Mayor Bryce Ward decided to have some fun with a video aimed at promoting Fairbanks North Star Borough facilities.
He wrote and starred in “The Council of the Token,” published Oct. 30 on the borough’s and mayor’s Facebook pages.
The video, inspired by “The Lord of the Rings,” features Ward as Froyo, Chief of Staff Jim Williams as Jimbo Waggins and Borough Attorney Jill Dolan as Dolaf. They are mesmerized by an old bus token granting free rides. But the token was “forged in the dark power of motor oil and creosote.”
A quest to destroy it takes Froyo and his special assistant Samway, played by Special Assistant Brittany Smart, out to North Pole and back as they search for the transit garage on Peger Road.
Ward said he decided to make the seven-minute video one night while reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement provided by Lanien Livingston, public information officer for the borough.
“The script was something that I came up with one evening while talking with my wife about the challenges we have as a community during the pandemic and how difficult it has been for so many people,” Ward said.
“I wanted to do something that would make people smile and give them a reason to laugh, all while educating folks on what we do as a borough.”
The video was recorded during three afternoons in September and October, according to Livingston. Existing borough equipment was used, and there was no cost beyond staff time, she said. Costumes were purchased by staff using their own money.
“The pieces were put together over several days so as not to interrupt work schedules,” Livingston wrote in an emailed answer to questions. “The fire scenes at the beginning were shot at Mayor Ward’s home shop one evening. It was confirmed that there was no burn ban in place.”
The story, narrated by Chief Financial Officer Debbie Brady, begins with Jimbo Waggins finding the “Token of Great Power” at Pioneer Park.
Waggins learns from Dolaf that the token is dangerous and was supposed to be destroyed.
Froyo and Samway, dressed in floor-length brown capes, begin a journey to destroy the token that takes them to various public facilities.
After trees at the Birch Hill Recreation Area point them to North Pole, Froyo is injured during the walk and a borough ambulance is called to heal him.
Froyo and Samway wind up canoeing across a lake at the Chena River Lakes Recreation Area and walking to the new Interior Gas Utility natural gas storage site.
From North Pole, they use the token to get a free ride on the Green Line bus to the Max C. Lyon Jr. Transit Center in downtown Fairbanks, and they walk to the Carlson Center.
From the arena’s second-floor balcony, they see a sign on the horizon guiding them to the transit facility, where they encounter Glenn Miller, retired transportation director, who stops them from destroying the token.
The video ends with a surprise twist.
Ward also commissioned and starred in a promotional video, “Bubba the Elf Visits the Borough,” last December. That video aimed to highlight borough services and facilities with humor too.
“The Council of the Token” can be found online at facebook.com/MayorBryceWard/videos/878332276033922.
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.