Fergus 2000

August 11-13, 2000


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How the Fergus Weekend Came About
by Ron

Posted on the LOL Social Board - Thursday, 17-Aug-00

By prearrangement, I met Marielle at the Toronto Train Show in the spring of 1999. We enjoyed the visit so much that, afterwards, I mused about why more Hosers didn't get together. In July I met Janice M at another Train Show in St. Paul. We also hit it off well. In subsequent chats on the Frasers Ridge Board, the idea of the Board people meeting was discussed. We were originally thinking of a spot near Chicago since it would be central to more people, but Janice heard that Diana would be coming to Fergus in the next summer. Thus, we turned our attention to that venue.

Janice and I discussed the idea back and forth by email for some time. In November, Sharon B., Keira, Heather and I found each other after an LOL list came out and we began meeting as the London Hosers. In a few weeks, Shawn Taylor from nearby Sarnia joined us. Over the months since we have hosted other DG fans when they were in London. From the first meeting, we agreed that we wanted to host a larger gathering of DG fans from Southern Ontario. That meeting came off in late April and was very successful. Meanwhile, Janice had been joining various Boards which discussed Diana's books and encountered Sharon B and Debby F on them. Debby and I first met at that April lunch and we began to plan a dinner near Fergus during the Scottish Festival.

Several possible sites were investigated and we settled on the Aberfoyle Mill for its location and charm. We thought we might have 25 to 30 people at the dinner. Right away, I asked, "What shall we do there besides have dinner?" This question was answered by the addition of Sharon B and Keira to the Committee. Debby remained in charge of liasing with the Mill and maintaining the reservation list. The other three of us met several times to plan the entertainment. Most of the work for this was done by Sharon B with the help of her husband's business. Keira and I posted messages and answered emails. Debby, Sharon and I met at the Mill with the owner to survey the site.

As the time for the Festival neared, some of our email friends began asking what plans were there for the Friday evening. I used the Yellow Pages on the web to find "Cactus Jacks" and it really seemed to fill our expectations! Finally, on the Thursday before the Festival, Janice and Dave flew into London and the entire committee met for the first time. We settled a few problems, then had the first and only rehearsal of "Books in a Minute." Debby had to leave for another meeting, but we stayed on for a barbecue, and were joined later by Leslie and her sister. Janice and Dave stayed with Sharon and Jack through the weekend, but they found time (in fact, Janice insisted on it!) to visit my home some 25 miles away and see my two model railroads and my little Boston Terrier, Cindy Lou. We then dropped Cindy off at the kennel for a two day stay and had a lunch in the same place the London Hosers had used in June. Then we proceeded to Fergus. The rest has been well documented by other writers.

There have been a few suggestions that this should happen next year, whether or not Diana can make it. I say to this,

"Will Ye No Come back Agin'?"



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Fergus Memories
by BetsyE

Posted on the LOL Social Board - Wednesday, 16-Aug-00

I know some of these have been mentioned by others who were there also, but here are a few of my favorite memories of Fergus:

* Walking up to the booksigning table Friday afternoon, having only one person in line ahead of us, and getting my books signed by Herself!

* Thinking that we had missed the group at Cactus Jacks, but deciding to stay for dinner anyway, only to find out that we were only a few tables away from other LOLer's, and there were more on their way.

* Seeing Seven Nations after leaving Cactus Jacks (I only wish I wasn't so tired and could have stayed longer - they were AWESOME).

* Waking up to the sound of bagpipes Saturday morning; crawling out of the tent, and drinking a cup of coffee while watching the pipers warming up. (I'm still hearing bagpipes in my head).

* MIK's every where you looked *VBG*

* Listening to Herself at the "Lecture and Questions" sessions; you can see where the humor in the books comes from.

* Of course, the wonderful dinner at the Aberfoyle Mill, enjoying the evening with other Hosers, Diana reading the excerpt - what an evening!!

* Most of all, meeting all the other Lallyfolks! I won't even try to list them all, but it was great meeting each of you!!

