Every Memorial Day in Jamestown, New York (Lucille Ball's hometown) a celebration of Love and Laughter for Lucille Ball takes over the town. The Lucy-Desi Days for this year runs from May 26th through the 28th. There are more than 30 events planned during this Memorial Day weekend festival.
Diane Vincent, "Lucy" impressionist from Universal Studios: Hollywood, and her "Ethel" sidekick Rhonda Medina, will pop up throughout the weekend. They will host the fourth annual "I Love Lucy" Masquerade Ball Sunday at the Crystal Ballroom of the Hotel Jamestown. Live music by John Cross and the Babalu Band, refreshments by Elegant Edibles Catering and a costume competition will also be featured.
A Weekend Guest Pass will be available for unlimited admissions to the Lucy-Desi Museum and Jamestown’s newest Lucy-Desi attraction, the Desilu Playhouse.
Friday morning, Linda Pellegrino will host AM Buffalo live from the New York City apartment set in the Desilu Playhouse. The Junior Guilders of the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown and the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony complete the opening with a Lucy-Desi Musical Revue on City Hall Plaza.
At 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day, Lucytown Tours will take visitors by many places in "Lucy" history. Her long-time secretary, Wanda Clark, will host each tour. Jamestown’s Lucy Studd will be the tour guide, and a video will showcase what Jamestown was like during Lucille Ball’s growing up.
On Friday evening, Los Angeles-based "We Love Lucy" Fan Club president Tom Watson will host a tribute to Jess Oppenheimer, creator of "I Love Lucy." Special guests are Oppenheimer’s son, Gregg, and his wife and daughter, Debbie and Julie; and "I Love Lucy" film editor Dann Cahn.
The Tropicana Room above the Desilu Playhouse reproduces Ricky Ricardo’s famous nightclub from "I Love Lucy." It will be the venue for several weekend events, including a Friday luncheon and late-night performance by Jamestown’s comedy improv troupe, the Unexpected Guests.
"I Remember Lucy: An Evening with Marjorie Lord" is Saturday. The star of "Make Room for Daddy" will appear for an evening of screenings, storytelling and taking audience questions. Opening the evening will be the rarely seen "Lucy Upsets the Williams Household" episode of the Danny Thomas series, filmed at Desilu Studios.
Oppenheimer will do a second installment of seldom-seen footage of the most popular comedy in TV history. At a Sunday luncheon in the Reg Lenna Civic Center, he will share stories of how his father became the creator and head writer of the series and reflect on his memories growing up in the Desilu family.
Two "Life With Lucy" film fests — three episodes each from Lucille Ball's last television series and hosted by Michael Stern, whom Lucy described as her No. 1 fan — will be screened in the Reg Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. "Forever, Darling" will be shown Sunday afternoon. "Lucy Under the Stars" will take place Friday and Saturday.
Sunday morning will present the opportunity to have pictures taken with an "I Love Lucy" legend, actress Shirley Mitchell. She had a recurring role as Lucy Ricardo's friend, Marion Strong, named for Lucille Ball's real-life Jamestown friend, Marion Strong VanVlack. The opportunity on the Ricardos' living room set in the Desilu Playhouse will be followed by a continental breakfast, then a special screening and question and answer session.
Major sponsors are Elegant Edibles Catering, TV Land, Artone Furniture, The Basket Co., Community Bank N.A., Desilu too, El Greco Baby & Kids, Falconer Printing & Design, Forte Restaurant, Garden of Eden, Habiterra, Hitchcock Signs, Jamestown FINDit.com, Jamestown Savings Bank, Jamestown Mattress Co., John S. Trusssalo CPA, Key Bank, Lake County Chrysler Dodge & Kia, Lakeview Computer Consulting, Lloyd and Company, M & T Bank, the Pepsi Bottling Group, Phillips Lytle, Rhoe B. Henderson Insurance, and Welch’s. Event prizes will be provided by Mattel, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, USAopoly and Vandor.
Many festival events are free and several ticketed events have limited admission. For a festival booklet and a complete listing of events, or to order tickets, call 484-0800 (toll-free: 1-877-LUCY-FAN) or visit online at www.lucy-desi.com. The Lucy-Desi Museum at 212 Pine St., Lucy-Desi Gift Shop at 300 N. Main St. and Desilu Playhouse at 2 W. Third St. are open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.