Gilmore Girls Fan Fest: A Superfan’s Story

Do you love Gilmore Girls? Are you ready for the fourth annual Gilmore Girls Fan Fest? This October, in addition to Kent, Connecticut, our very own Unionville will be hosting its first ever Gilmore Girls Fan Fest. Why Unionville? Believe it or not, the pilot episode was filmed here. That’s right: Gilmore Girls cast and crew—the original Stars Hollowites, if you will—gathered in York Region to set the tone for the television show which today is beloved the world over.

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We’re not exaggerating when we say that this is a global phenomenon. According to Gilmore Girls Superfan Claudia Schoder, GG is not just a show, it’s a lifestyle. She should know—she’s travelling all the way to North America from Germany to reunite with her GGFF family.

“Gilmore girls is like comfort food for the soul,” she says. “Whenever you’re in a bad mood, lying ill on a couch or just want to be entertained, it’s always there for you.” With its quirky Stars Hollow residents and witty dialogues, superfans the world over are enamoured with the show.

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It’s a series you can watch over and over again… as most fans do. Gilmore Girls has a way of inviting you into its world, welcoming you with a warm hug and a familiarity that radiates feelings of home, like the rich scent of coffee. (“Everything in my life has something to do with coffee.” – Lorelai Gilmore.) “In every re-watch, you discover new small details or references to books, movies and TV shows that you missed before,” Claudia says. “It never gets boring.”

Claudia was already a firm fan by the time the Gilmore Girls revival miniseries was released on Netflix in 2016. To prepare for this epic return, she watched all seven seasons of the show’s original run on DVD—first in German, and then again in English. She took to social media, connecting with other fans to share her love of all things Stars Hollow. It was here that she learned of the first ever Gilmore Girls Fan Fest, and delighted in the photos that were shared online by attendees. She spent her time during the 2017 Fan Fest weekend watching every live video she could find from over 6,000 kilometres away.

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“My husband finally took pity on me and gave me tickets to the 2018 Fan Fest as a Christmas gift,” she laughs. “As soon as the tickets could be bought, I was probably one of the first ten who bought them.”

Claudia is firmly Team Robert when it comes to Rory Gilmore’s many suitors. She tweets about her champion GG man, and also has Instagram and Facebook pages for her Team Robert companions. For her, meeting actor Nick Holmes— the handsome Robert Grimaldi himself—in person was a big event. “He saw me on the street in my Team Robert shirt at Fan Fest, and spontaneously came over to talk with me and my husband,” she recalls. “He also signed his book and we took some pictures. Afterwards, I thought this must have been the highlight of my weekend.”

Looking back on her first Fan Fest experience in Connecticut, Claudia has so many unforgettable moments. She says the cast were wonderful and went out of their way to make everyone feel like they were part of one big family. She also made lifelong GG friends. “In the end, I made as many new friends as never before in such a short time, and I’m thrilled to still be in contact with many of them,” Claudia states. “The Fan Fest was one of the best weekends of my life. I couldn’t stop smiling from the first moment to the last.”

“I remember the time I watched Gilmore Girls as a student,” she adds. “I was so in love with the Life and Death Brigade, the secret society at Yale, that I tried to find out if they really existed in New Haven. Unfortunately, they don’t. But their motto, In Omnia Paratus (Ready for Anything) is a perfect description of my love for this TV show.”

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Claudia Schoder is returning to North America this October, as are superfans from places as far as Australia and England. If you’re a fan of Gilmore Girls, don’t miss your opportunity to see for yourself why superfans are so passionate about this wonderful television show. For information and to purchase your tickets to the Unionville event, visit www.gilmoregirlsfanfest.com

Story by Katherine Ryalen

Ryalen is a Durham-based author and lifestyle blogger. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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