Photo by Sarah Sanborn. 
                                Elven DJ’s bring a fantastical Lord of the Rings playlist to the event Saturday, Oct. 13.

Photo by Sarah Sanborn. Elven DJ’s bring a fantastical Lord of the Rings playlist to the event Saturday, Oct. 13.

Soft opening launches Whit’s End Productions

The Renton company’s first Lord of the Rings inspired event went viral on Facebook

Whit’s End Harvest Festival — a Lord of the Rings inspired event —went viral after the Facebook event was created in August, generating more than 14,000 people interested in the first week of the event being posted. There were 17,327 people interested in the event, but only very few were able to attend the “soft launch” of Whit’s End Productions.

Tickets went live Sept. 12 and were sold out by Sept. 14. The tickets were $150, and 111 were available, the same number as Bilbo Baggin’s birthday.

Guests were shuttled from Northwood Middle School parking lot to a private location of the event along Lake Desire. Fantastical music blasted from the vans as they picked up elves, hobbits and wizards. The event led guests through the “green door” to enter and receive drink tickets, a personalized cup and map of the event. Event-goers stayed from 2 to 9 p.m. with several meals, a pub and a tobacco bar. Local musician Mossy Raven was the event’s “bard” and someone portrayed Lord of the Ring’s Gandalf the whole night for attendees. The night closed with fireworks.

This was the first event founder Steiner Whitmore and Samantha Dix had organized. Not expecting the Facebook event to go as viral as it did, and in the span of mere days, they bumped their private event capacity up to 111 tickets. And Lord of the Ring’s fans showed up. One family drove to Renton from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for the event and made a weekend trip of it. Another couple came down from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Tyler and Makala Bennett came to the event from Bremerton. Both grew up reading Lord of the Rings, enjoyed the movies and hope to do this every year.

“It’s all up in the air until we see it, but it’s awesome being able to kind of play Lord of the Rings and see Bilbo’s birthday party,” Tyler said as they waited for the shuttle.

The founder asked media not to attend to cause less distractions for event goers and stress, but Facebook posts after the event page show a lot of cosplay and decor bringing the Shire to life. Attendees who posted afterwards were happy with the event and want to attend again.

“Thank you guys for making this dream into a reality for so many of us!” one attendee said on the event page.

The event featured food as a big element, which Whitmore said was important to his events and growing up he always gravitated towards the kitchen. The new company’s website features a saying: “The kitchen is the heart of the home.”

“All our (family) dinners are there, so it’s really centered in the heart so that’s why we put that in there. Food is just that great equalizer,” Whitmore said. Whit’s End Productions plan to have a larger, public and kid-friendly festival in the spring that will include more vendors.

Photo by Adrien Cho
                                 One attendee enjoys the archery station as a Whit’s End Production volunteer guides them through the shot.

Photo by Adrien Cho One attendee enjoys the archery station as a Whit’s End Production volunteer guides them through the shot.

More in Business

From preliminary plans for the new Topgolf location in Renton, courtesy of the city.
Topgolf to bring high-tech driving range to Renton

Construction is expected to be complete in 2021, according to the land-use notice.

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe to develop luxury hotel at Auburn casino

Opening in 2021, dynamic resort experience to meet guest demand, the tribe says

Lawmakers need to re-examine budget before adjourning

Before lawmakers wrap-up their work in Olympia, they should re-examine their hefty… Continue reading

Inconvenient truth about batteries

Each year Americans throw away more than three billion batteries constituting 180,000… Continue reading

Darker side of renewables

Before our country, in haste, dives totally into renewable energy, we must… Continue reading

Oil companies betting on electric technology

Across the pond, London-based BP and Netherlands-headquartered Shell are looking to invest… Continue reading

Trade issues coalesce Washington’s delegation

Historically, international trade issues have galvanized our state’s congressional delegation. Many wondered… Continue reading

Henry Beleford displays photos of current high school students have come through his shop to get their letterman jackets. Beleford said once they graduate, he takes their photos down. Photo by Sarah Brenden
Local shop owner helps students show school spirit

What started out as a part-time gig has turned full time for… Continue reading

Microsoft has expanded their AccountGuard service to 12 new European Countries. Yellow: European countries already protected. Blue: European countries now protected. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Microsoft warns of hacking ahead of elections

Launching defense services in Europe.

The Heaven Sent location in downtown Renton closed its doors after eight years. Photo by Haley Ausbun
Heaven Sent leaves Renton

Heaven Sent Fried Chicken closed its doors Feb. 23. Owner says he’s focusing on Everett store and a gluten-free menu

Praerit Garg joins Smartsheet as CTO

Bellevue-based company employs 760 people

OfferUp founder Nick Huzar makes customer safety a core pillar

Bellevue-based CEO wanted a simpler solution to his own problems