SHERIDAN — After a successful six-year run, the final episode of the A&E-turned-Netflix crime drama “Longmire,” set in the fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming, aired last fall.
But that won’t stop the town of Buffalo from having a rip-roaring celebration of the hit series this month.
“We think attendance for the event will be even larger than before,” Jennifer McCormick, director of membership and events at the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, said of Longmire Days, which are set for Aug. 10-12 in Buffalo.
“People are thinking this may be the last year for Longmire Days in the form it takes currently,” McCormick said. “We know eventually the attendance will drop, and we will have to restructure the event. We’ve been thinking of some ideas, but until then we are going to continue to bring Longmire fans to Buffalo.”
Actors who have attended in the past have expressed an interest in keeping the three-day festival going, she said.
“We’re game for it too,” McCormick said.
This year, the town will host a 5k run/3k walk, autograph sessions at the Bomber Mountain Civic Center, the Longmire Days Rodeo at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, street dances, Native American dances, discussions with actor Robert Taylor and best-selling author Craig Johnson and more.
Netflix’s hit show “Longmire” is based on the Walt Longmire Mysteries series of novels by Johnson, who lives on a ranch in Ucross. The show — and book series — centers on sheriff Walt Longmire as he rebuilds his life and career following the death of his wife.
The festival will continue with its Longmire theme for the duration of the event, McCormick said.
“We will continue to celebrate Craig Johnson and Walt Longmire. Walt is the hero people feel they need,” she explained. “Walt has the honesty and integrity people may feel is lacking in our society. You don’t find Walt in the big city. Walt is as Wyoming as they come.”
In the past, Longmire Days have drawn close to 12,000 people to Buffalo, which is the real-life inspiration for the fictional town of Durant, Wyoming, included in Johnson’s books.
This year, several of the show’s actors and Craig Johnson will be in attendance. Ticket sales were announced in April, as often the town triples in size for the summer event. Many events are sold out, but waiting lists are available online.
McCormick said with the end of the show last year, the planning committee has tried to keep the event relevant.
“We schedule events and entertainment that people will enjoy and want to come out for, even if they are not Longmire fans,” she said.
McCormick said the Buffalo community is honored that Johnson has brought Walt Longmire, a Wyoming hero, to the attention of fans across the world.
“The Longmire Days festival definitely has legs,” she said. “We see tourists during Longmire Days who make a point to come through Buffalo on their other trips across the U.S.
“Now we have tourism focused strictly on Longmire,” McCormick said. “People stop in our office frequently to let us know they are Longmire fans and made it a point to see ‘Walt’s hometown.’”
Of course, Durant is fictional — but Buffalo is very real.
“When they get to Buffalo, people want to walk around and spend some time here,” McCormick said. “They fall in love with Buffalo. That’s to be expected. Buffalo is a charming, vibrant community full of friendly people.”