A free meal on campus is always an “unex­pected party.”

Perhaps only at Hillsdale College, though, would stu­dents feast in honor of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ birthdays and call it “second breakfast,” which is exactly what hap­pened in the Her­itage Room at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

“It’s a very Hillsdale thing— some­thing unique to us,” Public Service Librarian Brenna Wade said. “Tolkien and Lewis are huge here.”

About 50 to 60 stu­dents and a few pro­fessors gathered for the “Hobbit Day” cel­e­bration, sitting around the room in smaller groups to bond over their love for “The Lord of the Rings” – and food.

In the tra­dition of hobbits, the library pro­vided a feast. A long table in the center of the room held an array of scones, muffins, cheese and crackers, pretzels, grapes, and doughnut holes. Made available were coffee, tea, and hot cocoa as well. Freshman Nic Rowan said he was moti­vated to come by the food, but he is a true fan of “The Lord of the Rings.”

“I was in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ club at my high school,” he said, adding that he would appre­ciate a “Riders of Rohan” group on campus.

Freshman Kathryn DuHadway also enjoys the trilogy. “‘The Lord of the Rings’ kind of fits with Hillsdale’s phi­losophy. There were a lot of deeper themes in [the trilogy],” she said, men­tioning the struggle between good and evil as an example.

Wade agreed.

“I like doing things that are unique to Hillsdale,” she said. “It’s fun throwing an event that appeals to the student body that wouldn’t nec­es­sarily appeal at most schools.”

Wade said she’s hoping to make this cel­e­bration an annual tra­dition. Based on student reac­tions to today’s event, that’s good news for the Hillsdale shire.

“Excellent,” Rowan said, describing the breakfast. “The Green Dragon could not have done better.”

He got up to leave, then glanced back.

“That’s a ‘Lord of the Rings’ ref­erence,” he said.