HARLEM, Ga. (WJBF) – The city of Harlem is gearing up for its annual Oliver Hardy Festival.
You may recognize Oliver Hardy as one half of the famous comedic duo “Laurel and Hardy”.
In his birthplace of Harlem, folks are getting ready for the 34th annual festival that brings the community together to celebrate his legacy.
“I’m excited!” said Shann Lee, co-owner of Harlem Java House. “But I’m scared because I hear there’s, like, ten to fifteen thousand people coming!”
This year’s festival is back on N. Louisville Street, in the heart of Harlem.
Meghan Foster tells us there are more than 120 vendors this year.
“Three food courts, plus a parade- we do that, too,” said Meghan Foster, Harlem museum director and events coordinator of the city of Harlem. “We also have entertainment on the stage throughout the day.”
Exciting attractions include a kid zone at city hall, a new rest area, the return of the costume contest…and movies on old-school REELS at the museum.
“Like the old cellulose acetate films, so that’s cool,” said Foster. “Yeah, so you get to hear them running in the background.”
And if you step into the museum on Saturday, you may run into ‘Little Ollie’.
“I’ll still be here!” said puppet, Little Ollie.
“He’s always here. He’s here just to welcome everybody,” said Phillip Jones, a Stan Laurel look-alike.
“I never get old!” Little Ollie chimed in.
At the museum, you can find a rich visual history of Oliver Hardy and the impact he made as one half of Laurel and Hardy.
“It’s nine different places where they have museums- in places where they have memorabilia,” said Jones. “And, of course, the number two is Harlem, Georgia. Tons of photos. And every now and then, somebody will just send us one. And it will be a priceless thing.”
With all the excitement, business owner Shann Lee is looking forward to just one thing at this weekend’s festival.
“I’m just expected to have a really good time,” said Lee. “Meet a lot of people, even though it’s a brief time. And I want to really showcase what the city of Harlem is really about…which is about community.”
The Oliver Hardy Festival begins at 9am on Saturday, October 7, with the parade beginning at 10am. For more information about the festival,
visit the city of Harlem’s website.