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    Honoring A Legend At The Ava Gardner Festival In Smithfield, North Carolina

    For those who enjoy classic films head to Smithfield, North Carolina, which will commemorate the friendship between Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck during the Ava Gardner Festival. Gardner and Peck starred together in the "The Great Sinner," "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," and "On the Beach." Two movies, "The Great Sinner" and "On the Beach" will be shown at the museum during the festival. And, the museum plans to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the filming of "To Kill a Mockingbird" during the festival and show the film as well.

    The Annual Ava Gardner Festival is scheduled for the first weekend in October, and 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 Dostoyevsky. 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 the Grand Caymans, among other prizes.

    Heritage tours will also be held throughout the festival. The guided tour will take you 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.

    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.

    By Nick Worley

    Getting There:

    The Ava Gardner Museum is located in downtown Smithfield, at 325 E. Market Street, and is open Monday-Saturday, 9-5pm and Sunday 2pm-5pm. To discover more information on this and other events at the Ava Gardner Museum visit or call 919-934-5830. 

    Photo Credits: Ava Gardner Museum