DOVER -- It has been 14 months of planning and preparing for the Independent Television and Film Festival.
"Now, it's almost 14 days away, which is amazing," said ITVFest organizer Phil Gilpin Jr. "It's coming together really well."
On Sept. 3, the Dover Selectboard authorized Gilpin to put up solar lights along the Valley Trail on Route 100. He had requested permission so that festival attendees will have improved visibility after viewing the selections and walking the trail at night.
The solar lighting will go up the week of the event, which will be held from Sept. 26 to 28 in Dover and Wilmington.
One of the chief concerns has been setting up proper signage for new guests to the Deerfield Valley. Gilpin said he wants to make sure people aren't parking at random places and that people won't be walking aimlessly on Route 100.
Signage will be posted in upcoming days. It will take about three weeks to prepare and have everything set up.
The screening tents are already beginning to pop up around Dover. On Sept. 8, Gilpin helped set one up near the Dover Forge restaurant. The Valley Trail goes behind the restaurant and leads to Layla's or the former Four Seasons, where there will be a stage for musical performances.
Gilpin told the Reformer that as the tents go up, people will have a visual for the size and scope of the event.
"A lot of people walking up and down the (Valley) Trail knew what the festival was but didn't know it was so big. Not until people start seeing the pieces come together," he said. "That's when they'll really start to see how great of an event it is and how professionally it has to be done. It is a world class event."
Volunteers will also be helping some of the local businesses and homeowners by painting buildings. For those interested in helping with the festival, visit ITVFest.com and go to the volunteer page where an e-mail can be sent to coordinators. Maps for the different venues can also be viewed on the website.
By early next week, Gilpin believes the towns of Wilmington and Dover will begin to really look like the festival has come to town.
Tickets for the event have been steadily selling. At least 1,000 tickets need to be sold in order for ITVFest to return the following year. So far, about 30 percent of that quota have been sold.
"I'd say, over the last few weeks, we sold a couple hundred more. We're getting closer to the number we need," said Gilpin.
He urges that people buy their tickets sooner rather than later. He also believes it is likely that the tickets will be sold out before the festival begins.
"It's not like other festivals around here," said Gilpin. "If you want to be guaranteed a ticket, you should probably get in on it in the next week or two."
The number of VIPs has jumped up from the last time Gilpin spoke with the Reformer.
"Over 200 actors, writers and producers from all of the projects are flying in," he said. "From Hollywood, New York, London, etc. We'll have literally over 200 of the world's best independent talent here in the valley."
Well-known television actor Dylan Bruno has confirmed a spot on a judge's panel as well as a couple CEOs from the entertainment business.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or email@example.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.