Along with nearly 400 (by my estimate) other fabulous Outlander fans, I attended another great event at the beginning of December – Thru The Stones, a weekend-long party! This is always one of my most anticipated events, held every other year (this was the third TTS). While every Outlander event is different somehow, and all have their own great features, I really enjoy TTS’ format of classes, meals, vendors, and – oh yeah – top-notch guests.
This year’s special guests were Terry Dresbach, making a return visit, and her husband Ron Moore, and our brand new villain, Ed Speleers. In 2016, Terry had such a great time that she offered to come back this year and bring Ron with her. Ron really enjoyed the event as well, and was a fascinating guest! I’m generally at least as interested in the behind-the-scenes people as I am in the actors, so this was very exciting for me. And of course, having Ed Speleers, who I was pleased to meet for the first time at Sasnak City in April, was a terrific addition to the roster. Despite having a major weather delay and not arriving until dinner time on Saturday (when he had been expected on Friday), Ed was excited to meet all of us, and threw himself into the evening.
What else makes TTS so different? The event’s creator, Deb Ford, wanted to make an event where people would learn a little something. So TTS features a small range of classes – this year’s choices included two hands-on craft opportunities (paper snowflake cutting and wool felting), taste testing (rum and tea), and history (Native Americans and Scottish dancing). We also were treated to an improv comedy group, an Outlander-themed brothel burlesque show (which unfortunately, I missed, but I heard it was fantastic), a pipe and drum band, and a show-inspired costume parade.
One of the highlights is always a HUGE Friday-night trivia contest! This event is worth the price of admission alone. This year it consisted of eight rounds of 10 questions each, on the books only. To call this trivia is really a misnomer. The questions were truly minutiae – even more itty bitty than normal trivia! Examples: What odd poultice did Kenny insist Claire apply to Rosalind’s thumb? Where is Flora McDonald’s gravesite? Teams prepare for a year or more, reading the books, making spreadsheets, and preparing team t-shirts. Our team – Alyson Bailey, Sam Kraupner, Ellen Cieslak, Koko Pipkin, Jan Kurtz and Stacie Janecki – changes names each event, and this year, we were The Moore The Merrier. We came in tied for 9th place out of about 40 teams – not too bad! At the first TTS in 2014, we were Les Dames Blanches, and in 2016, Madame De La Tourelle’s Nipples. Our t-shirts that year scandalized Terry.
The vendors are always amazing, and I know I could have dropped a LOT more money than the big bag o’cash that I did spend. They included pewter artists, painters, costumes, Outlander items of all kinds. Alyson Bailey and I were first-time vendors as well! That was a great way to meet and talk to people. Everyone came home with a great assortment of gifts, decorations, and all kinds of fun things.
After the trivia contest, we had a bit of a retirement party for Terry, who has stepped back from designing the show’s costumes. For the second year, I was asked to write the introductions for all of the guest stars, and this year, Deb Ford asked me to deliver the tribute to Terry. You can see it in the video below! Following that, Deb showed a major-cry-inducing video of fan love, and several cast members sent in wonderful videos of gratitude and appreciation. I’m sorry that I can’t share that with you!
On Saturday, we attended our chosen classes (uh oh, Alyson and I found a new craft in wool felting). In the afternoon, Terry and Ron spent about 2 hours talking about the show, their lives together, their plans, and many other topics. Terry actually interviewed Ron – that was fabulous! He talked about the first thing he was ever a fan of – the space program! Which makes total sense. And Terry asked him lots of questions about how his personal background influenced him to write strong, realistic female characters, a hallmark of all the shows he has worked on. I’ll be including snippets of this chat in my Tuesday evening radio program in the new year! A press conference followed, with me and my fellow bloggers having an opportunity to ask specific questions. You’ll see my question – and Ron’s answer – in the video. (Other bloggers who will be covering this press conference including Timeless Sass3nach Journeys, Outlander Soul, Outlander BTS, and a couple more. At this time, it doesn’t look like any of them have published their reports, but I’ll add them when they do.)
And Saturday night, we had a giant costume parade – the creativity and skill of many of the attendees was UHMAZING. See the video for pics of lots of the costumes! Terry and Ron hosted the parade, and had fun commenting on the costumes. Following that, attendee Julie Terstriep had the honor of moderating a chat with Ed Speleers – which was REALLY interesting. Let’s do a Kickstarter!! (sorry, inside joke….)
Last event of the night – every attendee had a chance to meet the celebs for a minute, and get an autograph and photo. Ed, Ron and Terry were very gracious, and stayed up WAY late to meet every single one of us. Here are my photos!
Enjoy this video – just over 20 minutes, full of photos and some video footage, including my tribute to Terry and our question and answer from the press conference.
Our radio show, The Outlander Gab on the Air, will return on New Year’s Day! Go to our Live Radio page at 9 pm eastern/8 central on Tuesday nights to listen – we’ll be discussing 408, Blood of My Blood, AND 409, Birds and the Bees. Call in and tell us what you thought of both! You can listen to past episodes from this page, and on the Dec. 4 episode, Alyson, Sam and I talked about Thru The Stones.
Want to get more info about Thru The Stones and think about attending in 2020? Like their Facebook page.
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