Street Meet: 'Gilmore Girls' Fan Festival in Washington Depot, Connecticut
Every weekend, as hordes of hungry diners wait in line for brunch, Extra Crispy will hit the pavement, visiting a neighborhood’s most popular spots and talking to people who love the meal as much as we do. For this installment of Street Meet, Extra Crispy went to the first-ever Gilmore Girls fan festival in Washington Depot, CT—the very location that inspired the show’s creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, to invent Stars Hollow.
Pat Arce, Megan Arce, and Lisa Deck in front of Jammed for Thyme
Extra Crispy: What’s your favorite part of the festival so far?
Megan: The first panel, [with] the costume designer and the dialogue coach. They were the best for getting insight into the show.
Lisa: Meeting Rose Abdoo, [who plays] Gypsy. She could not be nicer. It was just a pleasure to meet her.
Pat: I thought Keiko [Agena] was really cool. She came out in the rain, she said hello to everybody, and she was very appreciative of her fans.
Did you spend a lot of time waiting in the rain yesterday?
All: Yes! [Laughs]
How long did you have to wait to get a picture?
Megan: About 45 minutes.
Lisa: It was just pouring rain out, and it was cold. But it was worth it. There was nobody complaining, nobody pushing and shoving. It was just a wonderful crowd of people.
What did you eat to warm up?
Lisa: The grilled cheese and tomato sandwich [from The Farm Truck].
Did you go to any other restaurants in the area?
Megan: Yeah, The Pantry.
Lisa: Ugh, awesome.
Megan: Everything was good.
What did you have?
Megan: We had coffee. I had the peach berry crumble, which I recommend to everybody because it was that good.
That sounds like dessert!
Megan: It was like a late lunch.
Lisa: I had the moose paté, and it was one of the best patés I’ve ever had. They gave me little pickles and olives and a little baguette. I even bought some to take home.
Pat: I had the spinach artichoke soup, which was out of this world. Their coffee’s great, too.
What restaurant would you most want to eat at in Stars Hollow?
Lisa: Definitely Luke’s.
Is there anywhere besides Luke’s that you’d want to go?
Megan: The Dragonfly. Everything Sookie makes on the show makes me want to eat more. I don’t want a mystery bag [from Al’s Pancake World]. Everything about that makes me nervous.
Pat: I changed mine. I think I’d want to go to The Dragonfly.
Lisa: Instead of Luke’s?
Lisa: I still want to go to Luke’s.
It sounds like that has more to do with Luke than with Luke’s food.
Lisa: It’s got nothing to do with the food. I could care less. I just want Luke to serve me a hamburger and fries.
Elizabeth Allen, Catherine Kallberg, Kristin Nauheimer, and Lauren Nauheimer in front of Jammed for Thyme
Extra Crispy: What’s been your favorite part of the festival so far?
Elizabeth: Just the idea that we feel like we’re in Stars Hollow. It’s just been so nice to feel like we’ve become part of a town we’ve come to love so much. A fictional town.
Catherine: You never told me it was fictional.
Lauren: The panel last night was amazing, with all the cast. They all seemed genuinely happy to be here.
Kristin: And to see each other.
What did you get up to last night after the panel?
Kristin: We just went home because it was freezing.
Elizabeth: We were cold and wet!
Catherine: My boot was leaking, but I didn’t care.
What’s the best breakfast you’ve had since you’ve been here?
Catherine: At the Washington Food Market I had a bacon, egg, and cheese on an English muffin, and it was phenomenal. Lots of bacon, really, really crispy.
Elizabeth: I ate half of Cathy’s, and it was amazing.
You two [Kristin and Lauren] are sisters, but how do you all know each other?
Elizabeth: [Points to Kristin] Best friends since we were 12.
Kristin: And we are not 12! We are far, far from 12.
Elizabeth: We babysat her kids [gesturing to Catherine], and now we’re friends.
Catherine: And now my kid babysits her kid [gesturing to Elizabeth], who is named Lorelai.
You have a daughter named Lorelai?!
Elizabeth: Yes, she’s three and a half. And, actually, we [gesturing to Catherine] became friends because of Gilmore Girls.
Catherine: It was a good moment. I love you.
What’s the restaurant that you would most want to eat at in Stars Hollow?
Catherine: Although, I’d also go to Al’s Pancake World for a follow-up.
Lauren: I want to do International Grab Bag Night, but then I want to go to Luke’s. I don’t want to eat [what’s in the grab bag].
Stephanie Andrews and Patty Andrews in front of Jammed for Thyme
Extra Crispy: I love your matching plaids! Are you mother and daughter?
Patty: [joking] Yes, we coordinated!
Where are you from?
Stephanie: I live in Chicago.
Patty: I’m from Fenwick Island, Delaware.
What’s your favorite part of the festival so far?
Patty: Just being in this adorable town, where everyone’s so welcoming and makes you feel like you’re part of their neighborhood, just the way it would have been in Stars Hollow.
