07/14/10 — Annual Ava Gardner festival set for October

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Annual Ava Gardner festival set for October

By Staff Reports
Published in News on July 14, 2010 1:46 PM

SMITHFIELD -- Each year the Ava Gardner Museum celebrates Ava's life and career by hosting the Ava Gardner Festival. The annual event includes heritage tours, screenings of classic Ava Gardner films, and special exhibits.

This year's festival will kick off during the Ava Gardner Festival Gala on Friday evening, Oct. 8 and will continue Saturday, Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The 2010 Ava Gardner Festival marks the 10th anniversary of the Ava Gardner Museum.

In August of 1999, the museum's board of directors made an investment in downtown Smithfield by purchasing and renovating a 6,400-square-foot building that became the permanent home for the museum's vast collection. In October 2000, the new Ava Gardner Museum opened its doors and has continued to draw national and even worldwide attention with approximately 12,000 visitors each year. The sixth annual Ava Gardner Festival will celebrate the many years of hard work to bring the Ava Gardner Collection to a permanent location.

At the Gala on Oct. 8, the museum will unveil its newest exhibit in the museum's largest showcase, Ava on the Small Screen. Ava's last film projects were two made-for-television movies, "The Long Hot Summer" and "Harem," one mini-series, "A.D.," and multiple appearances in the television series "Knot's Landing," all of which were received with positive reviews of her performance. Costumes from all of these projects will be on display, along with interpretive panels detailing Ava's career on television. This exhibit will run through the end of May 2011. Tickets to the gala are $50 per person. All-day admission to the museum on Oct. 9 is $5 for everyone.

On Oct. 9, heritage tours will be scheduled throughout the day. Visitors will be shown points of interest in Ava's hometown, including Ava's birthplace, the Teacherage where she grew up, the Howell Theater where Ava first went to the movies, and will end with a visit to her gravesite at Sunset Memorial Park. Heritage tour passes are $10 per person.

During the festival, the classic Ava Gardner films "The Barefoot Contessa" and "The Night of the Iguana" will be screened at the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield during the afternoon of Oct. 9. That evening at 7:30 p.m., the musical "Show Boat" will be screened at the Neuse River Amphitheatre, 200 Front St., Smithfield Town Commons. All film screenings are free to the public.

The Ava Gardner Museum is also pleased to partner with the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation as they host the Fourth Annual Ava Gardner Independent Film Festival. The independent film festival is separate from the museum, but will run prior and concurrently with the museum event in downtown Smithfield. For more information about the fourth annual Ava Gardner Independent Film Festival, call Chris Johnson, executive director of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation, at 934-0887.

For accommodations, two local hotels are offering special Ava Gardner Festival discounts. The Best Western Smithfield Inn, 989-4047, is offering a special rate of $64 plus tax, and the Sleep Inn & Suites of Smithfield, 209-2360, is offering a 15 percent discount on rates. Call the hotel directly and mention the Ava Gardner Festival to take advantage of these special discounts.

For more information about the festival, including festival package rates, call the museum at 934-5830.

The Ava Gardner Museum is located in downtown Smithfield, at 325 E. Market Street and more information may be found on the museum website, www.avagardner.org or by calling 934-5830. The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. with admission of $6 adults, $5 seniors and groups, and $4 children.