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 : .

At ALEP in 2008 & ALEP II in 2011, people were brought together on a common purpose, so it came as no surprise to anyone that  there was an amazing amount of  group bonding that went on and many friendships were forged. On the last days of each event there were many tears shed, so great was the reluctance to leave friends and the Shire itself.  Afterwards, many turned to written word to express their feelings and thoughts. Deeply touching and sincere, we represent a collection of them here in the words of past attendees themselves.

.: Memories from a fantasy world made real :.

The feeling when I drove down the hill and crossed the bridge and started uphill again that I was truly home back in the Shire. Dressing every day and it wasn't a "costume" but what I was wearing. The friendship of my Shiremates sharing our room. The nightly dinner in the hall of Fire.

~ Karen Cox

I am  very thankful for the whole ALEP family. You are all wonderful people and I love you all!

~ Patrick Stephen Parker

I to would have to say it was the fellowship every day. If it was giving out Hobbit Hugathon buttons and getting hugs or eating the lunch or evening meals. It might be the entertainment where we were all laughing together or getting teary because the singing or acting was so beautiful. just taking a stroll in costume and meeting others dressed in Middle Earth costume and getting a hug or a smile or a hello. You were one with all the people from ME. I remember the patience Michael showed JJ with his first archery shoot and how JJ's face glowed when he won for the beginner's category. The photo's were you just have to view the love and fellowship. So, fellowship,love and laughter and dancing,costumes and my Middle Earth family those were my best memories.

~ Barbara Holbrook

Elf Choir. Hobbit Choir. The Great Hobbit Hiking Adventure. Drinking with Hobbits in the Dancing Pony. Marc Gunn and his merry band. Shaker Lemon Pie. Hobbit piles…is there a limit to how many happy memories one can list here?

~ Jo Lynne Navarre

Any moment in the Pony! But I loved the music. Be it singing in the choirs or playing with Marc and friends. The fellowship all around was too precious for words. And the dress! With so many of us dressed up so often it really didn't feel like costumes, as mentioned above. It was just, well, home.

~ Lisa Jeane Schroeder

Some of my most favorite memories were the elf choir, singing and chatting at The Pony, hugging friends I hadn't seen since the last time I was "in the Shire",most of the company singing arm in arm at Bilbo's birthday party and enlarging my ALEP family. There is a warm and wonderful feeling of "belonging" and instant community. ALEP felt like home, where even the new faces I met felt like cousins from distant lands I hadn't met yet.

~ Ames Yokel

All of the wonderful, welcoming people. What a positive group! Plus I got to do all the 'Elven' things - I truly felt like an Elf. And of course, rolling down the hole…

~ Cindy Zeuli

When the hobbit choir was singing "In Dreams" and everyone stood up in a circle and put their arms around each other and sang along, tears streaming down faces. From the choir's point of view, it was an unforgettable moment of unity and joy.

~ Debbie McIntyre

The fact that we traveled many miles for four days, and it felt as if there was not a single inch between us, as far as fellowship stands. The hours in The Dancing Pony, truly delving into each other as friend/family. The music adds a whole other level of intimacy and familiarity to the event as a whole. The evening skits and dinner are always superb. The location. . . Could not look more like the shire.

~ David Gianino

All the music is the first thing that comes to mind... listening to Marc & Samantha & Jamie... Jef chanting the Professor's poetry... singing with the Elf Choir & the Hobbit Band... the fellowship experienced when everyone all sang together that last night! But one of the most memorable moments was everyone sitting and singing and dancing under the Party Tree in the suddenly chilly temps, but not caring one iota because we were having way too much FUN!

~ Lisa Whitaker

Many come to mind, ALEP after dark is definitely high on my list. The impromptu conclave of wizards was a delightful surprise. The elven choir was a memorable experience worthy of relating for some time as it's equal is not likely to be found again this side of Arda...

~ Ron Balabon

When I think of Alep I think of the fellowship. How there is not a stranger in the group by the end of our time together in the Shire...

