Harlem is inviting all Laurel and Hardy fans to the city Saturday, Oct. 6, to celebrate the more rotund half of the comedic duo.
The 24th annual Oliver Hardy Festival begins with opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. and a parade through downtown Harlem at 10 a.m. The parade begins on Milledgeville Road at Starling Funeral Home and continues onto Louisville Road to West Forrest Street to Harlem Middle School.
“Hopefully we’ll have great weather,” said Robin Root, a volunteer event organizer.
The festival, which drew an estimated 30,000 people to the city in 2011, features Laurel and Hardy movies played inside the Laurel and Hardy Museum of Harlem.
“The museum is a popular attraction, definitely,” Root said.
The family-friendly festival will include look-a-like contests, Laurel and Hardy skits and children’s rides and games. The festival is free, but no pets will be allowed.
Two stages – in front of City Hall and the former Harlem Department of Public Safety building – will feature a variety of live entertainment including Atlanta’s Sol Junkie at 2 p.m.
More than 200 arts and crafts vendors will line one side of Louisville Road, to improve the flow of people in downtown.
“We have a real big variety, a lot of different vendors that we’ve never had before that I think will be interesting,” Root said, adding that the new vendors include a glass blower and a woman selling carnivorous plants.
Most food vendors will be located in food courts near City Hall and the former Columbia Theatre. Neal’s Bar-B-Que is catering a fundraiser for the museum.