Does it feel like Stars Hollow?
Stephanie: It really does, actually! The people are so sweet, and you feel like part of a community. It’s really nice.
Nice! What did you get up to after the cast panel last night?
Stephanie: I think we just went back to the place where we’re staying.
Patty: We did! We were really beat. The first night we went to the GW Tavern. We love, love, loved it.
What’s the best breakfast you’ve had at the festival?
Patty: I’m not a breakfast eater. I just drink coffee. The best part has been two to three cups of coffee to jolt my day.
Stephanie: Easy to find here.
Patty: Yes! There’s coffee everywhere.
That sounds on-brand for Gilmore Girls. If you could visit any fictional restaurant in Stars Hollow, which one would it be?
Stephanie: Luke’s, of course.
Patty: Yeah, definitely Luke’s.
You don’t want to go to Al’s Pancake World?
Patty: That sounded a little weird to me.
Stephanie: Yeah, I think I’ve always been a Luke’s girl.
Now, is it because of the food or because of Luke?
Patty: I think it’s because of the food! I love a good cheeseburger.
Stephanie: Apparently he makes some mean coffee.
Mariann Jané and Mariel Rendon in front of the Washington Food Market
Extra Crispy: Where are you from?
Mariann: Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Mariel: Monterrey, Mexico.
How did you wind up at the Gilmore Girls festival?
Mariel: So, we were very excited and we sent a letter, even though we heard about it late.
Mariann: We made a character reference like Lorelai does for Luke, like when he’s battling for custody of April. We kind of followed that format, asking for tickets, and we sent it to Jennie [Whitaker, the organizer of the festival]. She was so excited, but she didn’t have any tickets, so we just thought we weren’t coming. Then three weeks later, she sent us an email saying some tickets were available and asked if we still wanted to come. And we did. [Laughs]
When did you first start watching Gilmore Girls?
Mariann: It was when it first started. It was like ten years ago.
Yeah! That’s when I started watching, too. What’s your favorite part of the festival so far?
Mariel: Yesterday we were making a list of our favorite things.
Mariann: When Hep Alien [Lane Kim’s band] sang outside the Town Hall.
Mariel: That was one of mine. And then we got to go inside to see the [cast] panel, and see them all together. That was really exciting.
What’s the best breakfast you’ve had since you got here?
Mariann: Yesterday we went to Marty’s and had some scrambled eggs. It was really good. And the coffee was amazing.
Coffee is important if you’re a Gilmore Girls fan. If you could eat at any restaurant in Stars Hollow, which one would you want to go to?
Mariann: Luke’s, obviously.
Mariel: Well, also Al’s Pancake World. Because they always have Random Lobster Day or random Chinese. So I wish I could go and know what’s up.
Danielle Sienkiewicz and Dawn Groballi in front of Marty’s Cafe
Extra Crispy: I like your pink hat! It looks warm. Are you two mother and daughter?
Dawn: No, she’s my niece. But I love her like my daughter!
What’s been your favorite event so far at the festival?
Dawn: It was definitely seeing Kirk [Sean Gunn].
Danielle: We waited for hours to see Kirk, and he was so nice.
How long did you wait for?
Danielle: It was probably 9 in the morning until around noon.
Wow! You waited three hours? Were you in the rain for most of that time?
Danielle: We were in the big tent, but it took a long time to see him because people wanted things signed.
Did you get your picture taken with anyone else you were excited to meet?
Danielle: I found Caesar [Aris Alvarado, who played Luke’s put-upon cook] and she found Tom [Biff Yeager, who played a droll, local contractor].
Dawn: I love the Tom character because my husband’s a carpenter. He is the Tom character.
If you could eat anywhere in Stars Hollow, where would you want to go?
Danielle: I mean, you kind of have to go to Luke’s. We’re coffee addicts, obviously.
You don’t want to go to Al’s Pancake World?
Dawn: Oh! Al’s Pancake World for Chinese? We’d have to do that.
Some people have told me they’re afraid to go to Al’s Pancake World, and I don’t really blame them.
Dawn: That’s part of the appeal, though.
Danielle: The danger!
Dawn: Yeah. There’s risk involved there.
What’s the best breakfast you’ve had this weekend?
Danielle: The oats I had today were good. It was like apple, cinnamon, walnut oatmeal.
Oh, from the truck [Jammed with Thyme]?
Danielle: Yeah, from the truck.
Dawn: We got egg sandwiches here today. Yesterday we picked up bagels in town on the way here, because we weren’t sure what they were going to have. But then they had everything available, so it was really convenient.
You’re both from Connecticut. Does it feel Stars Hollow-y enough to you?
Danielle: Oh, yeah! I think people really got the experience coming here. With the book store, with the coffee, the way things run around here. The fact that it’s fall, and they can see the seasons change, just because some people came from so far away.