~ Jenny Puckett Ramirez

For me the very first step back onto the now familiar east/west road; I was facing west towards the event barn and I was totally overwhelmed by emotion, by the sense of being home again. I rarely cry publicly..., but I burst into sobs, completely overcome and delightfully happy. From there all else flowed, the intense sense of family, the laughter, the blossoming of friendships and an endless flow of Hobbity hugs. Always it was the fellowship, at the Pony, in the Barn, on the River, under the Party Tree; singing, dancing, chatting, laughing, weeping; we were all together and that seemed to be what mattered most. And how I miss you ALL this very moment.

~ Bernadette Barnes

ALEP appeals to all the senses: brain with reading and lectures, music, physical with swords. bows and hiking, spiritual with friendship in a nurturing place and all the fun with costumes and skits. It is a complete experience. I sound like a babbling fool when I try to explain it to someone who hasn't experienced it

~ Susannah Prather

ALEP 2 felt like an expression of joy and beautiful playfulness that seemed to come from everyone. I smile from a very deep place remembering faces, sounds and bright afternoon breezes that sometimes carried snatches of songs throughout the Shire Village.... Yeah is was Good...

~ Paula Scott-frantz

Favorite memory: the Great Hobbit Hike, complete with fellowship, laughter and our gallant stepping-stone builders. Thought: What's the saying? Coming home to a place I've never been before. That's how Dennis & I felt very quickly. Shaker Village provided peace for the soul and a beautiful setting. Every single person at ALEP treated us like long-lost members of the family. Is it any wonder we can't wait to return?

~ Celia Garland

My favorite memory was that each new person I encountered was like an old friend, that I just hadn't meet before. No wonder that as we saw the first stone wall of the village Berni was bouncing in her seat like a kid heading to the candy shop.

~ Stephen L. Crumb

My favorite memory... it's a tie between the music sessions in the Pony every night and being privileged to be invited to play flute with Marc Gunn, Jamie Haeuser, and Samantha A. Gillogly at the Party on Saturday night.

~ Christine Krebs

Two main ones:

- all those nights in the Dancing Pony (we MADE a pub); with Josh joining the band (Trish: "He's pretty good. How long has he been playing?" Me: "About 10 minutes."); rolling down the hole; elves behaving badly

- and the freezing cold archery practice and tournament through which several of us stayed the WHOLE time, up to and including running into the group photo at the last second; Chris and Barry's super awesome "whoosh" arrows; Barry having us experiment with the effect of arrows on his homemade chainmail (even though I couldn't make a shot with a right-handed bow; the ambidextrous one I borrowed from Jean was back in her car); *almost* making it into the second round; not being able to feel my feet and not at all caring

~ Jayne Doe

ONE favorite? No way! I remember the pleasure of arriving at the Village, promptly getting hugged & having the guys help carry my stuff up to the room.... the lovely food (including the darned good prime rib)... the fun out on the archery line (although Jayne's right - danged cold, even for a Nebraskan) & blowing thru one target - right between the Nazgul's eyes, those marvelous four-fletch arrows that Chris & Barry brought (still want some!)... & just sharing the entire weekend with a hundred or so friends - some old & some new. Cannot wait to do it again!

~ Jean Dewey

Playing music 6 hours a day to a warm and appreciative audience, along with several awesome musicians...and the Pony.

~ Jamie Haeuser

Ah the guest speakers! What I liked best about the lot of them was that none of them acted like guest speakers. They were there with us, among us, not keeping themselves apart. They are all as much a part of our family as any other attendee.

~ Lisa Jeane Schroeder

I liked the fact that in the evenings, people got together and learned songs or recreated bits from the moves or played in skits or read poetry right on the spot. It was truly audience participation at its best. I think people were less nervous because everyone was so friendly and each person felt truly appreciated. And they were.

