With just 6 weeks left for preparation, organizers of It’s A Wonderful Life Festival are busy preparing for the nearly 15,000 visitors expected during the 3 day December festival.
Many new events have been planned to add to the already full three-day schedule as Seneca Falls transforms into Bedford Falls, the fictional town made famous by Frank Capra’s 1946 film classic, It’s A Wonderful Life.
New events for this year will be:
- The Bedford Falls Express, a 90-minute train ride from the Bedford Falls station traveling across Cayuga Lake to the Cayuga station and back. Passengers will receive a commemorative ticket plus a visit from Santa with music and an opportunity to enjoy snacks and drinks while onboard. Reservations available on the festival’s website at www.therealbedfordfalls.com or at the Visitor Center 89 Fall Street.
- A Performance Reading of The Greatest Gift, the story written by Philip Van Doren Stern that became It’s A Wonderful Life, followed by a discussion of why the movie is so loved.
- The Cult Classic It’s A Wonderful Life Participation Movie. “You may have seen Saturday Night Live’s alternate ending to It’s A Wonderful Life or the movie done in 30 seconds by bunnies, but until you experience the IAWL participation movie, you haven’t really seen this movie,” says Allison Kelly, one of the directors of the Participation Movie. “This show is full of fun and laughs for IAWL movie aficionados with a sense of humor!”
- Bedford Falls’ Bailey Park vendor tent, will be open during the day for gift shopping with local crafters selling their wares. But when night comes, Bailey Park transforms into Pottersville with Nick’s Bar open for business with beer, wine and dancing.
- A pancake breakfast will be available on Sunday morning at the Seneca Falls Community Center to benefit the United Way.
- Liberty Films Backlot Catering presents Mrs. Martini’s Pasta Dinner and IAWL Trivia, Friday night 5:30pm – 7:30pm.
Returning favorite events include:
- A Taste of Bedford Falls with a sampling of food fare provided by local restaurants. Saturday from 5pm – 7pm
- IAWL characters will be on the street throughout the Festival for photos and interaction with visitors.
- It’s A Wonderful Bonfire and Tree Lighting will take place Friday night in People’s Park along with a holiday band,, concessions and a visit from Santa at the North Pole.
- Sunday visitors should arrive with an appetite as downtown shop owners vie for top honors in Ma Bailey’s Hot and Hearty Cook-Off beginning at 11pm.
- Horse Drawn Wagon Rides will be available free of charge all day Saturday & Sunday, sponsored by LNB.
- The It’s A Wonderful Holiday Lights Contest, sponsored by Seneca Meadows, invites all residents of Seneca Falls to decorate and nominate their home or another to win this 3rd annual contest. Prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place are $200, $100 & $50 respectively. Judging will be conducted the week of December 4. Winners will be announced at the Friday Bonfire Dec. 8 in People’s Park.
- The It’s A Wonderful Parade on Saturday will take place at 1pm on Fall Street with more than 20 participating groups.
- Throughout the festival, “Bailey’s Burgers and Hots” and numerous local restaurants will guarantee that visitors will always find something to eat while in Bedford Falls.
- Uncle Billy’s Wonderful Scavenger Hunt on Sunday, gives participants an opportunity to browse through downtown while hunting for items relating to the movie hidden in plain sight. Dozens of prizes are awarded, as every correctly marked game card turned in is eligible to win a gift!
- The “Bells of the Real Bedford Falls” will be rung at the close of the Festival on Sunday at 4:15. The bells of Seneca Falls churches will ring simultaneously in honor of individuals who have left an impact on those around them. Residents and visitors may have a bell rung in recognition of an angel in their own lives and receive a certificate with their honoree’s name on it. Official request forms are available on the festival’s website at www.therealbedfordfalls.com, or at the Visitor Center downtown at any time.
- Other additions to the festivities will be the It’s A Wonderful Run 5K on Saturday as more than 4000 runners take to the streets, and appearances by “The Bailey Kids” Karolyn Grimes (Zuzu), Carol Coombs (Janie) and Jimmy Hawkins (Tommy) and Jeanine Roose (Young Violet Bic) throughout the Festival, sponsored by the It’s A Wonderful Life Museum. Also all the movie characters come to life at Merry Christmas, George Bailey!, a Radio Play performed in front of an audience with live sound effects by Seneca Community Players.
For more information, tickets and a complete schedule of the It’s A Wonderful Life Festival, visit www.therealbedfordfalls.com