Jamestown, NY – Celoron, New York, residents and officials are looking forward to welcoming Lucie Arnaz this Sunday for the ribbon-cutting on the new Desi Arnaz Band Shell in Lucille Ball Memorial Park.
Born in Jamestown, New York, Lucille Ball spent many of her happiest childhood years living in the nearby village of Celoron. One of the places where she both worked and played was Celoron Park. During her childhood, this was a major amusement attraction, complete with the world’s largest roller coaster and ferris wheel, as well as a skating rink and music pavilion. Now a quiet lakeside park, it was renamed the Lucille Ball Memorial Park following the Queen of Comedy’s passing in 1989.
A few years ago, village officials launched a fund raising campaign to build a Desi Arnaz Band Shell to bring back some of the excitement to the park. Modest contributions were made from the Fan Reunions held in Celoron during the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center’s annual Lucy-Desi Days and Lucy’s Birthday Celebration festivals, as well as other sources. The project got a serious boost in late 2005, when Lucy-Desi Center president Lucie Arnaz announced that she was making a substantial donation.
Village officials worked with Ms. Arnaz on the design of the structure, and it was completed this spring. Part of Ms. Arnaz’s motivation to play a major role in this weekend’s Lucy-Desi Days festival was to be in western New York for the ribbon-cutting and inaugural event in the band shell named after her father.
The ribbon-cutting will take place at 3 pm on Sunday afternoon, May 27. Following the ceremony, Ms. Arnaz and three musicians she’s brought in from around the country will offer a brief performance. Their numbers will offer a “sneak peek” at the full 17-piece orchestra concert they will perform at 7:30 pm in the Reg Lenna Civic Center.
The Celoron event is free and open to the public.