Camping on-site at the Festival definitely added to a fantastic weekend that flew by much too quickly. I can't wait till next year :o)



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Beladona's Fergus Journal

Posted on the LOL Social Board - Wednesday, 16-Aug-00

Day 1: Friday Aug 11

After doing a bit of a walk about of the festival grounds, we went to set up our lawn chairs to watch the tattoo. We thought we would be there early enough to get into the front row, but OMG were we in for a surprise, people were already set up for 4 hours prior to the tattoo.

I looked around for LOL pals but couldna see any LOL Tee-shirts, turns out many were at Cactus Jack's. The MIKs were magnificent in their attire, and it was so nice to see a cadet band hold their own with all the experienced pipers. Being the mush-pot that I am, I could not keep the tears out of my eyes when the singer was spotlighted in her white dress and green cloak billowing in the breeze, singing Amazing Grace accompanied by the brass band, bagpipers and drummers. I am telling you, Lallypals that this was truly a sight and sound to behold in the cool night air while everyone held lighted candles. The tattoo was over at 10:30, around the same time the LOL's crawled out of Cactus Jack's, but it took 45 minutes to get out of the parking lot with all the other spectators before we headed back to the motel in Guelph to rest up for the next day's activities. BTW, Cactus Jack's happened to be right around the corner from the motel we had for the weekend!

Day 2: Saturday Aug 12

OK, this is how bad we wanted to be at the festival: we arrived before more than half of the vendors had their booths opened, but the parking lot was already filling rapidly. We walked around a bit, enjoying the MIKs and eyes peeled for LOL Tee-shirts, I had mine on too. Ooops, I had to stop ogling at all the MIKs, because it was time to get heading to the tent where DG would be for lectures, questions and booksigning.

I got to the tent and all the LOLs were there and more were arriving! We were the roudiest bunch, with Lallyhugs and greetings all round. I lost count of how many LOLs I met (Toni, Val, JP, Merc, BarBJ, Aislinn, Katiscoch. Bette and lots others) and of how many people we hosed: lots certainly asked about our T-shirts, but we sure know how to attract attention, don't we Lallypals? Fraser tartan ribbons on pins were handed out as more hosers arrived. There was standing room only inside and outside the tent. When DG came in, she was escorted by a piper, and everyone looked at her adoringly as we applauded enthusiastically. I was still getting over a nasty bout of laryngitis and couldn't cheer very loudly, dernit and dagnabbit.

My DH and I had toured around a bit on our own separately and he knew just where to find me (I can flee, but I canna hide) and he was so sweet to bring me my copy from the car of TOC to be signed. He had met some LOLs even before I did because he was on the lookout for the Tee-shirts too. I loved Val's idea: she brought her copy of Cross Stitch to be signed by hosers and brought fabric to swap with other Lallyquilters.

Diana spoke for about a half hour and answered questions. DH videotaped some of her lecture and here are a couple of things she talked about (that may or may not be in TOC)
- Fiery Cross will indeed be finished by end of this year and will be in bookstores hopefully within the first half of 2001
- her name "Gabaldon" originated in a small area of Spain, called Galicia, which was the 7th Cetic nation. She didn't find this out until the books became extremely popular and began being translated, and someone who read the Spanish version e-mailed her.
- her vision of Jamie does not look at all like Mel Gibson

She is such a good presenter: she looks around at everyone with her lovely dark eyes, nods a lot, smiles a lot, uses her free hand (the other was holding the mic) for emphasis, was very relaxed and humorous all the time. She looked very elegant in a purple print skirt with a matching shawl pinned at the neck with a beautiful silver brooch.

Afterwards, everyone scrambled out of the tent to get into the book-signing line and it went on for miles, I tell you! OK, can I be a bit catty here? One of the unhosed actually had the nerve to complain that some people in line had more than one book to be signed and that wasn't fair to those that only had one because they were holding up the line. I held my tongue, ground my teeth and showed exemplary manners, and just smiled sweetly at her. Lady Toni's DH was so kind to hold our place in line every time we stepped away to meet other hosers, and you should have heard all the calling back and forth. Wow, we were the happiest bunch of people in the festival. My eyes almost popped out of my head (I'll bet a lot of women went ga-ga too) when I saw the MIK hunk Aislinn was with.