~ Bonnie Humphrey

ALEP 2 was a shaded glen, with beaded webs and giggling streams. A smooth bed of moss were you could sit. And remember. It was uniquely arrayed with sun and cloud and light and shadow... but nothing so sparkled as the friends we didn't yet know... or the friends we still had. It was a unique beauty, to the point where we had to run to our friends and tell them, "Come, see this wonder that I would like to share with you!"

~ Lee Shamblin


Distant voices speak in the dark of night,

That call forth the soul to witness the light,

Summoning memories of halcyon days,

When hearts were bound in so many ways,

Such waves of fellowship carried us all;

Incredible happiness held us in its thrall,

Flash frozen moments of precious glory,

Snippets of song and snatches of story,

Whispering breeze and pale pink sunrise,

Beaming moon and star splattered skies,

Where once we stood heart to heart,

And as we remember, we’ll never part.

~ Bernadette Barnes

One of my favorite things was getting to help transfigure the event areas into a new part of Middle-earth each evening. Many willing hands made light work when it came to turning the Hall of the Elven Lord into the Meduseld, and bringing the Party Field to life by stringing lights and pennants and setting up the tables. Even when time came for the "Buckland Moving Company" to haul all the bits and pieces away at the end of ALEP2, there was such a sense of shared effort and care, that it didn't feel like an ending, but felt more like putting it to bed for a long night's sleep to wake to a joyous sunrise when we all get to come once more to the Shire to partake of each other's affection, friendship and fellowship.

~ Bernadette Crumb

Well, I've given some thought in the last day as to my FAVORITE memory of ALEP, and decided on this: David asked me to dance, one evening after hours at the Pony, and even though I warned him I might hurt his feet (I'm not the most graceful dancer in the Shire!), he and I danced while Samantha and Marc and friends played. A real Pippin moment, since David is the very soul of that dear Hobbit! And if you read this, Pip, thanks again. You made my day! Watching the hobbits dance under the Party Tree in the chilly evening air. And crying at the singing of Into the West (I always do!), and being comforted by Frodan. The music and good company after hours at the Pony. In truth, just about everything!

~ Patti Benson

The hugs. They were just the BEST!

~ Christine Krebs

Oh yes! Professor Drout reading to us - in modern & Olde English. The man is a marvel to listen to!

~ Jean Dewey

Feeling so much at home that I wasn't scared when I stood up and read my Gollum poem in the Hall of Fire... (I wasn't afraid of reading out loud, but I'm always a bit nervous at how a piece that I write will be received.)

~ Bernadette Crumb

Just one? Ooo that's hard. Singing together every night at the Prancing Pony - er - what did we call it? - with Marc Gunn and Company. If I could add another couple dozen best memories ....

~ Alassea Envinyatore

I realized I never offered mine. I just read through all the comments here, and they made me teary-eyed. I could certainly pick a favorte plate of spaghetti than pick a favorite ALEP2 moment. The Dancing Pony. The Great Hobbit Hike (and how well my poem of it was received that night when I read it). Standing in the circle on the last night singing Into the West. The quiet moments spent with you and many others. The stars wheeling overhead. The coyotes crying in the night.

~ Eowyn Shieldmaiden  

Among the best memories: glancing through the slatted wooden walls of the tobacco barn and seeing stars, or a fiery sunset against the distant hills; hearing the roar of the autumnal winds in the meadows and forests, while owls and coyotes made eerie music in the distance; taking early morning walks and seeing shafts of golden sunlight pour through the crimson and russet and cadmium canopy above our heads.....

~ Jef Murray

Singing together on the last night.

~ Ryan Maiden

Some of my best memories were at the Dancing Pony, if but because of its pure fellowship and it was as close to being in a medieval/fantasy tavern as we may ever be. The singing, dancing, stories, laughter, hob-nobbing and cloaked figures speaking in darkened corners did my old heart good. Though I now have a long journey before me, ever will I listen for the sounds of music and laughter caught on an evening breeze and long for the welcoming glow of candles from the low windows and open door of The Dancing Pony. One day I will return to this place.

~ Grey Wizard