(Smithfield, NC) -- Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner co-starred in three films together and called each other “great old pals.” The 8th Annual Ava Gardner Festival scheduled for October 5-7, 2012 will commemorate Gardner and Peck’s life-long friendship with new exhibits, heritage tours, and vintage movies.
Peck once said, “It’s very hard to dominate Ava because of her essential strength of character, her honesty and this almost unreal beauty.” Their friendship lasted the entirety of their careers and upon her death he called Ava “outspoken”, “refreshing” and a “fine actress.”
The opening “Great Sinner” Gala on Friday will include casino games to echo the theme of the movie which was based on the 1866 short novel The Gambler written by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Every attendee will be entered into a drawing for two tickets for The Embers Beach Music 5-day Cruise from Tampa, Florida to Cozumel and Grand Cayman, among other prizes. Tickets to the opening reception are $50 each and the festivities begin at 7pm.
Gardner and Peck starred together in the “The Great Sinner,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” and “On the Beach.” Movies will be shown at the museum on Saturday, October 6th in the museum's theatre. In addition, the museum plans to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the filming of “To Kill a Mockingbird” during the festival and show the film on Sunday afternoon, October 7th.
Heritage tours on Saturday will be held throughout the day beginning at 9am. The guided tour takes visitors to places of significance to Ava, such as her birthplace, the Brogden Teacherage where she grew up, and will end at her gravesite at Sunset Memorial Park. All-day admission to the Ava Gardner Museum is $7 and heritage tour tickets are $12.
The museum has partnered with several area hotels in Smithfield offering an “Ava Festival Package” which includes discount hotel accommodations, a gift bag from the Johnston County Visitors Bureau, and two tickets the museum to enjoy a movie presentation. For more information on hotel accommodations, visit the website: www.visitsmithfield.org
The Ava Gardner Museum is located in downtown Smithfield, at 325 E. Market Street. More information may be found on the museum website, www.avagardner.org or call 919-934-5830 to purchase tickets in advance. The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 9-5pm and Sunday 2pm-5pm.