The fans were given Post-it notes to put our names on our books, to help DG with the dedications when she signed them. We were all so disappointed to be turned away, when it was time for DG to be on-stage at the opening ceremonies, and Merc was up next, with JP and a few other hosers. Dernit and dagnabbit, Toni and I were not far behind either. And sheesh can we put on a pout when pissed off or what? JP's pout was the best! So off we all went to get lunch, beverages of various strengths, to ogle MIKs, and making plans to meet back at DG's tent for the next session. JP brought along his trusty little ax and had his photo taken pretending to murder an LOL with great hilarity.

I watched the opening ceremonies at the main field with Bette and her sweet DD, Shannon. We espied the cutest little blonde boy, about 2 yrs old, wearing a blue kilt, jumping about to the bagpipe music. An MIK in the making!

Lunch was beaver tails...for those of you that don't know what these are (OK, clear your minds of that dirty silliness for one second, will ya's) and have never had these, they are deepfried pastry smothered with cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice. When eaten while still warm, the best part is the sweet and tart stickiness that drips down your fingers and is just so yummy to lick off. DH told me that he registered with the Fraser clan (he's a Fraser on his mom's side) and showed me the kilt pin he bought with the Fraser crest. He bought a Fraser clan book for his genealogy search and thought maybe that a kilt wouldn't be such a bad thing to wear. Wow, you could have knocked me over with a feather. He is also so-o-o-o-o hosed, and maybe one day he will come out of lurkdom and post on LOL.

Met more hosers on the way down to DG's tent for the afternoon lecture/booksigning session. The booksigning organizers were so thoughtful to allow those that were turned away at the a.m. session to be in a separate lineup so that our books would be signed first! Anyone that had a Post-it note from the a.m. session went first! Woooohoooooo! By the time the other fans left the tent after DG's talk, the lineup was already snaking along the festival grounds.

More meeting of hosers, and I can't even keep up with all the names and faces, there were so-o-o-o many!

We went back to the motel to shower and change into our costumes for dinner. I had made a serving wench costume with full length cotton chemise worn off the shoulder, pink and beige bodice laced up at the back. DH had to be lady's maid and lace me up! The grey skirt was hiked up at the front with two white petticoats underneath. DH wore the offwhite Jacobite shirt I made for him, laced at the front with leather. I lent him my Fraser ribbon and he secured it with his new kilt pin.

We were a just a little bitty eager and arrived at the Aberfoyle Inn 45 minutes early! After we signed in we sat in the lounge area with Lady Toni and her DH (who BTW reminds me of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger) and had lovely hosed conversation. We tried valiantly to get Toni's DH to be interested in THE BOOKS.
Our dinner partners were Toni with her DH, and BarBJ with her DD and DH. Everyone was so happy and excited! Everyone wore something Outlandish, if not a costume then dragonfly jewelry, SueS' beautiful works, or the LOL mementos. We've all got hoseritis real bad!

The ambiance in the room was perfect for the occasion, almost like being thrown into the 18th century, with all the old stone, wooden beams, candles, and lanterns. The kits provided by the gathering organizers were so thoughtful! We had tartan printed bookmarks, name tags, a booklet with the agenda for the evening, tartan printed mouse pads, and the handcrafted mini dolls were just the bestest! Each woman received the Scottish female doll wearing tartan shawls and long skirts. Mine even had brown curly hair like Claire and a mini bouquet of dried herbs and flowers! The men received fierce looking little Scottish warriors complete with shields and swords. Joyce, you are fine craftsperson to attend to such detail. The labels were so perfect: "The gathering of the fans" indeed!

The door prizes just kept on coming! There were dragonfly items, bookmarks, soaps, TOC. Was it fixed somehow that only the DH's at our table won doorprizes? The ladies quickly commandeered the prizes from them!

Diana, wearing another nice purple outfit, and Doug, being the polite and friendly folk that they are, came to each table to mingle and chat. They were so patient to allow every piccie to be taken, and believe you me, there were a lot taken that day! My DH took photos of everyone and photos of DG, and I hope they all turn out.
The meal was delicious and we lacked for nothing that evening. Well, maybe a bit of cool air. The temperature in the room got very high but everyone seemed to forget the heat when DG read the excerpt from the Fiery Cross. I won't go into detail, but it was about the surreptitious Catholic baptism of Bree's and Marsali's children.
The evening ended much too quickly and was it was too late for us to be able to make it to Debby's house for some wind-down time afterwards. There were so many hosers and not enough time to meet my Lallypals

Day 3: Sunday Aug 13

So there we were at the festival grounds again Sunday morning, where I bought a Celtic pendant shaped into a cube, and DH bought one of the last 5 Fergus/2000 tank tops. There was bagpipe music, MIKs galore, Scottish dancers, more MIKs, drummers, hosers, MIKs, Lallypals, and did I mention MIKs yet: everything necessary to make this hoser happy!