Dawn: Washington Supply [the local hardware store] really went above and beyond. We got to sit and get our picture taken and pretend we were at Luke’s.
Danielle: All the local places have been really friendly.
Dawn: Because we did just invade.
George Daileda and Chelsea March in front of Hickory Stick Bookshop
Extra Crispy: What did you get up to after the cast panel last night?
Chelsea: We went back to the hotel and went to sleep. [Laughs]
George: We had gotten there at, like, 8 AM...
Chelsea: ...to meet Sean Gunn, so we were there the entire day. And he’s sick.
George: I’ve been sick since Friday. And I walk dogs in the city, so I’m outside all day. We got pizza and slept.
Did you get a picture with Kirk?
Chelsea: Yes, we did. And Lulu [Rini Bell, who played Kirk’s very patient girlfriend]. We talked to [Sean Gunn] about his cats and his movie projects.
George: One of the movies that is coming up his brother wrote, which I’m really excited about.
Where would you want to eat in Stars Hollow?
George: See, it’s between two things. 99% of the time it’d probably be Luke’s, but if I’m in the mood for something random, it’d have to be Al’s because Al’s has everything.
Chelsea: You’re going to get sick at Al’s. I would like to have lunch at The Dragonfly, personally, because Sookie is just an amazing cook. And I know that you would rather eat at Luke’s, but...
George: You see, I forgot that, like, eating at The Dragonfly is an option.
Chelsea: I think that’s an option, is that an option?
George: Okay, you know what, The Dragonfly it is.
Chelsea: It’s just so beautiful, and the horses are there.
George: Remember all that food [Sookie] was making for that kid’s party?
Chelsea: The jalapeno mac and cheese? Every time we watch that episode, I want that mac and cheese. And after I finish lunch at The Dragonfly, I would want to go to Westin’s and get some pie or a rum ball.
George: See, she’s just fancy.
What’s the best breakfast that you’ve had since you’ve been here?
George: I’ve only had one breakfast here, besides the bagel at the hotel.
Chelsea: That was trash.
George: It was one of those vendors. They had really good dinner, but I wasn’t too fond of their breakfast. I had the, um…
Chelsea: ...the French Toast Panini.
George: The French Toast Panini that had, like, ham and stuff in it. It was alright. It wasn’t as good as the food the night before. And she had the breakfast burrito, which she wasn’t really fond of.
Chelsea: We’re supposed to be answering best breakfast.
I asked the New Yorkers where the best breakfast was. My mistake. I love that you’re a male Gilmore Girls fan, and that you didn’t get dragged here. Did you start watching the show after you two met?George: Yes. When I was younger, it was that whole, like, “I’m a boy, toxic masculinity, you don’t want to watch a show that has the word ‘girls’ in it. Watch Smallville instead.” [Laughs]
Yes! My Extra Crispy interview has the phrase “toxic masculinity” in it!
George: I never finished Smallville.
Chelsea: But you finished Gilmore Girls!
George: I have a theory. Anyone who’s Team Dean is also a Supernatural fan. I don’t get Supernatural.
Chelsea: Oh, and we’re both Team Jess, if you need it for the article. We were very happy that the cast was mostly Team Jess.
I liked the Team Rory answers, personally. I don’t think any of them were good enough for her.
George: They’re not good enough for her, but she’s got to end up with someone.
Chelsea: If you had to pick. Exactly.
Sarah Landry and Megan Borel in front of Hickory Stick Bookshop
Extra Crispy: How did you guys meet?
Sarah: I went to Louisiana Tech and didn’t know anyone so just got stuck in a room with someone. They wanted me to move out. I picked the one room on the same floor that only had one person in it [Megan]. It took us about a week and a half, two weeks, to get around the awkwardness. She was upset with me because I’d moved in on her space. One day she pulled a box out of the top of her closet, and I saw all the seasons of Gilmore Girls lined up in a row. So I stuck my hand under my bed and pulled out a box of all my Gilmore Girls DVDs. We pretty much became friends because of Gilmore Girls.
What was your favorite event so far at the festival?
Megan: I would have to say the crew panel on Friday night. They gave a lot of behind-the-scenes knowledge that we don’t get to hear about [often].
Sarah: You can tell that the crew loved the show so much. They cared about it, and they cared about the fans.
Who were you excited to get your picture with?
Sarah: We waited an hour and a half to see Keiko. I have a picture of me hugging her!
Megan: I would have to say Jackson. I was a little nervous to meet Keiko because she was a leading actress. Jackson was very down to earth, so it was just a little easier for me.
Look! There’s Kirk!
Sarah: Oh my god! Please, can we go?!
Yeah! [ What’s the restaurant in Stars Hollow that you would most want to go to?
Megan: Yeah, absolutely.
You don’t want to go to Al’s Pancake World?
Sarah: Well, it would be fun, but it would have to be Luke’s. I would probably go to The Dragonfly if I was just going for the food. Sookie’s for lunch, Westin’s for dessert.