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‘Gilmore Girls’: Stars Hollow’s Top Festivals

'Gilmore Girls' is a show that seems to be amassing more fans by the second. Part of the show's appeal is the quirk town that Rory and Lorelai Gilmore called home. Much of its allure was the community events that were held almost weekly. The Firelight Festival, the Bid on a Basket fundraiser, and the Festival of Living Art are among the most beloved.

Gilmore Girls was, at its core, a story about a mother and daughter trying to navigate life together. What elevated the series above similar shows of its time was the life and color that Stars Hollow brought to the show. The tiny Connecticut hamlet that Lorelai and Rory Gilmore called home drew many fans in and has kept them loyal to the series for more than two decades. Aside from its eccentric residents, Stars Hollow was appealing to fans because of its community activities. The hamlet hosted several festivals during the show’s seven-season run. Do you remember these top events? 

Most of Star Hollows’ festivals and events were featured only once during the show’s original run. The Firelight Festival was a bit different. The annual event was the focus of two separate episodes. Fans were introduced to the festival in the season 1 episode, “Star-crossed Lovers and Other Strangers.” The festival was featured again in the season 4 episode, “Nag Hammadi is Where They Found the Gnostic Gospels.” 

The Firelight Festival takes place each year in Stars Hollow in the late winter. A bonfire is lit during the festival, and Miss Patty’s famous punch is served. Stars Hollow holds the festival to celebrate the founding of Stars Hollow. In the season 1 episode featuring the festival, Rory and her then-boyfriend Dean Forrester break up. During its second occurrence, Jess Mariano tells Rory he loves her before leaving Stars Hollow. 

The Bid on a Basket fundraising event brought strife to several relationships 

Stars Hollow had several fundraising events in any given year, but fans were particularly enamored with the Bid on a Basket fundraising event. The annual event finds townspeople creating picnic baskets that are then bid on by those in the crowd. The auction-style event ends when all of the baskets are purchased, and the basket maker and basket winner head off to have lunch together. 

Sean Gunn as Kirk Gleason leaves Lorelai's house with his pet pig in 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'
Sean Gunn as Kirk Gleason in ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ | Netflix

The basket event was featured once in season 2 of Gilmore Girls and led to trouble in two different relationships. While still dating Dean, Rory crafted a basket that he was expected to win. Instead, Jess outbid Dean and insisted on having lunch with Rory. Despite Dean’s protests, Rory agreed to eat with Jess because it was “tradition.” Dean stormed off. Sookie St. James’s impressive basket was won by Kirk Gleason, while Jackson Belleville stood by because he was angry that Sookie didn’t seem to want to move in together. In a more positive light, Luke Danes bid on Lorelai Gilmore’s basket, and they shared a meal.  

The Festival of Living Art left an impression on Gilmore Girls fans 

The Festival of Living Art was an event featured in the fourth season of Gilmore Girls. The event found the residents of Stars Hollow dressed up to resemble famous art subjects. They were expected to stand perfectly still to replicate the actual art piece. Rory portrayed the subject of “Portrait of a Young Woman.” The painting was created in the 1500s by Parmigianino an Italian mannerist painter. 


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The episode, aptly named “The Festival of Living Art,” is one of the most popular episodes and the only episode that the Television Academy acknowledged. It won an Emmy for Outstanding Makeup in a Series. It is the only time the show was nominated for an Emmy Award during its original run.