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International Hobbit Day Celebrates at First Light

By —— Bio and Archives--September 21, 2016

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International Hobbit Day also happens to mark the birthdays of both Frodo and Bilbo Baggins. The famous Hobbiton Movie Set – in the beautiful Matamata Waikato countryside – will awaken to the inaugural sunrise tour and breakfast birthday banquet in the hobbit village.

The birthday party will begin at 5:30 a.m. so that guests can look forward to an exceptional otherworldly experience on the 12-acre site. Costumes are welcome and each early morning partygoer will get to carry a lantern as they follow their guide along illuminated paths while listening to fascinating stories of how the Hobbiton Movie Set was created and the making of the movies.

For those not at the spot on International Hobbit Day, the 100% Pure New Zealand Facebook Page will live-stream from Bag End Road as first light reveals the green of The Shire and the surrounding Matamata hills, one of the first places in the world to see the light of a new day.

Meanwhile, down at the bottom of the hill, in the famed Green Dragon Inn, the fires will be burning to welcome partygoers for the breakfast banquet feast. It’s the first time the Inn will have had such an early opening and, in true hobbit tradition, there will be copious servings of delicious hobbit fare, with second helpings guaranteed – even thirds for the Peregrin Tooks of the party.

There will be music and dancing in the dining room, and – in pride of place – the proverbial birthday cake for Frodo and Bilbo, styled after the cake seen in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

To conclude this special event, the Hobbiton guide will lead the party back along the wandering paths of The Shire, across the bridge, past the mill and under the Party Tree.

For late risers, there’s one final option for International Hobbit Day – an Evening Banquet Dinner Tour that finishes with a moonlight walk through the Hobbiton Movie Set to witness the village as it gets ready for bed. Think smoke drifting from hobbit chimneys, music in the air and lanterns glowing against the darkness.

Hobbiton Movie Set Facts

  • Film set area: covers approximately 12 acres
  • Hobbit houses: 44 Hobbit Holes
  • Party tree: 70 - 80 metres tall
  • Construction: 70 set builders
  • Catering: During production, three meals were served daily to cast and crew, plus snacks on demand for 600+ people
  • Gardens: 2.3km of hedges; 30 - 200 plants around each Hobbit house
  • Ground staff: 7 – 8 gardeners during height of season, 5 in winter
  • Traditional ales, cider and non-alcoholic ginger beer, all brewed exclusively for Hobbiton, are served from barrels behind the bar at the Green Dragon Inn.
  • The set is a two-hour drive from Auckland and within easy access of other North Island tourist destinations including Rotorua, Waitomo, Tauranga and the city of Hamilton.


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