Buffalo’s Longmire Days 2017


Buffalo’s Longmire Days 2017


By Emily Maasen

As much as we love the beautiful scenery of winter in Wyoming, we can’t help but dream of the warmer days to come. We’re talking about the 85-degree weather, culture-filled music festivals, our beautiful wildlife, breath-taking hiking trails, and our picture-perfect mountains, streams, and pristine lakes. However, there’s one summer event that the city of Buffalo, Wyomingites, and visitors from around the world wait for all year. It’s an event that completely transforms the city of Buffalo for an entire weekend.

This year marks the Sixth Annual Longmire Days, slated for Friday, July 7th through Sunday, July 9th. The Longmire Days event is the largest celebration of the Buffalo summer season lineup, and it’s also a tip-of-the-hat to a local celebrity that brings thousands of people together from not only the entire state of Wyoming, but the entire world of Longmire diehard fans. The event is only months away, and we’re itching to know what to expect in this year’s grand event.

The Buffalo Chamber of Commerce throws the weekend-long event to celebrate the best-selling author, Craig Johnson and his Walt Longmire Mystery Series, as well as the book-based Netflix show ‘Longmire.’ Johnson lives nearby the town of Buffalo, and has attended the event every year since its inception. His fifteen-novel mystery series is a modern-day Western based on life in Buffalo, Johnson County, and Wyoming. Buffalo served as a real-life inspiration for Durant, the fictional setting of Johnson’s series. To the uninformed, Longmire Days transforms the entire city of Buffalo into the fictional town Durant for the weekend.

Johnson built his ranch a quarter mile outside of Ucross and has taken up residence there for thirty years. After building his log cabin in Wyoming, Johnson thought it was time to sit down and do what he’s always wanted to do, write a novel. So, he sat down and wrote The Cold Dish, the first novel of the Longmire series. Johnson says, “It was actually supposed to be a stand-alone novel, but it got picked up by Viking Penguin in New York and they thought the characters, the place, and the story were interesting and would entice people to want to know more … I knew the characters had more stories to tell.”

Johnson’s novels follow the life of the charismatic Sheriff Walt Longmire of Wyoming’s Absaroka County, and the crime mysteries he’s challenged to solve. Each novel immerses the reader into a new investigation and takes you on a journey of Walt’s warring personal and professional life as he recovers from the passing of his wife coupled with increasingly worse on-the-job troubles.

Johnson has experienced immense success with his Walt Longmire Mystery Series as his novels have received starred reviews, recognition by Publisher’s Weekly, Wyoming Historical Association and Library Journal, and several are New York Times bestsellers. This success led to the popular A&E, and now Netflix, television series Longmire, starring Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire. The show is about to go into its sixth and final season, which has us all wondering if this year will be the last of Longmire Days.

Director of Membership and Communications at Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, Brittiny Morrison, says not to worry. Morrison reassured us that Longmire Days will continue, just not quite to this scale. If you’ve been to Longmire Days, you know that it provides the opportunity to meet Craig Johnson, other actors, and filming executives from the television series. Although, the show is coming to an end, Buffalo will always celebrate Craig Johnson’s achievements with the Longmire series. Morrison states, “He is dedicated to our community and we know this would never have happened without him.”

Longmire Days started in 2011 as a book signing at a café on Main Street in Buffalo. Johnson says that he was asked if he thought the cast of the show would attend, so he invited them to the next year’s event and received a remarkable response where just about everyone from the show came up. Over the years, Longmire Days has turned into a 3-day event with over 10,000 folks in attendance. To put the size of this event into perspective, the population of Buffalo is about 4,600. The event draws in fans of Johnson’s books and the show from all across America and around the world, all to see Buffalo turned the real-life Durant.

And, boy, are we glad Buffalo has Longmire Days. Not only is it an entire weekend filled with meet and greets, food, and music, but it also offers a lot of economic and community building benefit to Buffalo. Last year, Buffalo police estimated between 12,000 and 14,000 people in attendance, making it the biggest turnout for Longmire Days to date. Morrison says they’re expecting an even bigger turnout this year because of the final season.
All of the visitors coming in town for Longmire Days stay in Buffalo’s hotels, eat in the local restaurants, and shop in their stores. This results in an incredible boost to Buffalo’s local economy. The city of Buffalo sees a huge boom in local business sales, which Morrison says, in turn, adds to the tax base for the city and county. “Even leading up to the event,” Morrison says, “we feel the magnitude of Longmire. When the dates were announced this year, the phone lines were overloaded for about an hour and our lodging establishments had filled by the end of the day.”

The economic benefits of Longmire Days are easy to see. The social benefits are not, but remain an integral component to the longevity of Buffalo’s success in putting on the event. Longmire Days promotes community pride, a display of local history, and strengthening of relationships within the community as the entire city comes together to put on the event.

So, what can we expect to see this year at Longmire Days?

Morrison says the agenda has not yet been officially set for this year’s event, but we can look forward to some annual crowd favorites, including the Motorcycle Poker Run, Cowboys v. Indians Charity Softball Game, meet and greets with Craig Johnson, actors and filming executives, the Street Dance, and horseback riding. This year, we can celebrate the last Netflix season with Randy Moore and Maggie Johnson, special effects foreman, with Great FX from the television series. We can also expect the delicious food we all know and love to be plentiful with the live music booming. And lookout for the meet and greets and autograph sessions to be had throughout the spectacle of Longmire Days. There may even be some new and interesting activities for those who have attended in the past years, but we will have to wait and see.

Many of the events at Longmire Days are free and open to the public; however, some require a fee to participate and are offered on a first come, first served basis. So, if you’re interested in an event, make sure to sign up as soon as possible. Keep updated with the schedule on Buffalo Chamber of Commerce’s website and sign up for your favorites.

Until summer rolls around, we will continue to enjoy winter in Wyoming. As the snow falls, we will be daydreaming about this coming summer and happily wait with warm anticipation for Longmire Days.

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