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Balin Attends Bree Moot 4/Mythcon XXX 7/30-8/2

A Tourist at Bree Moot

The first time I had ever heard of Bree Moot was on Theonering.net chat. We were talking about it on Saturday evening. It sounded interesting, so in a fit of spontaneity I bundled my wife into the car and drove from Chicago to Milwaukee to visit Bree Moot 4/Mythcon XXX. I was looking forward to a fun day talking to other Tolkien fans about his writings and the upcoming movie. Maybe browse some exhibits buy something uniquely Middle Earth. Sample this, touch that, ooh and ah at the artwork....you know, typical convention behavior. I expected to find a bunch of rowdy fans living out their Middle Earth fantasies with frenetic energy and enthusiasm. I was not prepared for what I did find.

It was a quiet, very peaceful community. The people were warm and friendly. Many of them went considerably out of their way to be of help. Still, I felt like a tourist (hopefully not a boorish one) just passing through. Even if it was just for the weekend, these people lived in that community and I was just a Sunday visitor. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing standoffish. I was invited to participate in activities. I had to decline. Time was my enemy.

The events ranged from the serious (Panel: "Analysis of Tolkien's Theory of Fairy Stories") to the whimsical (a reading from an interactive build-your-own-adventure book based on the world of Middle Earth). There were wonderful exhibits of art including works by Ted Naismith who was present. I saw the "traveling" exhibit from Marquette University's collection of Tolkien manuscripts and papers. Trips to their library to see the collection (not normally open to the public) were available. One room was dedicated to vendor booths. Like any respectable tourist, I spent more than I should have. There were awards, banquets, films, and much more. I barely got to scratch the surface. So many things to do and I was just a daytripper.

I had a fun day talking with other Tolkien fans, browsed some exhibits, bought something unique, and marveled at the art. I did all this in an intimate setting that I loved. If it is at all possible I will attend Bree Moot/Mythcon again. Next time I want the real deal, I want to live there. I will be waiting when the door opens and be the last person out when it is over.


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