Toured around some more with DH and guess who I got to talk to all by myself! Yes, it was Diana and Doug on the festival grounds near the VIP tent. There she was, right there in front of me and I knew if I didn't say something, I would regret it for the rest of my life. I was so in awe of her, and my DH encouraged me to say Hi, and she offered her hand instantly for a handshake. I thanked her for writing the most wonderful books I have ever read. She made and held eye contact the whole time. They are so both humble and sweet.

Later, I mosied on down to the Genealogy tent again to listen to DG: just can't get enough listening to her. Her voice is the one I ‘hear' when Claire speaks.

My highlights of the Q&A portion:

- I asked her if she was going to write more e-books like she did with Hellfire. She said she intends on writing 3 more e-books, and then will publish all four into one volume. Woooohoooooooooo, another DG book to anticipate!
-someone asked her if if anyone influences her final work, and she responded no, she only submits when she thinks it is at it's best. Only Doug is allowed to make comments on her raw manuscripts and he sometimes writes things like ‘did you know you mention testicles 3 times in this section?', and that's as far as the critiquing goes.
-she talked a bit about her teaching experience of human anatomy and physiology to university students in the nursing and science fields, that's where the idea and knowledge originated for Claire to be a nurse
-presently, her ‘people' are talking to other ‘people' re. movie options, and emphasized that writers have no control over who the production company casts in the roles. Hey, Lallypals, I'm sure we could help them out with the selections!

I had my Lally Tee-shirt signed by my Lallypals. I saw more fellow LOLs but they didn't respond to me calling out their names, (my laryngitis was still hanging on) so I said "Hey hosers!" and they all turned around! The sun was at it's hottest that day while I stood in line to have my T-shirt signed by Herself but the time went fast while socializing with everyone in line.. I didn't have a Post-it note with my name this time because all my hardbacks were already signed, but she still remembered me and my name! Oh I was so honoured and walked on a cloud the rest of the day.

We said our goodbyes to the LOLs that were leaving and headed down to the Canadian Strongman Competition. Well, that was an experience on it's own. Never have I seen so many Big men in one place in my life. However, only one strongman wore a kilt, sniff, The event was filmed for the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) in Canada and will air the last weekend of Aug. The audience was also filmed and you might see some LOLs there! Check your TV listings for the exact dates and times. The winners of this event qualified for the finals at the Canadian Exhibition.

The town of Fergus was all decorated with tartan bunting. It normally has a population of 7,000 and this weekend 32,000 people drove through the front gates of the Festival. There was large display at the tourist information centre dedicated only to our Diana Gabaldon.



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Herself Post!!!

Posted on the LOL Social Board - Saturday, 19-Aug-00

Thank you, Thank you!!

A huge THANK YOU to all you Lally-gaggers that I met in Fergus--and a special hug to the Lallyquilters, who gave me a gorgeous quilted tote (to say nothing of the delightful contents, what with scented pillows, lovely letters, and the dish-soap bottle apron (Doug loves it; he washes dishes in the morning (I wash dishes when there are no more clean glasses), and says it's just what he's always wanted (well, OK, maybe he wants an airplane more, but he knows how to take pleasure in small things, too).

We both had a wonderful time in Fergus--both at the Games and at the great dinner with y'all at the Aberfoyle Mill. Doug was stunned; he's never been to one of these occasions before. "But they're such NICE people!" he kept saying. "I TOLD you..." I kept saying. 

I was thrilled that Doug was able to come with me for once--not only because it was great to have him along, but also so he could meet so many of you and see just why you're all so special. 

Thanks once again, to all of you--and I'll hope to see a few more of you at Pleasanton over Labor Day weekend!