About a year ago, Memfis and I discovered a little show called Longmire on Netflix. For those of you that haven’t watched Longmire, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Ha ha, in all seriousness, Longmire is a show that packs a big punch. It is the story of a small town sheriff in a the fictional town of Durant, WY based on the Longmire book series written by Craig Johnson. The show chronicles what has to be the most crime ridden town in all the west. What kind of sheriff do you need in a town like this? You need a sheriff willing to make the hard decisions and bend the rules when need be to protect the town. Sheriff Longmire is just that in that he manages to protect the citizens of Durant by living outside the lines but always with honor and devotion to the folks he serves. One more hook to the show, Sheriff Longmire occasionally finds himself in Colorado to meet up with the feds or to conduct investigations outside his jurisdiction. Of course, living in Colorado, this immediately grabbed our attention.
Like many shows we watch, we completely binged the first four seasons and then waited. You know the wait. The agonizing, long wait when you realized you have watched every single show in a particular series and months stand between you and the next season in which you find out what happened. For binge watchers like us, the wait can be pain-staking and just leads to more questions about that final episode. If only there was something that could end the torture and then the most wonderful thing happened.
It turns out we weren’t the only ones watching this show. As we shared the details of our newest TV obsession, another Longmire fan shared with us some most wonderful news. There were others just like us longing to see our little show again and once a year those Longmire faithfuls gather in a small town in Wyoming to participate in Longmire mania. Yep you guessed it, there is a festival every summer called Longmire Days! We could hardly contain our excitement and immediately began plans to attend.
It turns out the festival takes place each year in the town of Buffalo, WY which for one weekend completely transforms itself into the fictional town in the show/books. The festival takes place a week or two after the show wraps to allow the series stars to actually attend and mingle with the fans. Once we found about Longmire Days, we immediately began making plans to attend. We travel a lot so this wasn’t the only trip we had planned but for some reason the one I was most excited about.
The weeks passed by and finally it was time to head to Buffalo, WY. We loaded the not so excited kids in the car along with everything we thought we need for our weekend away. We opted to stay in the Buffalo, WY KOA since the town of about 5,000 full time residents definitely decided to take advantage of the boom in tourism and mark up the hotel rates but hey I would too. Arriving late on a Friday evening, we headed straight to the celebrity softball tournament and home run derby. The event was held on a tiny little baseball field probably not as nice as the one I grew up playing softball on in my hometown but did include two top notch ports-potties so that necessary business could be handled. What was so interesting about this softball game was not that it was at a risky-dinky field or that mid-game everyone needed to run for cover due to an impromptu thunderstorm. More intriguing was the interaction between the actual actors in the show and the fans. They were standing in the bathroom lines with fans, playing softball with fans, buying beverages with fans. They weren’t surrounded by body guards or anyone trying to keep the public back but just enjoying the little town like the rest of us.
The festival continued the next day with a 5k race, antique car show, Longmire screenings, autograph sessions and a pretty tasty pancake breakfast benefiting the Lions Club. We aren’t much into autographs and celebrity meet and greets so we opted to spend time just enjoying the town and the people. Our teenager ran the 5k race and Memfis and I managed to sneak a beer a local brewery and some geocaching of course.
We met a lovely couple that lives in an RV during the summers who were also staying at our KOA. We saw from friends from Colorado and managed to get some festival tips from some sweet ladies from Minnesota. We also managed to find time to enjoy some pretty amazing Wyoming steaks at a local steakhouse and before heading back to town to enjoy the block party. The main downtown area street was closed to allow for a stage and dancing. There was activities for the kids, beverages for the adults and again the stars of the show mingling with the crowd. Hallie got her picture made with one of the stars that caught her eye and held a brief conversation despite being star struck.
Finally the weekend was over and it was time we left Buffalo and began the drive back to Colorado. Along the way, we took in some of the beautiful scenery in northern Wyoming. Who knew there was such beauty if you just drive past Cheyenne? Ha! However, just as beautiful as the scenery we were witnessing was the experience we are already reflecting upon. It was mind-blowing to me that something as simple as a story and the love of a small town sheriff could bring together so many. The whole weekend was just plain fun with no stress, hanging out with people that wanted to be where they were having just as much as we were having.
Real life can be so stressful sometimes that I think quirky little festivals like Longmire Days is exactly what we need so we can reset ourselves. What a release it was for me to be with a group of people sharing a common interest who came together for one weekend pretending they were hanging out in a make believe town with a fake Sheriff.
For those of you wanting to attend Longmire Days in 2017 or check out the show, follow the links below.