Everyone’s favorite close-knit community, Stars Hollow, Connecticut, thrives on small-town charm, tourism, and commemorating local history. The show presents two narratives of the town’s founding throughout the show’s seven-season run: 1) the star-crossed lovers meeting in the location of the town’s gazebo; and 2) the story of a Puritan family arriving in the seventeenth century. Regardless of their portrayals as true stories or imagined pasts, both narratives, which capitalize on myth and nostalgia to create a compelling story. From a public history perspective, the show’s depiction and commentary on Stars Hollow’s founding plays directly into concepts of nostalgia, memory, and commemoration in communities.
The first of these founding myths, the star-crossed lovers, appears twice onscreen through one of the many celebratory festivals celebrated in Stars Hollow, Connecticut. Featured in episodes S1E16 “Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers” and S4E13 “Nag Hammadi Is Where They Found the Gnostic Gospels,” the Firelight Festival commemorates the town’s founding and namesake. Described by Miss Patty, the story states that star-crossed lovers snuck out of their homes and followed a band of stars to a spot in the countryside. “And there,” says Miss Patty, “waiting for her was her one true love who had also been led here by the blanket of friendly stars. And that, my friends is how Stars Hollow came to be and why we celebrate that fateful night every year about this time.” According to the story, the town commemorated the lovers’ meeting-place with the famous Stars Hollow Gazebo.
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