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The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

Smells Like Snow Coffee Festival brings fun for UA “Gilmore Girls” fans

The iconic 2000s show is being passed from parents to kids and bringing families closer together.
Standing Under the Foam Snow. Photo courtesy of Downtown Akron Partnership.

In the cozy nostalgia of “Gilmore Girls,” the hit television series from the early 2000s, a new tradition is taking root. Mothers who grew up watching the original run of the show are now introducing their children, including Gen-Z youngsters like University of Akron junior Emily Sesto, to the iconic world of Rory and Lorelai.

“When I was younger, I remember coming home from school, and she my mom would be watching Gilmore Girls in her room,” Emily Sesto said. “I would naturally get into her big bed and completely ignore all my homework to watch ‘Gilmore Girls.’”

Emily was just 2-years-old when the show first aired. The bonds she shares with her mom, fostered by cozy “Gilmore Girls” sessions, has made the series a source of nostalgic comfort.

The Smells Like Snow Coffee Festival in Akron’s Cascade Plaza on Saturday, Nov. 4, promises to be an event where these generational bonds can be celebrated. From noon to 6 p.m., Cascade Plaza is transformed into Stars Hollow, the fictional small town where “Gilmore Girls” takes place.

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Kari (right) and Olena (left) Rutushin together. Photo courtesy of Kari Rutushin.

In addition to bonding over their shared love for the show, families will have the chance to introduce their children to the magic of the Gilmore universe in a fun and immersive way. For mothers like Kari Rutushin, who watches the show each morning with her 12-year-old daughter before she catches the school bus, this festival is the perfect place to do so.

Her daughter Olena Rutushin, a member of the too-young-to-commonly-reference Generation Alpha, also finds herself immersed in the charm of “Gilmore Girls.” Kari, along with other GenX and Millennial parents, has shared the show with her daughter, making it a multi-generational bonding experience.

“You know it’s my biggest fear right now is that she’s going to start…you know, keeping things to herself,” said Kari Rutushin. “[I want to] keep that open relationship where we can talk about anything.”

According to Rutushin, the show helps her keep those open lines of communication. “So, I love the show for that,” she said.

It also helps her share life lessons with her daughter Olena.

“I think it can mirror real life a lot; my real life,” Kari said. “There’s lessons to take from it, like maybe it’s time to let go of something you may be harboring resentment for, or maybe just give somebody a chance to commit.”

While many factors contribute to the rekindled love for the series, it’s clear that the relationships between Rory and Lorelai and between Lorelai and her own mother resonate with viewers of all ages. The show, with its quirky characters, witty dialogue, and timeless themes has a broad, timeless appeal.

For Emily Sesto, the series feels like a comforting time capsule, reminding her of her own childhood and bringing back memories of watching the show with her mom.

Jeff Klemm as a wandering troubadour at the 2021 Smells like Snow Festival. Photo courtesy of Jeff Klemm. the show with her mom.

“It certainly is nostalgic; it feels like my childhood,” Sesto said. “It’s like a safety blanket, being somewhere safe with your mom in her big bed.”

Sesto plans to pass the show on to the next generation with her 5-year-old son, when he’s done watching Disney Junior, that is.

“I want to know if he relates to the relationship between Rory and Lorelai like I do with my mom,” Sesto said. “I want to pass on the tradition of the big comfort show.”

She sees sharing the tradition as something important because she values the time that she spent with her mother snuggled up watching.

“I want to be able to give that to him too, like my mom gave to me,” Sesto said. “And he’s going to have to like it.”

Olena Rutushin thinks that other Generation Alpha kids should consider watching the show with their parents.

“I would definitely recommend it because some of my friends don’t really have a really healthy relationship with their mom,” she said. “I think that would bring them together more.”

Parents looking to start a new tradition and watch the show with their children could use the Smells Like Snow Coffee Festival as a sort of kick-off.

Meeting the Dog Swami. Photo courtesy of Downtown Akron Partnership.

The event provides an opportunity for parents, children, and other newcomers to the show to immerse themselves in the world of Stars Hollow. Of course, the favorite, often referenced beverage in “Gilmore Girls” is coffee, and the festival boasts more than a dozen coffee vendors with brews to sample. Attendees can also enjoy food trucks and stands as well as holiday retail.

What really offers fans the opportunity to come together and create new memories is the recreation of Stars Hollow. Visit the dog swami to have your fortune told, visit Luke’s Diner, or stop in at the town hotel. If none of those sound familiar, it might be time to fit in a binge watch before Nov. 4 comes around, especially if you expect to win at “Gilmore Girls” trivia, bingo, or the scavenger hunt.

The festival, like the story of families passing the show from one generation to another, is a testament to the enduring power of this beloved show, bridging generations through laughter, love, and coffee.

The Smells Like Snow Coffee Festival is Saturday, Nov. 4 from noon to 6 p.m. in Cascade Plaza at 1 W. Mill St. in Akron, Ohio. For updates, visit Downtown Akron Partnership’s event page or Facebook profile.

Walid Jaffal, a University of Akron Sophomore, wrote this article as part of a Public Relations Writing course.

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