SCRANTON, Pa. – The actors who play Pam, Jim, Dwight and other beloved characters from the popular NBC show "The Office" bade farewell on Saturday to the northeastern Pennsylvania city of Scranton that served as the TV setting for their fictional paper company.
The NBC mockumentary about a clan of quirky cubicle-dwellers at the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. wraps up May 16 after nine seasons, and a crowd estimated at 10,000 attended a "Wrap Party" in Scranton to show their appreciation.
Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson and other stars rode in classic convertibles and posed for hundreds of photos as fans thronged around them. The stars later took the stage in front of the Lackawanna County Courthouse and played a concert with The Scrantones, the band that performed the show's theme song.
Fischer teared up as she rode down Linden Street, overwhelmed by the adoring crowds. Krasinski said afterward that he couldn't process it.
"To have this many people coming out of their way, driving from different places, to just see us and just say thank you is totally bizarre. You have a lot of amazing experiences when you have this gig, but there's nothing like people genuinely saying thank you," he said." I don't think we ever realized how many people we had touched."
Briquelle Hoppes, 22, of Louisville, Ky., drove 11 hours with her fiance and two friends -- skipping town on Kentucky Derby day -- to attend the Wrap Party, keeping themselves awake overnight by playing old "Office" episodes through the car speakers and shouting "Ain't no party like a Scranton party `cause a Scranton party don't stop," a classic line from the show.
She said she never misses an episode and frequently laughs so hard she cries.
"It appeals to a particular sense of humor and that's us 100 percent," she said. "It's very awkward, and I find awkward situations hilarious."
While the comedy was shot in California, it made liberal use of props from Scranton and referenced plenty of real-life landmarks, from Cooper's Seafood House and Poor Richard's pub to Lake Wallenpaupack and the Lackawanna County Coal Mine Tour.
Scranton hosted a similar blowout, the "Office Convention," in 2007.
On stage Saturday, Wilson paid fans the ultimate backhanded compliment -- befitting his character, Dwight Schrute, a paper salesman utterly lacking in social graces.
"`The Office' fans are the greatest fans in the world!" he said. "Next to Seahawks fans."
The cast was appearing later Saturday at a celebration just outside the city at PNC Field, home of the New York Yankees' Triple A affiliate.