For the past two years, I have been a featured panelist at Gilmore Girls Fan Fest. This is a rather remarkable sentence, given that I am less than familiar with the show and certainly have nothing on the mega-fans who flock to Connecticut each year to compete in trivia and take pictures with cast members. Gilmore Girls, which ran on the WB for seven years and was revived on Netflix for a single season in 2016, follows a spunky Connecticut native named Rory and her mother. Rory eventually ends up at Yale and writes for the Yale Daily News. Because of this, fans have a vested interest in the real Yale and the real YDN. (You can read Maggie’s excellent blog post about Gilmore Girls and the YDN here.) So, for the past two years, some of my more-journalism-y friends and I have gone up to Kent, Connecticut, to talk to fans about our experience. Last year, I was able to stay at the festival for its duration. I even wrote an article about it for one of Yale’s long-form journalism publications, The New Journal.
This year, time was a little tighter, and we weren’t able to stay for the entire festival. But we had a great time nonetheless. Everywhere near the fan fest was booked solid, so two friends and I packed into a motel room right off the highway. We arrived at the festival just in time for the tail end of the cast panel. Then we followed attendees to the nearby Fife & Drum restaurant for some delightful singing and chatting, where we stayed late into the night.
Perusing the menu at the all-but-abandoned restaurant next to our motel
The next morning, we hosted our panel. Mostly, we answered questions about Yale: What are secret societies like? How does the Yale Daily News operate? Which character from the show are you? (The answers here are, respectively: we don’t know, it’s complicated, and, apparently, someone very obscure named Lucy.)
Both years I have been lucky enough to attend the fan fest, I return feeling extremely grateful to be able to go to Yale. A lot of my friends here were drawn to the school because they grew up with Gilmore Girls, and it’s exciting to be able to hear fans so jazzed about a place I can sometimes take for granted. Stars Hollow might not be real, but New Haven is–and that’s something we should all celebrate!
A selfie with cast member Nick and super-fan Claudia!