Set Sail with Outlandish Gatherings!
Now in its 3rd year—organizers are presenting a nautical theme based on Voyager, the third installment of Diana Gabaldon’s genre-bending Outlander Series.
This year’s event takes place in beautiful coastal Georgia, where storm-tossed protagonists Jamie and Claire Fraser find themselves washed ashore in the American colonies at the end of Voyager. The Gathering will be headquartered at the Hyatt Regency Savannah in the Riverfront District, with additional accommodations provided by the nearby Hotel Indigo on Ellis Square. The city of Savannah won out over Newport, RI and New Orleans, LA based on a survey results from previous Gathering attendees.
About the Book
Fans of the series know Voyager continues the story of time-traveler Claire’s return to 18th century Scotland and her Highlander husband, Jamie, 20 years after he sent her back to 1946 to bear their child in safety before he prepares to die at the Battle of Culloden. After raising their daughter Brianna to adult hood, Claire learns that Jamie did not die at Culloden and decides to make the perilous journey through the enigmatic standing stones that allow her to travel back 200 years in time. Reunited with Jamie, their happiness is short-lived; they’re soon reluctant voyagers on a high sea adventure in pursuit of Jamie’s fourteen-year-old nephew, Ian, who has been abducted by pirates aboard the Bruja, a Portuguese ship headed for the West Indies. Pursued by a British man-o-war decimated by smallpox, Jamie & Claire’s ship, the Artemis, is diverted from its intended destination by a storm. The voyagers find themselves off-course and run aground on the Georgia coast as political unrest in the colonies heralds the coming of yet another rebellion.
A Busy Weekend of Events
After registration on Friday afternoon at the Hyatt Regency Savannah, the weekend kicks off with a chartered dinner cruise aboard the three-decked riverboat, the Savannah River Queen featuring southern cuisine, music, dancing and ice-breaking events to help everyone to get to know one another better. (The Savannah River Boat Company was just rated the #1 Sightseeing Cruise in America for 2016 by LEISURE Group Travel magazine,)
A Saturday excursion to Tybee Island will let participants explore the kitschy beach community and the merriments of the island’s annual Pirate Fest which includes a thieves market, parade, costumes, and live music. As the sun prepares to set, Outlander fans will find themselves at the Tybee Island Light Station, a colonial era lighthouse on North Beach, for a private Shipwreck Party under an immense banquet tent decorated for the theme. Fans will enjoy an opportunity to mingle with Outlander cast members Grant O’Rourke (Rupert) and Stephen Walters (Angus Mhor) while enjoying live music and entertainment and a Low Country Boil and southern BBQ, prepared onsite by BLocal Catering. Period costumes and kilts are encouraged for the shipwreck “survivors”—whether they be dressed as 18th century passengers, sailors, naval officers, pirates, privateers or mermaids. Additional guests include multi-instrumentalist/singer/actor, Elias Alexander, and Outlander Gaelic consultant, Àdhamh O’Broin who will be making a return visit to the Gathering.
On Sunday, O’Rourke and Walters will be featured at a luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Savannah with lucky VIPs seated at tables with one of the cast members. There are also “Meet & Greet” sessions before and after the luncheon where attendees will receive an autographed print of the actors and a photo opportunity with each of them. In the evening, a Ghost & Gravestones trolley tour will introduce guests to the macabre and supernatural history of America’s most haunted city. An intimate VIP “Scotch Talk” at Garibaldi’s will include the cast members and a Master Class whisky tasting sponsored by The Balvenie USA.
The Monday of the Gathering falls on Columbus Day, and guests will take advantage of the holiday to participate in a fundraising walk for World Child Cancer. This will be Outlandish Gathering’s third year raising money for the London-based non-profit that provides diagnosis, treatment and palliative care for children living in developing nations. Outlander star Catriona Balfe (Claire Fraser) is a patron of the organization which has enjoyed support from fans around the world. The walk will allow participants to see a number of Savannah’s points of architectural and historical significance. Those not attending the Gathering are encouraged to support the “Power of 10 Challenge” by encouraging ten friends to donate $10 to World Child Cancer via the Gathering’s JustGiving page.
With staff and special guests, more than 360 attendees from five countries, 36 states, and the District of Columbia are currently registered for Outlandish Gathering 2016. All 300 initial spots for the Gathering sold out in less than three weeks—before the cast appearances were even announced. This prompted organizers to open another 50 spots once O’Rourke and Walters were confirmed. The four-day event has been sold out since the end of February, with more than 4-dozen remaining on the waitlist. If additional attendees can be accommodated, spots will be offered to those on the waitlist on a first come, first served basis—so interested parties should add their names to the list as soon as possible.
Outlandish Gathering 2015, which followed a French Dragonfly in Amber theme was held last August in Quebec City, Canada during the city’s annual Les Fêtes de la Nouvelle France celebration, and the first-ever Outlandish Gathering was held May 2-4, 2014 in Boston Massachusetts. Outlandish Gatherings was the first to organize a “for fans, by fans” gathering for Outlander fans and has grown to be the largest four-day Outlander fan event in the world. The founders, April Steele and Jennifer Veach met via Twitter and began planning the event in July of 2013 via email, phone calls and Facebook. Because they live in different states, Steele and Veach never met face-to-face until the Welcome Ceilidh and Whisky Tasting—but now are the best of friends who see each other as much as possible. “We have a great relationship,” says Steele, “I’m a big picture person with a strong marketing and communications background and Jennifer’s great at managing the finer details. We share a common vision of what we want the Gathering to be. It all comes together very organically.” The leadership team is rounded out by technical manager and registrar Trisha Mandel, and graphic designer Audrey Landry who help Steele & Veach with the assistance of a team of dedicated volunteers. “We all work really well together,” says Steele.
The cost per person for this 4-day Gathering and all general events is $560 per person, including registration (but does not include travel, accommodations or VIP events).