A sign welcomes Tributes to the Hunger Games Fan Tours weekend adventure. Right, participants reenact a scene from the movie, shot on location at Bridal Veil Falls in DuPont State Forest.
Behind the Scenes
Fan tours offer Hunger Games devotees a true adventure
Words and Photographs by Ann Sharpsteen
Let me begin with a confession: I’ve never read the Hunger Games trilogy. Had the blockbuster movie based on the first book not been filmed in Western North Carolina last summer and released this spring, I’d have really been out of the loop. Of course, my 12-year-old son has read the books and seen the movie multiple times. So when he learned there were two openings left on the first Hunger Games Fan Tour in Brevard, I did what any other hip mom would do: I shrieked, “Let’s go!”
The fan tours, created by festival and event producer Leigh Trapp and Tammy Hopkins, executive director of the Transylvania County Arts Council and film liaison for Brevard, kicked off at the end of April. My first clue that this was no ordinary movie tour came as we checked into our room at Earthshine Mountain Lodge in Lake Toxaway, aka “basecamp.” There were strange notes and items—an old toolbox, antique radio, and a Morse code telegraph—strewn about. A sign tacked to the wall read, “Be aware. Step carefully. These walls have ears.” A crumpled paper warned us to “be vigilant” for clues that would help us survive. During dinner, a lottery was held for all of us tributes, and like in the movie, we were separated into districts in preparation for the Hunger Games.
For the next 48 hours, we lived, breathed, ate, and did everything Hunger Games—style. We’re talking total immersion.
On Saturday, aided by our "sponsors," we followed clues deep into DuPont State Forest to see filming locations used for the movie. We perfected survival skills that would help us stay alive: archery, sling shot training, fire building, orienteering, and the art of camouflage. That evening, we dined at “the Capital” and embarked on a night zip-line excursion, a nod to Katniss and Rue’s time spent in the treetops.
The weekend’s activities culminated on Sunday with a Hunger Games simulation, a two-hour timed trial of the survival skills we had learned. I was nervous. Had we correctly gathered all the clues and items we needed to survive? In the end, we competed and lived.
To all future tributes, as the bubbly Effie Trinket says in the film, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”
Enter the Game
Hunger Game Fan Tours offers three-day weekend excursions and shuttle or walking day tours. Weekend adventures are $389 per person and include room and board, plus zip-lining. Day tours start at $50. For more information and to book a tour, visit www.hungergamesfantours.com.
Click here to read fun facts about our region’s starring role in the post-apocalyptic thriller.