Ava Gardner Festival set for Oct. 7-9

Movie actress Ava Gardner meets the Hong Kong press and tells them that the description as being the "World's Most Beautiful Animal" was a publicity stunt. She made a personal appearance at several Hong Kong theaters which featured her latest picture on Dec. 13, 1954. (AP Photo)

RALEIGH — A festival celebrating the 100th birthday of movie star Ava Gardner is set to start on Oct. 7 and will run through Oct. 9. 

Gardner starred in around 60 films and was widely admired in her time for her beauty and as a fashion icon. She was also active in philanthropic, humanitarian and political causes.  Gardner was a North Carolina native, having grown up in an area just outside of Smithfield.  

The three days of festivities are being hosted by the Ava Gardner Museum, located at 325 E. Market St. in Smithfield. 

Over the course of the festival, new exhibits will be unveiled, some of Gardner’s films will be screened, and a dedication ceremony will take place for the Ava Gardner Mural and Rose Garden.  

Gardner starred alongside some of Hollywood’s most famous actors, such as Paul Newman in “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.”  One of her best-known films include “The Killers,” in which she starred opposite screen legend Burt Lancaster and “Night of The Iguana” with Richard Burton. 

Tours of the museum, as well as a musical tribute concert, are also planned. 

“The festivities will continue throughout 2023 as we celebrate Ava’s centennial year with special programming and virtual offerings designed to honor Ava’s many contributions to film, fashion, and philanthropy,” according to information on Johnston County’s official visitors bureau website. 

For more information on the festival, visit: https://www.johnstoncountync.org/ava-gardner/ava-100 

About A.P. Dillon 797 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_