Museum Days Festival | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Museum Days Festival 

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Fairmount's annual Museum Days Festival, which drew 40,000 people last year, celebrates the town's two famous Jameses: Jim Davis, creator of Garfield, and James Dean, who would've turned 75 this year. Both men were born in nearby Marion but were raised on farms and schooled here. The Garfield events, for kids, include an art contest, races, and the display of a new statue of the cat at the Fairmount Historical Museum, which runs the fest. Honoring Dean are a look-alike contest, performances from 1950s recording artists, a dance contest, a 50s-inspired fashion show, and screenings of Dean's three feature films. The museum showcases hundreds of photographs and lots of Dean belongings, including bongo drums, two of his motorcycles, and movie costumes and props (like the knife he wielded in Rebel Without a Cause). But the most popular attraction is the James Dean Run, a car show of around 2,000 pre-1970 hot rods. Dean fans can also visit his birth and grave sites and see his boyhood home from the outside. The festival's parade, down Main Street, isn't specific to either honoree. Thu-Sun 9/21-9/24, Fairmount, Indiana, 765-948-4555 or jamesdeanartifacts.com. Free.

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