With a year of block parties under its belt, Flowery Branch has found what works and is sticking to it: “Gilmore Girls.”
Stacey Dickson, president of the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau, said there are “Gilmore Girls” fan events hosted all over the country, but there was nothing in the Southeast. So, when they hosted the event last year, they had people come in from cities across the state of Georgia and even some people from South Carolina and Kentucky.
“We had over 3,000 people that came out,” Dixon said. “Which is pretty cool for just a three-hour event.”
This year’s free event is planned for 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, on Main Street in downtown Flowery Branch.
Dixon said they listened to the fans during the last “Gilmore Girls” Block Party, and decided to move it to fall. Having it in the heat of the summer wasn’t true-to-form.
“The show is set more in the fall and winter months of the year, so we moved it to October,” Dixon said. “Thankfully, the weather has decided to cool off a little ... so now we can have things like coffee drinks that are a hallmark of the show.”
And you’ll be able to take a photo with those coffee drinks along Main Street, which will once again turn into the fictional — or not-so-fictional for fans — town of Stars Hollow, as the storefronts turn into scenes from the show.
You’ll see Luke’s Diner, Doose’s Market and Kim’s Antiques. You’ll also see a huge Stars Hollow town sign to take a photo in front of. The Hall County Library will open up a bookstore for the event and there will even be a swap meet, where you can bring a book, CD or DVD to trade for a different one available.
October Flowery Branch Block Party
What: Gilmore Girls-themed block party
When: 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18
Where: Downtown Flowery Branch
How much: Free
More info: www.branchblockparty.com
And while you’re walking around waiting for the Luke-a-like contest, dance performance by Alicats Dance and More or music from Southern Accents, look out for the strolling troubadour who will be popping into stores and strumming his guitar on the sidewalks.
One of the things they’re most excited about this year is a special book that will be available. It’s not being released until late November, but you’ll have a chance to buy it at the Block Party.
“It’s called The Women of Amy Sherman-Palladino,” Dixon said. “She's the multiple Emmy Award-winning creator of shows like “Gilmore Girls,” “Bunheads” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” but it’s about the female characters she writes. These strong characters. So we're actually going to have those books for sale at our event before you can buy them online or in stores.”
Dixon hopes these block parties are bringing people together in South Hall, an area she said was deemed an “entertainment dead zone.”
“There needed to be some sense of community,” Dixon said. “Gainesville has the square, so it's a natural gathering place and events that happen on or around the square have a following, so it's the place to go. Well, when you think about our South Hall community cities of Oakwood and Flowery Branch, it's like, where is that?”
And with the population continuing to grow, she knew the city of Flowery Branch needed to be a part of creating that place.
And if that involves turning Flowery Branch into Stars Hollow for a night, she’s on board.
“It's just back to creating a sense of place and helping people living in cities outside Gainesville, in other Hall County towns, to have a sense of community and create that town pride.”