Sunday, July 22 in Petoskey, MI
(PETOSKEY, Mich)—A celebration is planned in downtown Petoskey’s Pennsylvania Park for Sunday, July 22 by The Michigan Hemingway Society to commemorate Ernest Hemingway’s 119th birthday. This is the 4th year of the birthday celebration and the first since the young Hemingway statue by Andy Sacksteder was dedicated on July 21, 2017 by the daughter of donor Robert Jensen Dau.
The event begins at 1:30 next to the young Hemingway statue which stands in the park and will include ice cream and cake, music by Robin Lee Berry, readings by local actors, a roundtable discussion in the Hemingway Room at City Park Grill and a free viewing of the new documentary produced locally, “Young Hemingway & His Enduring Eden.”
Hemingway’s actual birth date is July 21, 1899 and it was six weeks later that he first visited here. He would come with his family to this corner of the northern lower peninsula for the next 20 summers. He then was married in a Horton Bay church in the fall of 1921, and honeymooned with his first wife, Hadley, at the family cottage on Walloon Lake, before moving to Paris – and finding recognition as a writer a few years later through his stories about people and places in the region around Walloon Lake.
That first summer, he was witness to, but probably did not remember, the building of the cottage. Called “Windemere” by his mother and father, the small cottage – remodeled and enlarged in the 1990s – still stands on its original location and is still owned and occupied by a family member, Ernest Mainland, Hemingway’s nephew and namesake.
Robin Lee Berry, who wrote and performs the documentary’s theme song, “Gone Wild,” will kick off the celebration in the Gazebo at Penn Park at 1:30 p.m. accompanied by Glenn Wolff. This will be followed at 2 p.m. by a cake cutting ceremony and ice cream for all those on-hand at the event. There also will be a letter writing station for children to participate in the tradition of writing summer vacation letters complete with a Hemingway Postal Stamp.
Readings from Hemingway’s earliest published work about Northern Michigan will then be presented by Dale Hull and Eric Grandstaff, both active in local theater. And from the River Walk Theatre group in Lansing, Michael Hays will present segments from his starring role in “The Hemingway Play,” a highly acclaimed play written for PBS presentation and now being performed by local theaters across the country.
At 3:30 p.m., a round table discussion open to the public will examine young Hemingway’s life in northern Michigan – and his published writings about that life.
The session will be held in the Hemingway Room at City Park Grill and will be led by members of the Michigan Hemingway Society. A cash bar will be available for those attending the discussion.
The day’s celebration concludes with a 5 p.m. screening at the First Presbyterian Church, at the corner of Mitchell and Division Streets, of the new 75-minute documentary entitled “Young Hemingway & His Enduring Eden,” the latest work from Contemporary Learning Systems, Inc. by local producer-director Dr. George Colburn. There is no charge to attend the screening. Tickets will be available earlier in the day at the park and at City Park Grill.
Colburn’s documentary premieres a few days later at the International Hemingway Conference in Paris on July 26. He will be on hand at the church to answer questions following the screening. Over the past three years, previews of earlier versions of the documentary have been screened on Hemingway’s birthday.