, craft activities (like a three-hour group knit-a-thon, replete with favorite "Gilmore Girls" episodes being projected on the wall), book signings and more. There was also plenty of coffee available for fans who chose to follow the caffeinated regimen of Lorelai and Rory.
We especially loved the festival's T-shirt booth selling comfy cotton tees featuring beloved references and quotes from the series.
There Should Be a Thousand Yellow Daisies Tee, from $28, kindredhandicrafts.com
Oy With the Poodles Already Tee, from $28, kindredhandicrafts.com
Give Her Coffee "Lorelai Gilmore & Luke Danes" Slouchy Shirt, from $28, kindredhandicrafts.com
Hep Alien 7th Day Adventist Tour Tee, from $28, kindredhandicrafts.com
The weekend culminated in a packed town hall event — a Saturday evening panel discussion featuring a large number of cast members who portray the quirky characters that grow up alongside Lorelai and Rory Gilmore through the years.
In attendance were Sean Gunn, who plays town oddball Kirk Gleason, Liz Torres (Miss Patty), Rose Abdoo (Gypsy), Jackson Belleville (portrayed by Jackson Douglas, who plays the husband to Melissa McCarthy’s Sookie St. James in the series) and Keiko Agena (Lane Kim), among others. While Lorelai, Rory and Luke were absent from the weekend, they were all hot topics for discussion throughout the event.
The Saturday night panel, moderated by punny podcast duo The Gilmore Guys, touched upon favorite show moments, trivia, and, of course, Rory’s love life. The only thing the panel was not allowed to talk about: the upcoming series.
Here are six things we learned about "Gilmore Girls" from our time at the Fan Fest:
1. Gypsy has a girl crush on Lorelai
Rose Abdoo, who plays the snappy auto-mechanic Gypsy on the series, professed that, while she played a hard-working auto mechanic on the show, she didn’t know a thing about cars. She did, however, know she harbored a soft spot for Lorelai Gilmore. “When Lorelai was singing ‘I will always love you’ to Luke, it was like the room just fell away for Gypsy,” one cast member said. Mental note: Cue up this episode — Season 7, Episode 20 — and re-watch it, stat.
2. Edward Herrmann played the grandfather everyone (and we mean everyone) wanted
Herrmann’s wife Star Roman and daughter Emma told TODAY that Herrmann was a true Renaissance man who adored his time on "Gilmore Girls." While he was one of the last on the cast to get email and a cellphone, that was all right by him. “He wrote handwritten letters to everyone — even responding to fans from Germany, China and all over the world who reached out to him. Many wrote to tell Edward that his character (Richard Gilmore) was a wonderful grandfather to Rory, and they wish he could be their grandfather. He is very missed by everyone, but his spirit is in the air at this festival,” Roman said.
3. The most difficult scenes to shoot: The town hall meetings
Because town hall scenes were often shot with 18 or more cast members, they often took a whole day to shoot. “Sometimes we’d be in there from 7 a.m. to late at night,” said Abdoo. However, cast and crew could always count on Sally Struthers (who played Babette) and Liz Torres (Miss Patty) to keep them entertained. “Sally and Liz held court whenever they were on set, reminiscing about the past and always entertaining the rest of the cast,” one cast member said. Abdoo chimed in: “In between takes at the Town Hall meetings, we would play a game called “What’s in Sally’s purse. One time, Sally pulled out a driver’s license for her dog.”
4. Sean Gunn loved Kirk's oddball gigs as much as we did
"A lot of my favorite episodes are episodes where Kirk doesn't have a job — where he's just part of the fabric of the town, like playing Tevye in 'Fiddler on the Roof' or Jesus in the festival of living art," Gunn said. "But as a job, I really enjoyed being the announcer at the hockey game. In my personal life, I'd like to believe that I'd be a good sports announcer." We'd watch!
5. Mostly everyone is #TeamJess
No doubt the biggest question from the weekend is: Which one of Rory’s past loves might she end up with in the revival? A poll of Saturday night’s panel revealed that while one person was #TeamDean, and a few were for #TeamLogan, the majority were pulling for #TeamJess. Interestingly, a number of cast members (including Abdoo and Rini Bell, who plays Lulu) are #TeamRory all the way. Rock on!
6. This revival is a dream come true
Favorite TV shows don’t often get reprised just because, so fans at the festival and beyond truly feel like they’re being given a gift this November, especially since show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has returned to steer the revival along. Cast members concur. On finding out about the revival, Gunn (Kirk) said: “It was kind of a trip but it was wonderful. It quickly felt like putting on a pair of old comfortable shoes.” We couldn’t agree more.