Q: What's a FAQ? A: It's a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
1. What is Winterfest Online? Winterfest Online (WFOL) is a week-long virtual gathering of fans of the TV series "Beauty and the Beast", modeled after the Tunnels' Winterfest celebration seen in the episode "Dead of Winter", with a few elements of a convention thrown in. Its aim is to celebrate Beauty and the Beast fandom, offering fun, community, and an outlet for creative abilities to as many online fans as it is possible to reach. Everyone is welcome to join - old fans and new, classic, all season and 3S, from any part of the tunnels.
2. When is WFOL? It varies. In 2017, WFOL will take place February 4 - 12.
3. Where is WFOL? It's on the internet, at several "virtual" locations, especially the "Great Hall" webpage, where all the activities are located, open to all visitors, a specially created Yahoogroup which is available for the purpose of conversation among Winterfest guests, and "places" like Skype or our simple chat rooms, where you can join real time chats with other Winterfest guests. Like the Winterfest Great Hall of the episode, such "places" open the first day of celebration, and fall silent and empty after Winterfest Online is over. Appropriate information about links and details for these activities will be given in due time.
4. Do I need to register somewhere to attend? No, this virtual celebration is free and open to everybody who loves B&B.
5. What if I am technically challenged? Of course some ability to walk the cyber tunnels is needed to enjoy Winterfest Online. Also, broadband (DSL, cable, or other high-speed internet connection) would be an advantage to experience some parts of the event, but we endeavour to have something for fans of all internet abilities. And if you have technical problems with WFOL, we will try to help you, as far as is possible.
6. What will I find in the Great Hall? First of all, you. Like in the "real" Winterfest, you will be there and find friends lighting their candles and proving that the dream is still alive all over the world. Then, all sorts of fun activities and games, fic, art and various other B&B treats, interviews and more... and great company! To give you an idea of what to expect, you may peek in at last year's Great Hall. http://www.batbwfol.com/ (Note that not all activities are still "live".)
7. Where does all that stuff come from? We depend on the old "potluck dinner" concept. If everyone brings a contribution, no one goes home hungry. A successful Winterfest depends on the active participation of the fans, not only as attendees, but as "Helpers", willing to share their passion, their fic, their art, their webpages, their experience, their skills, or the treasures of their "B&B closets".
8. If I want to participate, or to contribute something to enhance the "menu", how do I know how, when, what and where? Appropriate announcements are sent by the Committee to all the B&B online groups, lists and forums we know of. By the way, your help to spread the news is welcome.
9. What if I have nothing to offer? Can I still participate? It's a feast, and the aim is to have fun together. But there is also much to do for those who consider themselves "ungifted": you can light your virtual candle, adding to the general glow of the Great Hall, participate in the many interactive activities, make comments on the WFOL yahoogroup, and ooooh and aaaaah over the contributions of the other guests. And you can invent ways to add to the festivities using your own unique talents, whatever they may be, even "only" your passion for B&B. In other words (with apologies to JFK)... Ask not what WFOL can do for you. Ask what you can do for WFOL.
10. Does Winterfest include all three seasons? WFOL celebrates the tv show, Beauty and the Beast - all of it - and all the dreams it engenders. Yet WFOL is largely what the fans make of it, and the majority of the submissions received tend to be Classic; but All Season and 3S contributions are welcome and definitely encouraged. Content is labeled where appropriate and in some instances - mainly games - you can make a one-time preference selection for Classic or All Season to control what content you see.
11. I don't speak English, or my English is not good, but I love B&B. Will I be able to participate? Since the B&B Fan community is an international group we try to make WFOL accessible to most fans by offering as many activities as possible translated to Spanish, German, French and Italian. We will continue to do so as long as we have translators available for those languages. Also, we would love to have corners of the Great Hall with submissions in languages other than English. WFOL is what the fans make of it: send us stories or poems in your native language, and help us to make WFOL a truly international event!
12. Are celebrities from the show joining WFOL? In the past, a few have been kind enough to light their candles in the virtual candlelighting ceremony that opens WFOL, or to visit with us in a chat. In general, we have only celebrities from fandom. In the event one of the celebs from the show agrees to share their time with us, we will widely and loudly announce it.
13. Does WFOL have some kind of charity fundraising? The tradition of fundraising is very dear to B&B fandom, and some type of it will be included in WFOL, in a form appropriate to our online format and to our international audience.
14. Is WFOL a recent or an old tradition? Winterfest Online 2017 will be the 14th one. The idea was born in 2003 in the brain of a European newbie who attended the "real" convention in San Francisco, and who wanted to share some of the same wonderful times she had there with the many B&B fans unable to attend a real con. (Though anyone who has been to a "real" con will tell you that nothing compares with meeting other fans in person - we encourage you to attend a "real" con if at all possible.)
15. Who organizes WFOL? WFOL is organized by the Wintercandlemakers Committee, a group of B&B fans made up of members from nearly all the corners of fandom: new fans as well as day one fans, from at least 3 different countries and speaking at least 4 different languages; some have had the opportunity to meet in the real world, others do not even know one another's faces. The only background they have in common is a passion for Beauty and the Beast, a desire to help the fires of B&B fandom to burn a little more brightly, and the will to spend a few months focused on the task at hand, planning for, gathering and organizing the various offerings into a workable whole. Though individual members are generally involved in active fandom, as a group they are affiliated only with one another - not with any particular fan-club, website, mailing list, etc. The composition of the group changes a bit over the years, and if you're really curious about who might be inviting you to the party, the Committee members, as well as the long list of those who help to create this event, will always be listed in the closing credits at WFOL.
16. I have some other questions for you. How can I reach you? Our address is firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome questions, suggestions, comments etc, and we'll reply to the best of our abilities.