The Road goes ever on and on,Down from the door where it began.Now far ahead the Road has gone,And I must follow, if I can,Pursuing it with eager feet,Until it joins some larger wayWhere many paths and errands meet.And whither then? I cannot say.
The village of Hobbiton in the Westfarthing of the Shire was buzzing with excitement in September of the year 3001 of the Third Age. Bilbo Baggins was turning one hundred and eleven years old on September 22nd, and was preparing a party of special magnificence.
That month, Hamfast (usually known as the Gaffer) "held forth at the Ivy Bush, a small inn on the Bywater Road", speaking in praise of Bilbo to a rather sceptical crowd including Old Noakes of Bywater, Daddy Two-foot (the Gamgees's next-door neighbour), and Ted Sandyman. Bilbo's peculiarities (as well as those as his adopted heir, Frodo) and the upcoming party were discussed with great interest.
The grand party was to be held at the Party Field, located on the Hill between Bagshot Row and Bag End. A new entrance "was cut into the bank leading to the road, and wide steps aned a large white gate were built there."
Upon the Party Field grew the great Party Tree itself. At the time of Bilbo's party, the tree's boughs were hung with lanterns, and it was enclosed within a grand pavilion and the chief table was set beneath it. The pavilion has of course since been removed, but it seems that the lanterns and other festive decorations have become a fixture!
In the north corner of the Party Field, "an enormous open-air kitchen" had been erected, from which the vast quantities of food for the party guests were served. After the feast, games, gift-giving, and fireworks (the latter supplied by Gandalf the Grey), Bilbo made his farewell speech, then slipped the Ring on his finger and disappeared, much to the lasting scandal of his guests.