ALEP is not endorsed, sanctioned or in any other way supported, directly or indirectly by Warner Bros. Entertainment, the Lord of the Rings book publishers or the J.R.R. Tolkien estate orits representatives

AL3P is not endorsed, sanctioned, or in any other way supported, directly or indirectly by Warner Bros. Entertainment, the Lord of the Rings book publishers, or the J.R.R. Tolkien estate or its representatives.Habitasse © Curabitur felis erat. Mauris di Serif. Vestibulum | Sed vulputate

. : A Long Expected Party : .

A Hobbit is born

Daniel Gauthier discovered Lord of the Rings in a most unusual way: Through music. A huge fan of movie soundtracks, Daniel bought the soundtrack for Fellowship of the Ring, after being told about it by his best friend. This same friend eventually talked Daniel into seeing FOTR -- a hard task, considering Daniel had little interest in fantasy stories. Immediately drawn to the story in general, and Frodo's Quest in particular, Daniel devoured the books - starting with the Hobbit -- before Two Towers came out. He began costuming shortly thereafter, attending the Boston LOTR exhibit in 2004, and also DragonCon for the first time that same year. He met many new friends there, but the groundwork for the friendships of ALEP were made the following year, in Indianapolis for the LOTR Museum Exhibit in October 2005, where he met Mister Baggins and the old Grey Wizard. And the rest is ALEP history.

.: Milestones in ALEP :.

So how did ALEP begin? And why? The organizers have been asked that often. Here, perhaps, some of these questions may be answered.

It was in 2006 that many of the people who would eventually form the staff of ALEP attended a convention and, while pleased at the people they met there, found the event itself somewhat disappointing. Many times, talk would rise of “what would have been nice” or “could have been done” to improve said event, but none of them had yet to entertain the notion of hosting an event themselves, and with good reason - none of them ever had.

It was not until Daniel Gauthier had the idea of hosting his own convention did the idea really take off. This in turn got Grey Wizard interested who in turn got Mister Baggins interested (whether he wished to or not). Soon, all three were looking for a place to hold a Tolkien-inspired event, but this proved daunting. As is often the case, the answer was right under our nose.

Shaker Village, a  historical site set in the gently rolling hills of central Kentucky was in the same county where Mister Baggins and Grey Wizard had grown up. Very Shire-like in its appearance, it was a natural place for such an event, but first, the owners of the village itself would have to agree to allowing such an event.

The next order of business was to set down and plan out what they would wish of their event. It was determined it would be a kind of anti-convention, with the venue being set in the countryside instead of the steel and concrete surroundings of a loud and busy city. It was also determined that the focus of the event would be the attendees themselves, so

The humble beginnings of an unexpected journey.

ALEP ~ A History

the events were planned to be as interactive as possible.  An unseen but added aspect of the village was that it could only hold so many people, so the event would be concise, and attendees would grow to know one another like family.

Research and much chatting with old-timers was done to discover what folks did to entertain one another in the old times; before society became so dependant on technology, machines and alarms and buzzers to tell them when to do things.  It was decided that in addition to the events and entertainment  provided by the organizers, we would call upon the attendees as there was much untapped talent there. This we have done for three events now and have been better for it.

In keeping in tune with the outdoor feel of much of Tolkien’s work, we planned on many activities being held out-of-doors. These would include hikes, cruises along the river, parties, archery and the like. There were also many chances to simply walk alone or sit by the edge of a lake and ponder what you would. Not something you see much of in the typical convention setting.

Food would be another item we would address. Instead of rushing to a food court or searching for a mom-and-pop diner, we would cater the event with period foods and eat meals together in a banquet hall or pub setting, thus never leaving the Shire surrounding.

As each ALEP comes and goes, we try to build on past victories and address any shortcomings. In short, this is the convention we always wished to attend but could never find, so as if often the case in life, as also cited by Peter Jackson of the LOTR movies, we got tired of waiting and simply did it ourselves.