Dwarves, elves and wizards wandered the hallways of the Kinlaw Library at Asbury University on Saturday night, towering over a few halflings scampering around the shelves.
The campus had been invaded by a variety of characters from J.R.R. Tolkein’s fictional land of Middle Earth as part of the Hobbit Night event.
The night featured a multimedia presentation in the Hughes Auditorium that culminated with a viewing of the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of Tolkein’s “The Hobbit.” Refreshments followed in the library with a costume contest shortly afterward.
The event was the culmination of a literacy project from a public-relations class at Asbury. Sophomore Elijah Friedeman said the theme was well-timed.
“We decided to do Hobbit Night since it’s the 75th anniversary of the book and the movie is also coming out, so we thought it would be a nice way to combine this with a little bit of a literacy program with a local school and take all that and package it up and have a fun time with it,” he said.
Students in the class spent time throughout the semester visiting students at The Providence School in Wilmore to assist with all kinds of literacy activities.
“They would help students researching for papers; they would help students write their papers and help students in different classes,” Friedeman said. “It was a great time to really connect with them.”
Students from the Asbury class are currently working to ensure that partnership continues in semesters to come, Friedeman said.
About 650 people filled the auditorium for the first part of the event, which was emceed by students and Tolkein enthusiasts Kyle Thiele and Nolan Hodge. The audience heard Trustees Hall resident director Quinn Gervel speak on the importance of journey in “The Hobbit,” and Asbury professor and independent filmmaker Josh Overbay closed the presentation with his thoughts on myth and awe.
“For all those people to come out and celebrate Tolkein and what he did and what he wrote was really neat to see, and we were really pleased with it,” Friedeman said.
The evening culminated with a costume contest that featured 40 outfits and awarded prizes for most creative, best hobbit, best non-hobbit and best overall.
“We have four different people win stuff and a lot of people dressed up — middle-aged guys all the way down to little kids,” Friedeman said.