The Office Convention

Scranton so rocks ‘The Office’ party

Updated 10/28/2007 9:12 PM By Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY

SCRANTON, Pa. — The first Office Convention started out a little rainy, but thousands of fans still flocked to the “Electric City” in northeastern Pennsylvania (pop. 75,000 or so) over the weekend to mingle with the cast and celebrate the NBC series set in Scranton.

Executive producer Greg Daniels said the convention wasn’t just for the fans; it was also a learning experience for the cast and crew. “It’s as if we had been reading the Oz books and then actually visited the Emerald City,” he said, adding, “It’s so much more beautiful here than in Van Nuys (Calif.) where we film the show.”

“It sorta feels like we’re The Beatles here in Scranton,” said Ed Helms (who plays Andy).

A few highlights:

  • Several actors demonstrated their musical talents with The Scrantones, the band that performs The Office theme and appears on the show as Scrantonicity. Creed Bratton, who was a member of ’60s hitmakers the Grass Roots, Helms, Kate Flannery (Meredith) and Melora Hardin (Jan) sang with the group Saturday. “Can I just say we all feel like rock stars tonight?” Hardin told the crowd.

Onstage, Flannery offered some advice: “Whatever happens in Scranton, stays in Scranton.”

  • A look-alike contest attracted Office mimics of all flavors. Roland Greco, a financial adviser from Scranton, easily won the Michael Scott category because of his resemblance to Steve Carell. “At work, people all the time say it,” he said. “Even today, four or five people stopped me and said, ‘I thought you were him.’ ”
  • A Casino Night at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs racetrack featured gambling, a Scrantones performance and photo opportunities with cast members. Craig Robinson (Darryl) stepped into the crowd during his energetic performance of I Will Survive.
  • A two-hour Q&A session Saturday was the weekend’s biggest event, drawing a crowd estimated by the local newspaper at 4,000. Robinson delighted the audience by kissing on-screen girlfriend Mindy Kaling (Kelly).
  • Thirteen Office writers, in a panel discussion, revealed their Scranton discoveries, including Yuengling beer and Coney Island hot dogs. “I’m really glad I (chose Scranton),” Daniels said. “I don’t think we would’ve gotten this reception in Utica.”

Travel & Leisure

The Office Convention, Scranton, PA

What It Is: The sitcom may be a mockumentary but there’s nothing fake about the die-hard fans who come out for this annual convention in the show’s home city of Scranton. Attendees sit in on cast-member Q&A sessions or participate in the Office Olympics (inspired by The Office episode of the same name).

Who Goes: More than 15,000 fans of the show, along with 14 gracious cast members. The 2009 event included series creator BJ Novak and also stoic sourpuss actor Creed Bratton, who said of the gathering, “It was very cool beans.”

When: Check for upcoming convention dates.

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