Claims ‘Gilmore Girls’ event will ‘in effect shut the town down to residents’
To the Editor:
Washington, Conn., is a pleasant and considerate place to live where citizens give more to the community than they consume.
It has avoided crass commercialism.
Notable people live here because of its sensitivity to privacy.
If it has had a role in history, it would be that it is the first town to be named Washington in honor of our first president, who stayed here during the revolution.
One might think that being regarded as an ideal New England town would be enough.
Not so for current commercial elements in town who, led by an Economic Development Committee, recently cooked up a connection between Washington and a discontinued TV series, “The Gilmore Girls.”
A small group of people persuaded Washington selectmen to sign a long-term contract with TV promoters binding the town to pretend it is Stars Hollow, the fictitious site of “Gilmore Girls” sagas, for a three-day festival each year.
All of this is based on an unspecific claim that the creator of “Gilmore Girls” was inspired during a brief stay at the Mayflower Inn.
None of the “Gilmore Girls” episodes were filmed in Washington (most were filmed in Hollywood and Canada).
The long-term contract is a work of promoters’ art.
Twelve hundred tickets were sold before festival plans were finalized (receipts were approximately $240,000).
The promoters get 100 percent of the receipts; the town and/or its charities get nothing.
During and after the festival, the promoters have exclusive rights to everything; the town and/or its charities are left with nothing.
No Washington citizens are planned to be hired; instead the promoters are asking for “volunteers” to man the festival.
Plans and negotiations for the festival were “kept under wraps” by town hall until the contract with promoters was finalized and signed.
Perhaps this is because in addition to the 1,200 ticket-holders, up to 3,000 curiosity seekers are possible.
The event will in effect shut the town down to residents.
The promoters plan to import props to try to make Washington look like Stars Hollow.
Local Washington businesses will be staged to act according to Gilmore episodes.
The promotion company is even anxious to give Washington a gazebo for its Green. The fictional Stars Hollow has a gazebo; Washington does not.
Once informed, residents are understandably alarmed at twice their population arriving in the small town.
Many are simply planning to be away. Others are seeking legal ways to stop the festival. Some are simply baffled as to why people would pay to see a fictitiously propped town pretending to be a fictitious town.