Longmire Days in Durant, WY
I am a long-term resident of a tiny little town in Wyoming, it’s only about 5,000 people strong, 4 stop lights, 2 grocery stores, some tourist trap type stores, and a lot of sprawling small town atmosphere. A couple of weeks ago, I learned that the #1 TV show on A&E, Longmire, is set in the fictional town of Durant, WY, based almost entirely on my little home town. This weekend the entire town got in on the fun and converted to Durant for Longmire Days.
It all started on Friday, when I was driving down Main Street on the way to work, and noticed the strangest thing. One of the local realtors had changed thier signage to this:
Sorry about the reflections, that’s what you get photographing a window
That was pretty awesome in itself, but then I glanced over at the other side of the building and noticed this.
Ha! We have a new sheriff for the weekend!
And it wasn’t the only instance, there were “Longmire for sheriff” stickers and posters all around town, a Wanted sign of one of the characters in the show in a window of a downtown business, and “Longmire Days Rainier Beer” banners all over town. By the time Saturday and the start of the official events began, I was beginning to think they were going to change the signs on the interstate exits too! They didn’t, but I think I’ll suggest something along those lines for next year’s events.
On Saturday morning there was a pancake breakfast that I attended, and autograph signing by the author of the books which the show is based off of, Craig Johnson, and several of the actors. I didn’t make the signing, but I did find a special newspaper printed by the local press, which had been changed to reflect that for the weekend, my little town had been converted to Durant. I of course bought one, and here is the proof.
The newspaper from a alternate dimension?
By this point I was beginning to feel as if I had been transported into the fictional world of Sheriff Longmire and his town, which of course was the point, so I think the town did a great job.
Later on Saturday night I stopped in breifly at the street dance. Only in wyoming would you see something like this, half of downtown Main Street blocked off, and a band performing live on a large flat bed trailer which was parked across the street. They also had Rainier Beer for sale, which I knew was in the show, Sheriff Longmire’s beer of choice, but I hadn’t known it was a actual brand of beer. I of course tried one, and it wasn’t bad. I’ve had better, but all in all, a good beer. Deffinatly added to the feeling that I had stepped right into the show.
I missed several events that I would have liked to attend on Saturday, but what I did see had me eagerly looking forward to the Comedy/Karaoke show at the historic Occidental Hotel downtown on Sunday night.
My favorite building in town!
So Sunday after work I went to the show, and the place was PACKED. I could barely get in the door, and by the time I got there it was standing room only. I had a pleasant surprise though, not only was Adam Bartly who plays The Ferg, and was doing the show there, but so were several others, including Robert Taylor who plays Sheriff Longmire, and Bailey Chase who plays Branch Connally.
The show was amazing, Bartly sang some old western style ballads, told stories about the show and behind the scenes events, and answered questions. As I was trying to find my way out the door, I got stuck in the crowd, and Bailey Chase ended up bumping into me on his way past, I was very amused and smiling, and that brings me to a point about my little town. It’s such a quiet and safe town with such respectful and well behaved citizens, that even with the actors I already mentioned, and a few others there, no security was in sight, no policemen, nothing. They were mingling and talking and having pictures taken right in the middle of the throng of people. All I could think all evening was “only in Wyoming would this happen”. I love living in a small town like that, and the show captures that atmosphere incredibly well.
I finally made my way to the lobby adjoining the room where the show was held, and managed to get a autograph by Mr. Taylor! The highlight of my year, seriously. The star actor from a show based on my tiny little town, and I got to see him, talk to him, and get his autograph!
This about wrapped up the events, I wish I had been able to go on the horseback ride earlier on Sunday, but it was 200 dollars a person and I don’t have that kind of cash floating around. Maybe next year I can save and plan for it.
I really had a wonderfull time, the city and the businesses did a wonderfull job of pulling together to make it really feel like we were in Durant, the events were spectacular, and the ease of access to the stars was a treat that you won’t find in larger citys.
This was personaly a wonderfull experience for me. There’s something about meeting the cast and hearing the stories about a show based on the place I’ve come to call my Home that just can’t be compared to anything. It’s a amazing feeling knowing that someone not only wrote books based on my home, but got it turned into a #1 TV show, with amazing actors and a great story line. I hope to attend all the events next year and get to enjoy the thril of living in Durant, WY, if only for a weekend, once more.