SENECA FALLS — Many new events will be taking place at this weekend’s It’s A Wonderful Life Festival in “The Real Bedford Falls,” Seneca Falls. This year’s annual IAWL Festival boasts more than 90 scheduled events during the three-day festival.
“There is lots of excitement in this little town as we prepare for the over 15,000 visitors expected from all over the country coming this weekend to celebrate the story of the movie,” said Robert McDowell, one of the members of the IAWL Committee, the event’s sponsor.
For IAWL trivia buffs, new this year will be Mrs. Martini’s Pasta Dinner and Movie Trivia (sponsored by Waterloo Container) at the SF Community Center. “For years, people have asked us to create a trivia event about the movie,” said McDowell, “we have compiled 100 movie trivia questions into a fun dinner show for Friday night.” Diners should not be surprised to see Mr. and Mrs. Martini on hand to see that guests are enjoying their dinner. The dinner is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday and tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for age 12 and younger $6, free for children 5 and younger.
Also new on Friday is the Cult Classic IAWL Participation Movie. Following in the vein of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” admission to the Participation Movie will include a bag of props to be used during the film. “We know people love this film and know many of the lines by heart,” said Allison Kelly, director of the event, “this is a chance to be part of the show!” Guests are invited to wear costumes and bring their own props if they wish. “Oh, be aware, there is ‘splash zone’ seating,” added Kelly. The IAWL Participation Movie is at 8 p.m. Friday in the Community Center and admission is $5.
Both Friday and Saturday will conclude with a dance party at Nick’s Place in Pottersville, the honky-tonk dive bar from the movie. Nick’s offers beer, wine, hot cider, snacks, DJ and dancing from 8 to 11 both nights, plus you may see Nick working behind the bar. Nick’s Place is located in the heated tent on the corner of Fall and Cayuga Streets. Admission to Nick’s is $3 and you must be 21 or older to get in.
On Sunday, visitors will have three opportunities to ride 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 on board. Reservations available on the festival’s website at www.therealbedfordfalls.com or at the Visitor Center, 89 Fall St.
Throughout the festival, movie characters such as Mr. Potter, George and Mary, Violet Bick, Uncle Billy, Clarence, Bert and Ernie will be roaming the streets giving visitors opportunities to have a conversation or photo.
The festivities begin Thursday with a 7 p.m. presentation of “Merry Christmas, George Bailey!” — an old-time radio play based on the 1947 Lux Radio Theater broadcast, performed by Seneca Community Players with two additional performances on Saturday and Sunday.
Some of the many other Festival events throughout the weekend include: Friday’s Bonfire, tree lighting and Santa visit, on Saturday A Taste of Bedford Falls, the Wonderful Parade and the It’s A Wonderful Run 5K Race on Saturday, Uncle Billy’s Wonderful Scavenger Hunt and a reading and discussion of “The Greatest Gift” on Sunday, plus many autograph opportunities with the actors from the film throughout the weekend.
For a full description of all the events of the Festival, visit therealbedfordfalls.com.