Bilbo Baggins Celebrates 111 Years
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Bilbo Baggins celebrates 111 years

Birthday hosted by the Lewis Center

(Photograph provided by Deanna Huey at <a href=""></a>)

(Photograph provided by Deanna Huey at

By Hope Bolinger | Echo 

One hundred and eleven years does not pass by that often.

When the members of the Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis and Friends discussed options for events that year, they realized Sept. 22 fell on a Friday, the typical meeting day for the C.S. Lewis teas and other events. Considering the character Bilbo Baggins from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” was born on that day, they decided to host a party to celebrate the more-than-a-century-old protagonist.

“111 years is a long time!” senior Bethany Russell, one of the event coordinators, said.

She collaborated with Joe Ricke, professor of English and head of the Lewis Center, University Archivist Ashley Chu and senior Kaylen Dwyer to plan an event which models the description of Bilbo’s birthday party found in “The Fellowship of the Ring.”

During the planning meeting held this past week, the team of Chu, Dwyer and Ricke came up with decoration ideas such as sprucing the circle found near the Library Galleria with a “No Admittance Except on Party Business” sign and another one which declares “Bag End,” the name of Bilbo’s home.

They also collaborated on events, directly from the first “Fellowship of the Ring” chapter.

“The book says, ‘there were songs, dances, music, games, and of course, food and drink.’” Ricke said. “We’re trying to look at the book for everything (used in the event).”

For the songs and music portion, Ricke plans to lead the group in the tune, “The Road Goes Ever On,” sung by Bilbo a few pages after his birthday party. Games include a test of riddles that will feature prizes for winners, most likely books, according to Ricke.

Another event competition includes a costume contest, similar to the one hosted at another Lewis Center event last year known as the “Lord of the Rings Marathon.” For that contest, various students entered the event dressed as characters from the Lord of the Rings, including Hobbits with very hairy feet, pointy-eared Elves and other fantastical personalities.

Junior Kendra Smalley, who often attends the weekly teas and who participated in the “Lord of the Rings” marathon, encouraged all to attend the birthday.

“I would highly, highly recommend any and all people even slightly interested in the Inklings to come!” Smalley said. “It’ll be a great way to meet other people from around campus, plus there will be cake.”

As always with Lewis Center events, the team plans to furnish party guests with food. The cake to celebrate Bilbo’s 111th birthday, along with his nephew Frodo’s 33rd year, should feed just under 150 people. Ricke hopes to have 144 guests, one for each slice of cake.

In addition to the list provided by the book, the team plans to have a “fireworks” show, which includes sparklers. And, to conclude the event, Ricke hopes to incorporate Bilbo’s birthday speech which will make bystanders wonder how 111 years managed to vanish by so quickly.

Those who wish to come this event can attend today at 4 p.m. in the Library Galleria.


Upcoming C.S. Lewis Events

Sept. 29: Reading of Bethany Russell’s short story “Letters from a Minor Character”

Oct. 6: Summer Research Presentations with Kendra Smalley and Kaylen Dwyer

Oct. 13: (no tea; Fall Break)

Oct. 20: Tea with Hillary Foreman on C.S. Lewis’s “Till We Have Faces”

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